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[BLACK] TOOL: Stripe Payments


Making Money

Charge it. Cha-Ching.

Are you looking for an easy to use credit card processor for your company?  Look no further. One of my favorite business solutions is Stripe, a software tool for collecting credit card payments.

Positioning itself as the ‘payments infrastructure for the internet,’ Stripe is the perfect solution for those looking to build a marketplace, mobile app, online storefront or subscription service.

Stripe Features

Do you need to accept payments quickly and easily? Stripe is not only easy to set up, but it doesn’t entail a long application process. You can be up and running same day. Do you need to accept payments from anyone, anywhere? Stripe currently supports businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and many European countries.

Do you need recurring payments? With their subscription APIs and webhooks, storing customers’ cards on file is easy. Go ahead and collect the customer card upfront for background billing later. Stripe also offers flexible billing periods, coupons, trials, secure checkout (SSL) and more.

Pricing:

It only takes minutes to get started and there are no setup, monthly or hidden fees. It’s just 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge. Transfers arrive in your bank account in 2 business days.

Sign up:

Visit the Stripe website.

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[GREEN] TIP: Just Google It

If You’re Stuck, Just Google It.

Laying the Foundation - Green TIPI can’t begin to tell you the number of times that customers, colleagues or friends have been stuck on something and don’t know what to do, so they’ve called and asked me.

Do you know what I do if I don’t know?  I google it.  Sounds obvious, I know. But many times, the obvious is un-obvious.

Yesterday, I had a customer ask me what to do because they got an error message when trying to open a document on their computer.  I googled the error message, and told her the answer.  Yes, you can copy, paste and search on a specific error message.

I’ve had a customer ask me industry-related questions.  I googled the question and looked for the answer.

I’ve had a customer ask me which software program works better.  I asked google for a comparison, and got the answer.

The information is there if you want to find it.  But, you do have to discern between real and make-believe.  For one, I don’t look at the first few search results because they are ads disguised as results.  I scroll down and then look for valid sources, keeping in mind that everyone is a blogger with an opinion these days.

A few examples of good question and answering websites (based on my google search just now … and experience) include:

I just want to remind you that not everything is a crisis when you don’t have the answer at hand. Perform a quick search before you panic; you may just be pleasantly surprised at how easy the solution is. 99% of the time I respond to those seeking answers with the statement that I just googled it, they always say, “I don’t know why I didn’t do that.  Duh!”  There’s a wealth of knowledge out there at your fingertips, just be sure to follow valid sources of information.

Happy googling!

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[GREEN] TOOL: Freshbooks

Do you need a simple accounting software?

If so, I highly recommend Freshbooks because of it is so easy to use. Freshbooks makes your accounting tasks easy, fast and secure — three descriptions that every entrepreneur desires.

I have been a customer of Freshbooks for over two years now, and I can say that the service they provide constantly exceeds my expectations.  As a matter of fact, of all the software programs I use to run my businesses, Freshbooks is my favorite.

The best part of Freshbooks is that I really never have to think about it!

Save Time. Freshbooks claim that their customers spend less time on paperwork, saving up to two days per month to focus on the work they love. I can attest that’s true.  Once I set up a customer profile, it’s so easy to navigate the few steps needed to send out an invoice. Better yet, once you set up recurring billing, you can receive email alerts directly in your inbox for when an invoice is sent, paid, viewed, etc. It really is “set it and forget it.”

Get Paid Faster. With Freshbooks, you can easily invoice clients from your desk or on the go (with the app). Freshbook customers are paid an average of 5 days faster than other software solutions. The thing I like most is that you can set up automatic billing.  That means that a customer can enter a credit card (one of their partners is Stripe) and click a simple check box for future payments and voilá – you have recurring revenue you can count on!

Grow Your Business. Freshbooks indicates that, on average, their customers double their revenue in the first 24 months. I can happily attest that is indeed true.

Other Features. Not only is it intuitive, Freshbooks will make your business look more professional. You can brand your invoices. Send out auto-payment reminders. Accept online payments. Track time (billed and unbilled) and manage team time sheets. Import expenses. Customize project rates. Review P&L, Tax Summary and Expense Reports. Import expenses and attach receipts (even photo images of them) to invoices. Get alerted on client activity (viewing invoices, paying invoices, etc.).

Partners.  From expense tracking and online payments to time tracking and proposal design, Freshbooks connects to many complementary and valuable apps and addons that help entrepreneurs run all aspects of their business. Some of those integrations include: Mailchimp, Basecamp, PayPal, Stripe, etc.

Support. I can attest, they have an award winning support team. And they are real human beings!

What’s the Cost?

You can start with a free trial which is perfect because Freshbooks really can grow with you as your business grows. Prices range from $9.95/month to $39.95/month depending on number of clients and staff. Compare pricing plans.

Finally, you can cancel at any time.

More Information

Website: Freshbooks.com

Live and Learn.

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[VIDEO] How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

How to get your ideas to spread

Seth Godin is a marketing guru and successful entrepreneur who can tell you to how to stand out in a world saturated with products and time-strapped customers. According to Godin, you need to stop targeting the average person in the market, as they are very skilled at ignoring you. This is handy advice, as he points out all those brands that are doing it right.

“The riskiest thing you can do now is be safe. The safe thing to do now is be at the fringes, to be remarkable. If it’s very good, it’s not going to be successful, it’s too boring.”

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[GREEN] TOOL: Todoist

Are you looking for a new “to-do”?

There is one task manager tool that I use all the time. Not just every day, but every hour. It not only is one of my most used tools, but it’s also a huge help when it comes to keeping my work organized on my computer.

Todoist helps you keep your desktop and your life organized.

First, create a project. Then create tasks related to that project. You can add due dates and set up reminders.  You can reorder them. You can even color code them. This tool is so intuitive and easy, you have to get it.

The main reason I love it, though, is because of the Google Chrome Plugin that allows me to easily save and organize important URLs without having to open up a new browser. This means I can always access my to do list when away from my computer as long as I can access Google.  Todoist offers plugins for Outlook and Firefox too. Finally, if you’re working in a team, they have a solution called “wedoist” as well (although I don’t use that solution).

Watch the Video

What’s the Cost?

Todoist offers a free option; however, I recommend spending the $29/year for the premium product. I did, and it’s worth every penny IMHO.

More Information

Website: Todoist.com

Screenshot: Here is the screenshot of my open Todoist chrome plugin. Note the red “TD” icon upper right which is what you click to add tasks easily):

.

Live and Learn.

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[BLUE] TIP: Email Prospecting

 Tips for Prospecting via Email

Your prospects are busy.  They don’t have time to read through lengthy emails, so they keep their finger on the delete key — just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on it. Here are seven tips to increase your email prospecting success.

Tip 1: Delete the Fluff

Re-read your email and look for any superlatives, exaggerated expressions or other fluff. Some serious offenders include: exciting, state-of-the-art, solution, partner, leading edge, passion, unique, one-stop-shop, unique, one-of-a-kind, etc.

Tip 2: Apply the KISS theory

Keep it simple, stupid. Your email needs to be less than 90 words.  Use two-sentence paragraphs so your email can be scanned quickly.  Stick with black fonts (no colors!) and never include more than one link or attachment.

Tip 3: Figure Out Their Pain Point

When researching your prospect’s company, industry or position, determine what their pain point is.  Everyone has one.  Figure it out, and then tell them how your relevant solution solves their problem.

Tip 4: Make It Timely

Identify key business events that may be impacting your prospect’s priorities and tie your message into that. Examples include moving into a new business office, merging with another company, recently announced management changes or new legislation that impacts your target.

Tip 5: Be Indispensable

Your product or service may be a commodity, but you’re not.  Focus on the ideas, insights and information you can share — especially the things that make you unique — that will help your prospect reach their goals.

Tip 6: Craft Enticing Subject Lines

Your subject line determines if your message gets read. Avoid sales hype and superlatives. Instead, focus on business issues such as: “Partnership opportunity for your upcoming trade show” or “Quick question re: your outsourcing talent.”

Tip 7: Launch a Campaign

It usually takes up to 12 touch points (via email and/or phone) over four-to-six weeks to create a solid email campaign. Each interaction should build off the previous one. Provide links to resources. Highlight the value of using your service vs. staying with the existing vendor. Give away a free eBook. Offer a complimentary consultation. There are many reasons to engage with your prospect, just make sure that when you do reach out repeatedly, each message in the campaign is relevant and adds value.

Live and Learn.

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[BLUE] TOOL: Click to Tweet

Have you seen those click-to-tweet buttons on websites (like the one below) and wondered how to get one for your site?  Fret no more.

Here’s the answer: Click-to-Tweet.

This software service is the best, easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your stuff on Twitter.  As a matter of fact, Twi5.com (the one stop place for users searching for twitter apps) claims that “ClickToTweet can rightly be called the easiest twitter application to include retweet text in a link.”

As simple as 1-2-3 (literally).

All you have to do is visit the Click-To-Tweet website to complete these three easy steps:

First, you just need to write a compelling message (no more than 140 characters) that you would like your visitors to share in the box provided on the Click-to-Tweet website home page.

Click the “Generate” button to create a custom link that you can share on your website or social media channels.  Then, voilá — whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box, then they simply ‘click-to-tweet’!

Your visitors will love how easy it is to promote information to their followers, and you’ll love the added exposure. Why not take it for a spin by sharing a tweet now?

Just click on the button below and see how I’ve implemented this service on my site (because as you know, I only recommend things I use and love!)

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free!

More Information:

WEBSITE: ClickToTweet.com


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[BLUE] TIP: Twitter Lead Gen

Do you want to turn your twitter followers into blog subscribers?  If so, this brilliant TIP I stumbled upon from Momekh of LifeETC is for you.

What is it?

When a twitter follower (or prospective twitter follower) visits your twitter profile page, they are more than likely going to check out your Twitter Bio.  Hopefully, if you’re a smart marketer, you’ve not only added a quick bio about yourself, but you’ve also included a link back to your website and/or blog.

Instead of sending them to your website home page, why not take advantage of this new connection opportunity by thanking those Twitter users for becoming part of your community?

You can do this by creating a Twitter-specific landing page on your website that is created for twitter followers only, offering them something special in return for their interest.  Be sure to give them a clear call to action about subscribing to your blog.

You can view our Resort Entrepreneur’s Twitter ‘thank-you’ page here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Nothing but a little bit of time.

 

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[BLUE] TOOL: LaunchRock

Do you need to set up a “Launching Soon!” web page to determine interest, spread the word and build your audience?

What is it?

LaunchRock is a web based application that helps you set up a social “launching soon” page in minutes, share your page and start gathering emails.

With LaunchRock, you can incentivize and reward users for telling others about your project — just use their built-in sharing tools.

Prior to launching your business, it’s important to love each and every single person who signs up.  These interested followers are the customers who are going to either pay your bills and sing your praises, or they are the ones who will move onto a competitor.

That’s why it’s important to find out who they are and then engage with them about your solution as you finish building out your solution.  LaunchRock helps you begin building a relationship with the customers you acquire through email.

LaunchRock is currently a free service, and if you create your account now, you will not be charged in the future for any of the current features.

In other words, LaunchRock helps you ‘Rock your Launch’!

What are the benefits?

1. Create a landing page in minutes

Start building your list in minutes with a custom landing page.

 

2. Promote your launch

Share announcements and news through LaunchRock’s Announcement Bar.

 

3. Get to know your users

Get useful information on user signups, site traffic, and demographics.

 

4. Spread the word socially

LaunchRock users are incentivized to share your project through social media.

 

5. Email your list

Build a relationship with the customers you acquire through LaunchRock.

 

6. Get featured

Your project can be featured on LaunchRock’s discovery network: Coming Soon.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  LaunchRock

 

~ Connie Hammond ~



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[BLACK] TOOL: Shoeboxed


Making Money

Ready to eliminate paper clutter?

As entrepreneurs, we’re always collecting receipts. Yet, it seems like we never have any spare time to organize them.

Shoeboxed.com is ready to come to your rescue!  Consider Shoeboxed your full time virtual assistant that saves you time and money (especially during tax season)!

Shoeboxed takes the pain out of paperwork.  All you do is send the paper documents (receipts and business cards) by mail via the supplied envelope or upload them via your mobile phone.

Shoeboxed will scan, enter the data and categorize the receipts before posting them into your secure account.

Why I like it.

For me, the most appealing thing is the ability to just ship off all your receipts (in a shoebox!) and have them scanned.  So no matter where you are in your fiscal year, you can bring you receipt organization up to date without scanning one thing yourself.

That means your time as an entrepreneur is free to spend on more important issues.

With Shoeboxed mobile, you can just snap a photo of the receipt or business card on the go and upload it directly to your account.

Watch the video to learn more.

Pricing:

It’s free or you can get a paid account for $9.95/month.

Sign up:

Shoeboxed.com - Scan Receipts and Business Cards

Live and Learn.

If you enjoyed learning about this tool, please share it with others below.
Thank you for your support.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TOOL: Brand Yourself



Do you really need a free and easy way to manage your online reputation, Google ranking and personal branding?

Yes, you do.

We were all taught that a firm handshake, professional attire and a strong resume were the necessary pillars of a good first impression. Unfortunately, this philosophy is no longer enough.

With the advent of social media, making an unforgettable first impression in-person is no longer the only thing you need to worry about.  Whether you like it or not, you’re being ‘googled’ by your friends, families and love interests as well as by the people who do business with you.

Brand Yourself is a great new tool that helps you control your personal brand online.

So, what does your online reputation say about you?

Search engines like Google are an incredibly important part of your reputation, but unless you know how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works — which most people don’t — or unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on a traditional online reputation company, there is nothing you can do about it.

Until now.

The founders at Brand Yourself decided to put the power of SEO and online reputation in everybody’s hands, regardless of how tech savvy or wealthy they might be.  Their goal was to make it as easy as possible to help anyone improve their own search results and online reputation.

Brand Yourself believes people should be able to control their own online reputation without spending thousands on an online reputation company.

The Difference

The problem with most Reputation Management services is that they’re focused on the reputation of businesses, not people, using the same model for both.  For the average person who’s just trying to improve the search results for their own name, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay a reputation service thousands of dollars.

Brand Yourself is the only product concentrated solely on helping individuals control the search results for their name.  They’ve cut out needless complexity and focused squarely on creating a simple, effective solution that’s easy for anybody to use.

Why Do I Like It?

I was actually blown away with how easy their user interface was.  When I signed up for my profile, I had to stop and take notes because it was so incredibly easy-to-follow. They walk you through, step by step, the different ways you can improve your rankings, starting with declaring whether or not your current Google search results are legit or not (positive or negative).

I love the simple online profile that you create which is easily shared with others or placed in an email signature (not to mention that the profile becomes another positive addition to your search results).

Also, the tool lets you submit links that you actually want people to find when searching for your name.

Finally, Brand Yourself helps you improve your search results the right way (no black hat tactics).  You can view their SEO philosophy here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Their basic features are 100% free and their premium features are incredibly affordable (just a few bucks a month).

More Information:

WEBSITE: BrandYourself.com

LEARN MORE ABOUT SEO:


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TOOL: Smore Flyers

Do you need to get the word out about an upcoming event?  If so, you should know that the days of posting a flyer around your neighborhood are long gone.

What is it?

Meet your new event coordinator: Smore.  This online service helps you create amazing online pages that you’re proud to share.  Smore allows you to quickly and easily create beautifully designed flyers and publish them instantly online for all to see.

That’s right.  You can create beautiful web pages with NO coding background and  NO design experience.  Smore offers multiple event flyer templates to choose from and easy-to-follow directions.

The event flyer you create with Smore will look so professional that everyone will think you have a full-time designer on staff.

Check it out:

Why Do I Like It?

I like the drag and drop editing so you can arrange your content with ease.  You can embed text, images, videos, tweets, products and even reviews. Easily share your event flyer via social media. Smore offers multiple styles and themes that require NO installations.  And Smore flyers work flawlessly on your smartphone and tablet.

I tested it out last night on an event I’m planning for a client, and it’s awesome. In about 20 minutes, I had the flyer ready to go.  You can view the yoga retreat mockup I created here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

My Example

I tested it out, so consider this tool (like all the tools I recommend) tried and true.  Check out the event flyer for a Maui yoga retreat I created on behalf of my brand building agency, Smiling Sherpas.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  Smore


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLACK] TOOL: Meeting Ticker


Making Money

How much is your time worth?

If you’re anything like me, when your work day comes to a close, you find yourself asking this frustrating question “Where did all the time go?” Even more so, you’re probably exasperated by the fact that you didn’t get a lot more accomplished — in spite of the fact that you were not only ‘cranking out’ work all day long with not so much as a lunch break, but you were also attending worthless meetings. If you recognized yourself above, then there is a tool that I guarantee will help you save time … and money.  Because, in business, time is money.

Stop the bleeding.

I recently came across this free online tool that’s a real eye-openers when it comes to monitoring time.  That tool, which stops the bleeding when it comes to wasting time, is the Online Meeting Ticker. All you do is enter in the number of people attending your meeting, the average hourly rate of the attendees and then click start.  You can even enter “one” attendee if you’re on a conference call and want to see if it was really “worth your time” at the end of the call. Trust me, after you freak out, you’ll want to stop the bleeding. And I’m guessing that if you have this ticker up and running during a meeting where attendees can view it, they will get to their point a lot faster.

Pricing

It’s free!

Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

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[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TIP: Too Busy To Slow Down? Doubt It.

Get the right mindset for your online business.

I have been taking it really easy lately which is definitely a good thing. I’ve been cranking out some work, and admittedly, I’ve been recuperating from too much over-indulgence.

There’s definitely something to be said for stopping.  Just stopping whatever you’re doing and getting present.

I received an email from a friend and potential business partner this afternoon that screamed ‘overwhelmed’ to me. I’ve been there so many times, so I know. You could just tell from her writing — the anxiety and hurried wording in just her first paragraph.

It certainly made me take pause to send peace her way.

Sometimes nature makes you take pause, like right now.

Although I’ve arrived at my destination, it’s raining pretty hard outside. So, I’ve turned off the engine, turned off the lights, turned off the radio, turned off the iphone. And for the past 10 minutes, I‘ve just listened to the sound of the raindrops on the roof. It’s awesome to take the time to observe, really observe, those happy, dancing raindrops trickle and burst down the window pane.

This moment of bliss was so inspirational that I decided to write about it and share it with you, just in case you’re too busy to slow down yourself.  Hopefully you can close your eyes and at least imagine it.

It also feels like I’m in a cocoon of sorts, observing the outer world. My false perception is that no one can observe me back. I just watched a guy in a bright red raincoat and flip flops leisurely walk his yellow lab. The rain doesn’t bother him a bit. A few minutes past that, I observed a full-blown argument taking place between a stressed out couple in their car. The rain must bother them a lot.

It seems like we don’t have time, but we can make time if we really want to, especially time for ourselves. Just steal some moments like I’m doing now. I believe it’s important to take a pause out of the hectic and come back to the peace.

The ten minutes of raindrops have been music to my ears. I’m glad I’m learning to stay present. 

The street lights just came on. My roommate just came home.  And I need to pee.  So with my spirit renewed, I’m ready to dash to the door.  But at least for the past few minutes, I exhaled. And it was nice.

 

Get the latest tips and tools:


 

Join us on over on Facebook

If you learned something from this post, please share it. It only takes a second, but it makes a huge difference to me! Thank you.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TIP: Who Can You ‘Kudo’?

Get the right mindset for your online business.

After another late night of working into the wee wee hours, I decided to meditate to start my day off right. I always intend to take the time and do this, but I’m not always successful.

Meditation is completely appropriate and much needed during any business launch period.

Today’s guided meditation — one of my favorites — was on trust and surrender.  I find it  helpful to remember these two action verbs when bootstrapping my start-up.

Entrepreneurs find themselves working long hours, day in and day out, without little to no recognition in the beginning, so it’s important to trust that your hard work will pay off and completely surrender until it does.

After centering myself from meditation, I fired up my iPhone and immediately one email from a complete stranger caught my eye.  This stranger sincerely complimented me on something I’d written and wanted to know if I was available to discuss ways we could work together in the future since he owned a related business.

Really?  My ego took a leap.

A complete stranger was not only reading, but responding to, my written thought.

The positive feedback felt great, especially considering how exposed I’ve been feeling as a new business owner who’s authentically writing about the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur.  Trust me, I’d relish any and all kudos coming my way.

People don’t sincerely compliment friends, nevertheless strangers, nearly enough these days.  That’s why starting today, I am going to make a concerted effort to do that more.

A compliment is a two-way gift anyway.  Both the giver and the receiver benefit from this kind gesture; yet too often, people deprive themselves of the pleasure of giving a compliment, instead choosing to let the moment slip by without conveying their thoughts.

Maybe it’s time you take a good hard look around at your friends, family, employees, contractors, vendors, partners and even strangers.  Pay close attention.  See who needs lifting up.  Then, offer a compliment and a smile.

Times have been really tough lately.  More people than not could use some support or at least a kind word now and then.

What makes for a good compliment?  The praise needs to be sincere, specific and without qualification (no underhanded or excessive compliments).  When praise is delivered the right way, you’re bound to make that person feel better.  You may even motivate them too.

So, who can you “kudo” today?

 

Get the latest tips and tools:

Join us on over on Facebook

If you learned something from this post, please share it. It only takes a second, but it makes a huge difference to me! Thank you.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TOOL: Google +

What is it?

If you’re not using Google Plus yet, you really should ask yourself why not?  Google + is a social media channel similar to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  By combining the best features of the top social media sites; Google Plus is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

And then some.

If you are going to get serious about building your brand via content writing and distribution, then building a Google + community must be part of your strategy for a myriad of reasons, one of which is its 90 million users.  (BTW: it took only 88 days for Google + to get to 50 million users…how’s that for growth?)

Furthermore, if you are time strapped and don’t want to start yet another social media channel, then my recommendation is cutting another one out (if you’re not truly engaged there) and choosing Google +.

Why Do I Like It?

It’s one of the best ways to build your brand and engage with all sorts of interesting users.

You can create circles made up of anyone from from industry thought-leaders to prospects…competitors to media…vendors to clients.  And then you can send them information ranging from product launches to company updates.  The best thing is that you’ll tap into incredible conversations.

Google+ is more than just another social media channel — it has been thoroughly integrated into Google’s other products: Google Docs, Chrome, Google Reader, Gmail, and YouTube, and Google + is the glue that holds them all together.

Search

One of the main reasons I like Google + moreso than other channels is the fact that their +1 functionality directly impacts search results.  So if your content is ‘plus-oned’ or interacted with in some way (for example, shared or commented on), then Google search takes that action as an indication that your content is meaningful and relevant.

Also, Google announced that they will give greater authority to Google Business Plus pages in their search results.

So what is the risk if you have no Google+ presence and your competition does?  You actually may lose existing search traffic going forward.  That’s scary.

And now, Google just announced Search, plus Your World, which is the merger of personalized search with social search, including the addition of relevant Google+ results.

In other words, building your community on Google+ may be one of the smartest thing you can do to improve your search rankings.  Why is that important?  Because people are searching for your product; they’ll either find you or your competitor at the top of that result when they do.

It shouldn’t be the be all, end all for your business (dependence on any social media channel for your business survival is too risky), but it should be part of your plan.

Google + is a channel made for building your brand, pure and simple.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:

Google +

HOW TO: 

Create a Business Plus Page

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[DOUBLE DIAMOND] TOOL: Mixergy.com Entrepreneur Interviews

Get the right mindset for your online business.

Are you frozen by fear, scared to make a move and wondering what the heck you should do next on your entrepreneurial journey?

There’s one place I go to learn from others who have come before me, and that’s Mixergy.com.  Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts what works for them, and what doesn’t.

The people who speak on the Mixergy web site or at live Mixergy events are well-known business people who take time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences.

You’ll find over 725 interviews and 66 courses on all things entrepreneurial.

For example, you’ll find interviews ranging from how to systemize your business so everything runs smoothly and finding great mentors to building a passionate online community and bouncing back to $100 million-dollar success after losing everything.

Take a moment to visit the site and scroll through the interviews with exceptional entrepreneurs, and you’ll be hooked.

Mindset: Are You Playing to Win or Playing Not to Lose?

One of the things I love most about these interviews is hearing about the mindset of these entrepreneurs — what they did when they found themselves in crisis mode and how they broke through to the next, better level.

For example, in the clip below, you’ll see how one entrepreneur, Verne Harnish, got back on his feet and into the ring when he was knocked down in business.  He opened up about his dark days in business, how he snapped back, and how you can too.

It’s interviews like this one that keep me going in my own dark days as an entrepreneur.  They don’t just inspire me, the content on Mixergy.com helps me stay focused, think outside the box and get to the next level.

Knowing that I’m not all alone in my experiences is one of the reasons I keep pushing through in spite of my darkest days as an entrepreneur.

These interviews remind me that the sun will rise again tomorrow, as it always does.

A Daily Dose

To help me stay focused and renewed, I start my days with a three mile walk in the woods with two companions: my audio companion Mixergy.com and my sweet black lab, Lady.

I listen, I learn and I stay inspired.

That’s the only reason I wanted to share this incredible resource with you.  Please know this post is not some affiliate link or related to any “kickback.”   I just really like Andrew Warner’s Mixergy website and felt it was worth promoting to my audience.

Mixergy.com has lots of great free interviews readily available for consumption, but if you want to sign up for his premium membership (which I’ve also done), it’s well worth the $25/month expense (or less expensive for a longer commitment). 

A final bonus is that you can choose how you consume the content — watch, listen or read it.

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If you learned something from this post, please share it. It only takes a second, but it makes a huge difference to me! Thank you.

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLACK] TOOL: Hello Fax

Making MoneyThere’s a new kid on the block when it comes to faxing services, and trust me…this is one tool you want to get your hands on.

Hello Fax.

If you’re anything like me, you hate having to print out documents that require your signature, sign them, scan them and then fax them back.  It’s always so time consuming and frustrating that just the thought of someone asking for a signature sends chills up my spine.

Until now.

If you’re ready to get your contracts and proposals executed asap in order to make money faster, then sign up for Hello Fax stat.

It’s a deal-maker.

It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s a dream.

Rarely do I get so excited about a new tool.  Yes, there are some that save me time or help with my workflow, but this tool is a dream come true for entrepreneurs, especially eco-friendly ones.

Did you know that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year?  Hello Fax was started by Joseph Walla who had a vision of a paperless office, and that’s another reason I love it.

It saves trees. And it will save you time, money and stress.  Check out this :60 second video that shows just how easy it is to use:

With Hello Fax, you not only sign, edit and fax documents entirely online (no more printing!), but you’ll save money too.

Pricing

There are four package options available.  Pricing ranges from $0.00 to $69.99 depending on your needs.  I use the basic package, but envision upgrading to the next level soon as my business grows (I’ll need more fax pages for all those contracts!).

You can view Hello Fax packages and pricing here.

If you enjoyed learning about this tool, please share it with your friends.

Live and Learn.

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~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[GREEN] TIP: 50 Tasks in 90 Days To Start Your Biz

Is it time you start turning your dreams into reality?

Over the last three months, I’ve been working like a fiend trying to get my new brand building company off the ground.

In addition to the Resort Lifestyle Network that I manage, I had been providing consulting services on the side to generate additional revenue.  However, with more business coming in than I could manage, I decided to turn my ‘side gig’ into something more.

And thus my new online marketing company, Hammond Media Group, was born.

It’s possible to realize your dream.  Just taking the first step is all it takes.  Before you know it, you’ll have your very own business up and running.

Here’s a list of the 50 or so tasks that were completed in 90 days.  There is still a lot to do, but this is a great start.  Use these tasks as a checklist.  Use them as motivation. Use them for ideas.  Just do one of the tasks each day, and in three months time, you’ll be that much closer to living your dream.

I’ve included links where appropriate to make it even easier for you to get started.

Ready, Set, Go!

Business Set-Up

Website

Social Media

  • Embedded social media links (follow and share) on website and in email signature
  • Created a Facebook Page
  • Integrated MailChimp sign up form into Facebook page for list building (view sign up form on FB)
  • Created a Google+ Page
  • Created a Twitter account
  • Set up Twitter lists (clients, vendors, bloggers, etc.) to monitor conversations and manage news feed for resort sites and Hammond Media Group
  • Created a Hootsuite account to monitor twitter conversations
  • Created a Vimeo Channel for videos
  • Created a LinkedIn account for professional networking
  • Created a MailChimp account for email marketing / list building
  • Created a SlideShare account for presentations

Marketing

  • Attended Entrepreneur and Tech MeetUps to network and promote new biz
  • Ordered business cards, thank you notes and other printed marketing materials from VistaPrint
  • Set up email Auto-Responders based on different target audiences (huge time-saver for lead generation; learn more about the benefits of email automation)
  • Completed pro-Bono work for a worthwhile charity
  • Joined local area Chamber of Commerce organizations to network / generate new business opportunities

Other

  • Completed a website audit for a client
  • Set up an editorial calendar for a client
  • Completed two major proposals totaling approximately 30k in revenue
  • Worked out preferred partnership arrangements with two vendors

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[GREEN] TOOL: Lynda.com Online Training

What is it?

Lynda.com is online software training videos that really work.  Really. They offer classes for the very basic beginner who’s clueless about software all the way through to the expert who needs to brush up on their skills.

Whatever your line of business, you should get to know ‘Lynda.’

It’s no longer OK to get by in business life without knowing basic computer skills.  Actually, being naive about technology is ludicrous considering how much business is done online these days.  Even if you’re not launching a startup, there’s value for any business owner or manager to have a working understanding of technology as a way to communicate better with their technical staff.

So, if you want to stay current and keep your skills sharp…learn innovative and productive techniques…gain confidence and marketability…and be taught by experienced instructors, then you’ll find all that and more at Lynda.com.  Also, check out the competitor section below for other specialized options.

Currently, Lynda.com offers over 71,000 tutorials.  Yep–you heard that number right.  That’s one big library of learning!

Some of the classes I’ve taken include: XHTML and HTML Essential TrainingWordPress 3.0 Essential Training and Web Design Fundamentals (all of which I recommend).

Even better, if you want to take some business-oriented classes, you can do that too.  Classes such as PowerPoint tips, Online Marketing Fundamentals and Essential Training courses for PayPal,  Excel, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn (and much more).

And you even get a certificate when you’ve completed the course (view certificate example).

Why Do I Like It?

One of the many reasons I love Lynda.com is because you can learn at your own pace.  As we know, being a business owner makes time difficult to come by.  That’s why if you need to stop… rewind…or just come back to it later, picking up where you left off is super-easy with Lynda.com.

It really is the perfect tool for entrepreneurs.

What Is The Cost?

The basic package is only $25 per month.  You get anytime access to the 71,000+ library of tutorials, and there is no long-term commitment (you can cancel or put your subscription on hold at any time).  Or, upgrade to the premium plan for $37.50 per month and receive exercise files with your training.

The annual fees are $250/year for basic; $375/year for premium.

I recommend the monthly option because as entrepreneurs, we need flexibility.  Why pay for months if you’re not going to use them?  I for one have put my subscription on hold twice now, and then re-engage when time (and brainpower) permits.

Who Are The Competitors?

Some similar online learning companies include:

  • Learnable – Online learning for web developers and designers ($17/month)
  • KelbyTraining.com – Online learning for pro photographers and Adobe Photoshop experts
  • VTC.com – Computer software training ($30 for one month access)
  • Digital-Tutors – Learn to make movies and games
  • Tuts Plus – Learn creative and technical skills like design, web design and more
  • CodeSchool.com – Learn how to code
  • Code Lesson – Learn online, but with real instructors.  4-6 week long courses.
  • Udemy – Take a course…or why not create your own course?  hmmm…..interesting way to build your brand.
  • MarketMotive – Internet Marketing Certification Courses (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Analytics, etc. for $299+)
  • Team Treehouse –  Web design, web development, iOS (build iphone and ipad apps)
  • Peep Code – Learn what’s hot and new (Git, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Javascript, iphone, jQuery, etc.)
  • Code Academy – Learn web design, web development, web apps — all for beginners ($6000 and this one is in Chicago for 11 weeks).

Video about Lynda.com: