Reading: I’m Doing it Wrong… Confessions of An Online Junkie.

I’m learning how to read all over again.

Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but we online junkies need to rethink how to read online content.

How did I reach this conclusion? This morning I realized (and I wish I had realized this a looooonnngg time ago), I overuse the “subscribe” button and still miss out on a lot of great content.

How? Because when a subscription or discussion notification appears in my inbox, I’m usually in business mode with no time to read. Eventually, there are far too many notifications, and I painfully, with fully Polish Catholic-raised guilt, delete them, unread. God, that hurts everytime I do it!

A New Tool to Help?

So, I tried moving my subscriptions to unroll.me. Which is a really great app, mind you. An absolutely phenomemal app that culls all your subscriptions and asks you if you want them all to go into a neat and tidy daily “roll-up” email.

It does help since it reveals all your subscriptions above the fold (take note of how important above the fold is!) all in one email.

BUT – isn’t there always a but? –

I am still not reading the great material I want to read. I tried changing my blog and discussion notification options to a weekly digest, but then I became overwhelmed and still deleted them instead of reading them.

What is wrong with me? I know I have time to read somewhere in my days! In fact, I crave it! Even in a waiting line, I hope for an excuse to read, but I open my inbox and the business side of me kicks in as priority. Every blog writer and discussion master I follow is unjustly disrespected with my lack of real time enthusiasm and interest.

Bottom line? I was doing it wrong.

And I realized all this with one change. Today, Sunday morning, instead of my SmartPhone automode of opening my email first, I instead opened my wordpress app with my phone app and there, in all its glory, was a stream of all the bloggers I follow.

I gave full attention to the words. It was lovely.

There was nothing extraneous on my screen to distract me. No notifications popping up, no inbox with guilt inducing little numbers superscripted on my folder list, no extra tabs open for peripheral distraction, … just pure content.

I truly felt ridiculous, an avid reader such as me, admittedly in a poor reader mode for so long.

I had ignored why I subscribe to all these wonderful avenues of content. Because I ALWAYS learn something from them. It doesn’t matter if it’s about leadership or poetry. I am a psychology grad, and I always hunger for others’ perspectives. I thrill in how frequently a totally obtuse comment can trigger fresh perspective on my life and my business. Look at all I was missing. What a schmuck!

No more. I have committed to using my blog and social apps to ensure I focus full attention on what others have worked so hard to convey in their posts. I am turning off my email notifications and turning on my apps!

Whew! Glad I figured that one out!

Now, what app can help me end my OCD revisions of my book and get it published?

Google Plus – Hot or Not for Small Business?

Google Plus Hot or Not

More frequently, small business owners ask why I am a Google Plus proponent. They ask “…of everyone I ask – no one is on Google+ so why should I bother with it?”

I have previously blogged about this, but it bears repeating. Google Plus is GOLDEN for SMBs!

Don’t take too much stock in articles written by Google+ crapehangers. The majority naysayers are non-participants and/or superficially informed – or just copycat blogging.

If you are a small business owner, it is more important for you to consider the BENEFITS of using Google Plus rather than concern yourself with its popularity.

Get over the social media stereotype

Take note of the lack of pu$h for boo$ting or promoting your po$ts on Google Plus. Why? Because Google Plus wants your content, not your money. By having Google+, Google has a social media platform providing data they can’t get glean from website content.They want pure, unadulterated, and accessible source content.

Google Plus will grow.

Consider the beauty of a platform that showcases and integrates your content so well you WANT to participate. The more you use Google Plus, the more you’ll also want to use many Google apps and tools because of the convenience created by the integration.

As a business, remaining active on Facebook is essential because it is like the old yellow pages. In pre-social media days, your business had to be listed in the yellow pages or you “didn’t exist.”  And as long as Facebook is still the go-to for users looking up a business, you must remain there.

Google Plus and YouTube

Have you noticed how anxious Facebook now is to get you to upload your video shares directly to Facebook? They have promised a 30% higher visibility if you do. They realize that VIDEO is the new mode for social media – especially for business. Who currently OWNS video? YouTube. Who owns YouTube? Google. What is the #2 Search Engine in the world? YouTube. What’s the easiest way to share, repurpose, embed your videos? YouTube.

So, help me with this. You should want to upload directly to Facebook for the chance at a 30% boost in visibility in a follower limited Facebook news feed (which you could pay pennies to boost anyway)? In exchange, it will cost you dearly in search capability. And what about your YouTube Channel and subscribers, not to mention the limitations on repurposing that video!

And Google+ has made it exceptionally easy to repurpose YouTube videos on their platform. The more you use Google, the more content and use information they have to improve their search engine algorithms. Therefore, they want to keep you and make you happy.

Take advantage of this opportunity

  • Claim your business on Google Local Business and complete your Google+ Profile!
  • Add a cover photo reflecting your business personality and logo.
  • Complete your About Page
  • Upload photos of your storefront, your business in action, your products, your events, your staff, etc.,

And hey, while you’re there, why not take a shot at engaging with some of those supposedly non-existent G+ users? ;)

3 Reasons NOT to DIY Market Your Small Business

Did you losePiggy bank upside down money doing it yourself?

You tried to DIY market again, didn’t you?

My husband and I are both entrepreneurs, and when we need help on anything outside our frame of expertise, here are 3 considerations we recount when we get the DIY itch and are dying to scratch.

1.  The expert you hire EARNED that status.

For your own small business, you earned expert status how? Right, by working hard to learn and produce the best possible results. It took time and practice, but there you are. Therefore, the person you should hire achieved his/her expert status the same way.

But, because a tool is free, you believe you should DIY. How much of your valuable time do you have to learn to use the “free” tool? Oh, Really? How many unopened emails are in your inbox right now? Riiiighttt…

The person you hire has the right tools, education, experience and FOCUS to complete the job properly, efficiently and with expected results – usually all in a very short time and all at once.

2. When you DIY, YOU WASTE VALUABLE TIME AWAY from YOUR business.

If you are a highly qualified and experienced person in your field, why waste $$$ earning time on work someone else could complete far more quickly and correctly with better strategy considerations for you. In other words, why are you trying to save a few bucks on labor when you could be generating new business that has a far better ROI for time spent?

3. When you DIY everything, you risk jeopardizing your professional reputation and your potential to earn business. 

What message are you sending anyone who witnesses your DIY projects? Bet you never thought about that. Oh, sure, you get to be proud of saying “I did it myself.” But how do you justify anyone needing to hire YOU for your expertise if you don’t respect other professionals for their expertise?

AND when your clients and customers see you taking the time away from your business to DIY, are you giving them the impression that a) you have the extra time to kill, and/or b) you don’t use your free time to learn and grow your business?

BOTTOM LINE:

YOU HIRE AN EXPERT FOR THE OVERALL VALUE THEY PROVIDE YOU.

Go clear the cobwebs off those DIY projects you started (outside of your expertise). How many times have you run across, or into, those unfinished projects over the last few days, weeks or even months? They are just THERE. . .WAITING to be completed. YouTube DIY videos are not the right answer for speed and efficiency, not to mention no substitute for experience.

Now go back to work and let an expert do it, do it right, and do it now.

Really? How often have you “learned” this lesson?

Shopping Small is Shopping Wise for Busy Entrepreneurs

Shopping Small is Shopping Wise for Busy Entrepreneurs

Are you guilty of lost time picking through discount racks to NOT find what you need?

It is a far more enjoyable shopping experience to “Shop Small.” Since Entrepreneurs are always short on time, small business shops and services can be a huge time saver once you establish a relationship with the staff. And since you entrepreneurs are always watching every dime,  shopping small keeps you out of hot water when you need your needs met. For example, your small business will educate you on extending the life of your purchases, and proper use. In addition, with your sales history, they can make suggestions for wiser future purchases to supplement what you already own.

You will get additional value if you ASK your small business:

  • Do you keep my purchases on file?
  • Will I be notified of sales or specials?
  • Will you let me know if something I expressed an interest in goes on sale or is running out?
  • Can I work with the same salesperson each time if I find a good match for me?
  • Do you have a loyalty program?
  • Is there a maintenance alert program (for home and office machines, appliances, landscapers, etc) perhaps via email or texting?

ASK, ASK, ASK! You’d be surprised what they might offer for your customer service experience if you only ask.

I know our clients are very happy when we notice items of concern or mistakes FOR them before a consumer does. And by the same token, we are very happy to have small businesses who help US with their specific goods or services so we can keep our minds focused on our clients.

Generally, small business owners LOVE what they do. Give them a chance to treat you special and you’ll save a lot of time and money – and stress!

:) Take 5 minutes to post a good review on social media or review sites (like Yelp or Google Places for Business) for the small businesses who make your daily life easier! They work hard to keep you coming back.

No One Ever Said Learning Social Media Was Intuitive

Maybe I don't engage enough on Facebook, but when I do, everyone should know about it.

Here is yet another conversation with my husband over how-to-use his Facebook business page…!

Note: I’m the spouse here . . . so, of course, what do I know!? But, believe me, I can and do coach clients very successfully on these same issues – Really! :)

Hubby: Why can’t I get my blog post to show up on my business page? I clicked SHARE!

Me: You clicked on the share link at the bottom of the post again, didn’t you?

Hubby: Well, YEEEAH. I wanted to SHARE my post.

Me: Try to think like your blog followers… They read your post, get to the bottom and want to share, so conveniently the share button FOR THEM is at the bottom of the post so they can share your post to their page.

Hubby: But, I AM SHARING.

Me: No, you want to post an update. It’s different.

Hubby: Facebook is B—S—! There’s nothing intuitive about it!

Me: I never said there was.

Hubby: (clicking over to home page) Why is the post I shared from George Takei showing up twice in the feed?

Me: Because you follow George Takei. That is the post you shared to your page, so you see his post and your post.

Hubby: But I don’t want my followers to think I’m an idiot with this showing up twice on my page.

Me: Your follower feeds differ from yours. They see the posts of those pages they follow. Let’s go over the difference between “Home” and your “Timeline.” AGAIN!

Hubby: (clicking back to his business page timeline) It’s only on this page once. What happened to the other one?

Me: (deep SIGH – remember this is my spouse I am helping)

Hubby: So I’m on my home page.

Me: No, this is your timeline. Click “Home” to go to your home page.

Hubby: (he clicks home) This is my news feed.

Me: Technically, yes, but Facebook changed the name to HOME a long while back. Think of it as your “Home Dashboard.”

Hubby: Dashboard? But that’s not where I post my stuff!

Me: You actually can post on either page. “HOME” is where you should be living when you visit Facebook.

Hubby: I don’t care about all that stuff. I just want to make sure my followers are seeing my stuff.

Me: So much for the “SOCIAL” aspect of social media . . .

Hubby: (he gives me “the look”)

Me: Let’s go back to the cocktail party analogy. Do you want to be the person everyone is running away from or the one with whom they like to ENGAGE? ENGAGEMENT is social. ENGAGEMENT is how people will notice you – not so much your posts! Yes, you need to post your updates, too, but ENGAGEMENT is SOCIAL. It’s how people get to know you. Then they can go visit your page and learn more.

Hubby: All I want to know is how to make sure that what I post shows up right!

Me: I think I’ll go find a cocktail party.

Note: I do give him credit for actually trying to learn – FINALLY :-)

Productivity Tips: How Do You Get Busy Doing Nothing?

I'm busy doing nothing
everydaypeoplecartoons.com

LinkedIn just sent me an email with this subject line:

“Hania, see 60+ productivity tips from LinkedIn Influencers”

First thought I had: If I stop and read these 60+ ways, productivity will not be a stongpoint today…

That said, of course they had my attention a little, so, I had to sample one or two. I won’t mention names, but one of the Productivity EXPERTS suggested we spend much more time in good old-fashioned conversation because talking generates ideas. I’m betting the good old-fashioned conversation is a way to escape confessing: “I’m a lousy typist and not too tech savvy and can’t keep up online.” For the rest of us – don’t you talk more with people via various social media platforms and IM tools then ever before?

Another productivity EXPERT to remain nameless (lest I get sued for embarrassing s/he), suggested you should work while others sleep. Getting up at 4 am was the miracle cure given for lack of productivity.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (I’m obviously NOT a morning person)

Oh, wait, they were serious?

Yes, they admit you are zonked by 8 pm, but the point in the article is that work is less productive in the evening anyway, so might as well relax a little, then go to bed.

Guess dinner and a movie is never an option.

There seem to be a rash of articles and posts on “what the successful people do in the morning,” and other such content fillers. Here’s my TIP: Stop reading these! You’ll be more productive.

Or – you could always watch some TED talks on YouTube. . .

;-)