Time Management: Getting Ready to Get Ready

Getting Ready to Get Ready

For some the best way to get a project done is to dive in and just start. Sometimes that may be the best policy. But typically, before one charges into any time management strategy it is essential to step back and to review the situation. Then after review, a series of deliberate steps should be taken. We will discuss that in more detail, but first we need to step back and deal with a totally different topic first.

That topic is about you. Realize your situation is different than that of most other people. You are self employed. You have primary responsibility for all aspects of your business as well as your personal responsibility to your family and society as a whole. Not only that, you have a personal responsibility to yourself, your body, mind and spirit.

You already know that all those roles are placing significant stress on your life. Unless you are very unusual, you are probably dropping a few balls here and there. Some people talk about multi-tasking meaning they may have two or three projects going for a period of time. When you talk about multi-tasking, you mean managing a myriad of projects on an ongoing basis.

Another thing about you that I suspect is true, is that you have tried other time management programs in the past. Perhaps you still do. Perhaps you did for a while and then fell off the wagon. I know I have and still do. I am a sinner in that regard, and while such mishaps have hurt my progress, I cannot beat myself up about them. You shouldn’t either.

For some people a strict and orderly process and approach to life comes natural. They can readily fall into a routine and maintain that routine for decades on end. Some such people seek out situations that permit them to maintain such a personal order to their lives. By and large they are not entrepreneurs. For anyone who is in a business serving customers knows that customers and opportunities as well as disasters will occur when they choose and not according to a schedule.

Those of us in contact with the world need to devise systems that are flexible. A day planner with hours marked from 8 AM to 5 PM isn’t going to suffice for most of us. So when we devise our own best fit time management system, we need to insure it has some flexibility built into it. Or it will quickly fail.

And the one item we need to be most flexible with is ourselves. Before we start, let me advise you that you will fail in terms of finding a perfect time management process. Accept that. Plan for it. You will fail because of external situations. You will fail because of your own personal weaknesses. You will fail because you picked a rigid planner or system and it didn’t fully account for your peculiar circumstances.

It took me over 100 attempts before I finally was able to quit cigarettes. But through persistence I was ultimately able to succeed. Hopefully you won’t require a 100 attempts to make progress on your time management skills. But even if it takes multiple efforts, and repeated failings, just keep on keeping on. Time management skills are learned incrementally. By doing. Your sole responsibility is to keep trying.

What works for one person may not work for you. As I mentioned in my last post, if you are a lone eagle, you just won’t need the chapters on delegation unless “I” wants to delegate “me” to help “my” get their work done.

That said, we will still talk about delegation down the road.

The purpose of this post is the let you know that you have a responsibility to try. To persist. Not to adapt in an instance a whole new way of doing things. Further, you need to realize that a lot of time management books and programs that may be excellent for others may have little value for you in your situation.

Unfortunately, just like everything else in your life, it’s going to be up to you to design your own system to meet your own needs. I will do my best to illuminate the considerations you need to take into account.

In my next post we will get into some nitty gritty. Till then.

Have a Mike Lust Day

It’s been a beautiful fall day today. The sun is shining and the temps are a very acceptable mid 40’s to lower 50’s. I managed to leave the computer and tend to my garden. I dug up the Dahlia Bulbs, now that we have had our first hard frost. I spent a moment enjoying frosty leaved somethings, ornamental endive and maroon mums that serve as the front corner of my garden on the street side. This is their time of year.

Today started out great for me despite it’s sad underpinnings. A friend of mine is dying, in all likelihood, from gall bladder cancel. I said in all likelihood, but he hasn’t succumbed and if anyone can beat it he will. He’s in his mid 40’s and a stalwart member of my Toastmaster’s Group

He is our club’s star, having won many a local contest and usually being a top performer at our weekly meetings. Ours is what you might call a mature club, we have people who have been there 30 and 40 + years. He was clearly one of the younger members and a major contributor in every way. We roasted him this morning, and I rose to the occasion and did a particularly good job, if I say so myself.

In my brief, less than 3 minute presentation, I indicted my friend for being a Trophy Hog, a Trouble Maker and a Rabble Rouser. A trophy hog because he always managed to rise to the occasion and give a great performance no matter what role he played in our weekly meetings or contests. He won a lot of trophies. A trouble maker, because he always took the trouble to use our training manuals and to actually try to do better every week. And finally, I called him a Rabble Rouser because he was an excellent critic in a constructive sense.

One role at our meetings is to evaluate speakers, to praise them, give them a suggestion or two, and then to once again stress the positive. We call it a sandwich. I accused him of preparing Hoagies stuffed with meat rather than the typical pettifore offered up by many, with cutoff crusts and chicken salad for filling.

In my conclusion I observed that Mike understood that the world does not reward average people very well, and that he just decided to be extraordinary. He is, and a model I can strive to emulate.

I understand that you don’t know Mike, and perhaps I shouldn’t post this on the blog, but at the same time, I’m up on my ability to poke fun and yet tell a story about Mike today. And I’m up on the idea of how much I appreciated having had a chance to learn and compete with him.

While he was in his wheel chair today, I fully count on seeing him again in an upcoming speech contest. I know I will have my work cut out for me. But next time, I’ll beat him.

Creative Procrastination

In a recent survey of Professional Home Stagers conducted in the Summer of 2008, business owners were asked a lengthy series of questions surrounding their business practices. Most Home Staging firms are very small micro businesses most often with three or fewer people and a goodly number of one person shops.

As such they fit my definition of a Micro Business is that the person in charge needs to rely on Me, My or I for almost all their activities. And while seemingly facetious, it’s a very real situation for perhaps hundreds of thousands of very small entrepreneurs.

In the survey’s many essay questions, a common refrain revolved around the difficulty in finding time to do all the things required. Not only were these people responsible for the bulk if not all the production work, they needed to do the marketing, the procurement, the accounting, and a myriad of other tasks.

That doesn’t mention the need to maintain family relationships, find some personal time and engage in other social activities. It is difficult to apportion a lot of time to these non work roles when struggling to keep a business alive or to grow it.

Within the analysis of the survey results a section of respondents were identified as being the “Top Dogs.” These were the Home Stagers who made the most money and did the most home stagings. Of this Group of Top Dogs, only one was able to get by on less than a 40 hour week and most reported spending from 50 to 60 hours a week and more.

This is the dirty little secret of most home based businesses. While time flexibility and freedom are often the motivation for seeking self employment, the fact is many if not most work micro business people work incredibly long hours. There is just too much to do.

And thus time management is a critical topic for the micro business person to study up on in their spare time. Despite the catch 22 aspects, the need for time management is as self evident as the term time management is a misnomer. Time clearly cannot be managed. Instead we need to manage what we do with our time.

And that’s were the idea of Creative Procrastination comes into play.

For most of our lives we’ve been taught to fight procrastination. Instead we need to learn how to champion it. For most of us, we are simply trying to do too much. We need to learn to selectively and creatively procrastinate on some of our tasks to permit ourselves time to deal with the items that are most important.

Within larger organizations the rallying cry is to delegate. And that would be our answer too, but as micro businesses we sometimes have no one to whom to delegate. Instead we need to come up with other tactics to cope with our day to day tasks and the demands upon us.

Tweet your Blog

Would you like to earn auto-pilot commissions every time you post to your blog? And at the same time use the Power of Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.

I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but it just became reality, with the launch of John Merrick and Soren Jordansen’s new “Tweet My Blog”.

Just by using the powerful free plugin, you will be promoting your affiliate link on auto-pilot. In other words, you can earn commissions just for posting to your blog.

But that’s just one of the many benefits of using TweetMyBlog, visit the page to learn more – and grab your free copy today.

And… Even though they are giving this plugin away for free, you should take a close look at the special offer they have in store for you when join. I instantly grabbed my own copy, and I know it will skyrocket my marketing power when using Twitter and WordPress.

Just click on the image below to access this powerful new tool. -etn

Blogging Tips for Business

The internet is no longer a new idea for business. Many businesses once enjoyed a first mover advantage by entering the online arena earlier than their competitors. Today, there are few fields left where just being online is providing a significant competitive advantage.

The internet has opened the market place to customers from around the world. And it has opened the marketplace to competitors from around the world. It is no longer enough to be online, a business to succeed must be able to drive traffic to their websites. In order to dominate a field it is increasingly important that businesses establish a blogging presence online.

While anyone can set up a blog easily and inexpensively, so can your competitors. But there is a lot more to blogging than first meets the eye.

Here are some useful tips that you can incorporate in your internet business:

• You must research and then use keywords effectively – your blog’s contents should reflect appropriate keywords. Effective keyword research can also place your blog and thus your business toward the top of the search engines.

• You want to stimulate Back Links to your blog. These are valuable – you have to give importance to back links. Your blog posts should be able to incorporate appropriate back links.

• More important than the frequency of your blog posts is their regularity. You must be able to post regularly if you want to be effective. If you forget to make posts, you will loose regular readers and possibly leave viewers with an impression that you are not truly up to speed in today’s internet world.

• While regularity is the key, your blogging efforts will be rewarded most if you post frequently and if the contents are interesting. With effective blogging, you can establish your online business reputation and, you can demonstrate to the world your business expertise. To gain a positive reputation, make sure that you post interesting and relevant blog posts.

These are the basic tips you must follow to be effective blogging. As you can see, blogging requires more than a slap dash approach. Most advisors online will tell you that blogs are not that hard to compose. They are right. However, according to expert bloggers, you need to consider the interests of the readers and online researchers.

Try to understand why they are coming to your blog in the first place.

Think more in terms of what they want to discover, and less about what you want to tell them. But be sure you do get your licks in. It’s all about how you frame your blogs attitude and conversational style.

Remember that once you start posting blogs on your business’ website, you have to post frequently (ideally at least once or twice a week) so that your customers and readers will not forget you or your business.

Blogging for business is one of the most effective means of making your business a success. Set up your blog now, you will profit in the future.

If you learn to become an effective blogger, your business will benefit. If you want to learn more about effective business blogging, you can easily conduct researches online because you can find a wealth of information there.

Blogging Vocabulary 101

The phenomena of Blogging has captured the attention of the masses far and wide. Blogs vary widely ranging from Journalistic to Literature, to the baser side of things where fart jokes pale in comparison to some heavier duty material and on beyond the trivial to academic and business pursuits. The blog means many things to many people. To you as a buisness person it means taking the offensive. Instead of hoping passively that your web site will attract customers, you are going out after them.

But first you need to get a feel for the beast and learn the basic lexicon.

Content Typically, a blog’s content depends on the topic it’s dealing with. If you’re advertising a product such as perfume, apparel, or a vintage automobile, you could feature catalogs of the products mentioned.

Your Business blog should also provide stories and updates on key happenings in your business, such as upcoming sales or special promotions. While most business blogs stay on the pretty straight and narrow, some business blogs adapt a more in your face or cheeky attitude. If this is right for your business, the added flair increases readers entertainment value and thus encourages readership and ultimately more sales.

A blog should be updated daily to give readers reasons to keep coming back for more. A human mind always seeks for something new. Therefore, update. If a daily routine is not in the cards for your blog, make sure it is at least regularly updated. Regularity is a good habit and critical to blogging bowels.

Feedback Comments are very much welcome. Come one, come all! It doesn’t matter who comments as long as somebody did. Bottom line: You want to meke sure what you’ve written has an effect on people’s minds and aroused some opinions to merit it. Be glad you have a comment. At least someone has read your posts. Here, interaction takes place.

Tools and Concepts Blogging can be a fuss if you don’t how the process works. What in the world does RRS, URL, blogroll, and all that jazz mean? How can I use it? While a blog is a simple concept, they do have a number of moving parts that might not be obvious to all at first.

For greater understanding, here are some terms and definitions of some of the tool usually used in blogging and the concepts that go with it.

Archives – Archives are records of important documents or files preserved. Archives can capture significant amounts of material over time. These can be reused and/or serve as documentation.

Blogrolls – Blogrolls are a categorized list of network links to web pages. This can be a dynamic tool for your business. Permitting cross promotion with your business allies and direct linking to your main web pages. These provide your blog readers with direct access to key pages on your web site and to those of your partners.

Comment Spam – Comment Spam is potentially even a greater problem in the Blog world than on your email server. You will inevitabley receive irrelevant comments posted on your pages with links to one or more domains of the Spam poster. Thankfully, a number of “Plug Ins” available to bloggers can help all but eliminate this problem.

Downloads – Downloads is a verb pertaining to the pictures, audios, or videos That have been or could be downloaded from your site or to your site. Your blog is just another part of your web page and can access or be accessed to process downloads. Thus a simple blog post may hold multiple documents, video etc that you can in turn make available to your reader in quick order.

Excerpt – An excerpt is a set of summarized ideas of the post usually having a part of the entire article condensed upfront. This provides a prospective reader with a heads up as to the overall content. This will allow them to read your blog or not depending upon their interest in the material. An excerpt saves prospective readers time, and they will appreciate not having to read posts that don’t offer them value. A good excerpt is good business.

Feeds – Feeds are a way of transferring relevant material from one site to another. This can Permit you to automatically transfer information for other web sites of your own or a third party and have it post automatically on your blog. Creative use of Feeds helps provide a constant flow of fresh material to your blog.

Guests – Guest are the readers, viewers, spammers, etc., who visits your site. While you may not welcome the spammers, your blog exists for your guests. You want to attempt to make it as guest friendly as possible. While your objective is to accomplish a business purpose with your blog, the best way to do so is to focus on the Guests needs, rather than your own. Think about how you can build a relationship with them.

Hosts – Hosts are web sites willing to accommodate your registration as a blogger. I personally recommend WordPress and as a result frequently recommend securing a webhost who offers the use of a cpanel as their primary customer interface. If you web host has CPanel, it is a simple thing to set up WordPress.

Introduction – Introduction probably doesn’t require an introduction. But its a good idea to provide a preliminary part of the blog page to show the personal profile of the author or a brief description of the subject.

Links – Links are those ubiquitous blue words that serve as a tie up with a series of sections in the web suitable for navigation from one site to another; also known as a “permalink” or “hyperlink.”

Plugins – Plug in’s come in a huge variety and consist of characters or scripts adding additional function to the site. For example the Askimet plug in does an excellent job of screening for Spam Comments and segregating them, so you don’t need to worry about hand deleting them.

And that’s it. All the primary words above embody key aspects of the blogging community. While their is easy access to the blog and blogging in todays world that doesn’t mean easy manipulation. You must have certain concepts and tools to make blogging possible. You absolutely must get a blog going in most businesses to effectively attract the customers you want, but the process will require a bit of work and education.

Business Blogging: Buck the Bad Economy with a Business Blog

While there are many uses for blogging, in most cases, business blogging is about advertising. A business blog promotes your products or services. The business blog is gaining popularity because it simultaneously establishes a business’ credibility and their name recognition. Continue reading Business Blogging: Buck the Bad Economy with a Business Blog

Halloween Giveaway OPENING SOON Watch for it.

Opening soon is the Halloween Giveaway, an internet marketing free for all that is literally free for all.

I just donated three items to the giveaway, a HTML Primer, the one I use to look up stuff when I need to play with more complicated HTML, 7 Questions you didn’t know to ask about web hosting, and my super affiliate marketing wizard.  These and many more products and software items will be made available for free.

Why, the donors like me are looking to build out lists of people interested in internet marketing tools and related topics. You will undoubtedly get follow on emails, read the ones you like, store them in a special folder, and if some bore you, just cut them off. Each of them will have an unsubscribe link at the bottom.

Check it out you may find more than one item worth checking out.  Halloween Giveaway

What is the Micro Business Specialist All About

The Micro Business Specialist is like life a journey.  A journey whose goal is to share valuable insights, skills and knowledge to those intrepid souls who have taken on the challenge of building their own business.  But not just any business person. This blog is dedicated to those business people who are personally responsible for all aspects of their business.

I often refer to it as being where, Me, My and I are responsible for almost everything.  That may mean you have no other employees or not.  It does mean that even if you have outside help on one or more aspects of your business, you are not only ultimately responsible, it is essential that you understand what needs to be done, and why.

I have been self employed most of my life, and frankly believe that I was self employed even when I worked for others.  I choose to see my employment as me hiring a boss rather than the other way around.  It was a great mental attitude, but my boss didn’t care for it when I advised him he was screwing up.

The common truth I’ve come to understand over the years is that we each have our strengths and weaknesses.  While we may be great at certain core skills that define our business and its mission, we often has weaknesses that can interfere with our long term success.  Sometimes we are forced to spend so much time struggling with and trying to overcome our weaknesses, we spend less time doing what we are good at than we meed to for our long term success.

I don’t have the magic wand to correct that stress fault that besets so many of us, but I have over the years encountered many good ideas that I hope to share with the readers of this blog.

As I started this message, this is a journey. I am taking this journey selfishly.  I hope to clarify some of my own weaknesses in the process.  But as the same time, if I am to be successful, I need to do this selflessly.

And I intend to do so. My goal will be to identify arenas where many of us could use help and then share my best ideas on the topic and ask you to counter with your own.  Over the years I have been know to reinvent the wheel. In this exercise, I hope to borrow heavily on other peoples existing work, rather than create my own. But you will probably find me doing both.

I invite you join me on this journey if you too are struggling to develop your own business venture. Together we will face new mountains and overcome them. Together we will slide down the other side to success and prosperity.