Friday, March 20, 2009

A couple websites I have found useful

I have a host of websites bookmarked but a few I have found in the past week are pretty helpful and I thought I would share. One is friendfeed , which is a site you use to enter your status updates or blog information and it forwards to all the social media sites you belong to. It is free, the directions are easy, you get set up and then have one place to go, you can update all your social stuff at once! You still have to read your tweets from friends.. havent found a fast way to do that yet.

Another site is called submitterbot , This is a directory submission site. If you want your website to be found, being in as many directories as possible is a step in the right direction. Again this is completely free, you sign up, fill in the information about your website, then you have to take the time to submit to each directory BUT, they have the list of ALL the directories and they get new ones every day. You dont have to pick the right place for your website in each directory, Submitterbot chooses the best place for you by the keywords you have entered. So, this may take a little time each day but it is much quicker than googling all the directories out there, signing up for each one and entering your website. I turn on Pandora and enter for about 1/2 hour a day... I make it fun. If you have a directory, you can submit it there so folks can find you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday AM.. yawn, but my brain is going 100 mph

Its Monday but it feels like Sunday to me. My family has barbers days off so Sunday and Monday is the weekend around here. I am attempting to get things done early this morning before everyone wakes up and starts 'needing' me for different things. Having a home office is a great freedom, but can also be harder than going to work, because I am right here where everyone can find me.

Last night I watched the 60 minutes interview with Ben Bernanke. He is a smart cookie and I enjoyed the interview. His view on the financial outlook was much brighter than the media has been reporting, which is why I sat down to write this. I am so tired of the news that I really don't watch it anymore. I get most of my news online, I only read the articles that interest me and I stay away from the gloom and doomers. I, by no means, am sticking my head in the sand, on the contrary, I am fully aware of whats going on. My husband follows politics and finances all day, but one in the family is enough. I believe that we do reap what we sew and if we sew negative, head bowing, OMG news, that is what we will continue to get. We all keep hearing about the more than 10% that are out of work in CA, I realize that and am actually part of that (lay off last year) but the other part of that story is the other 90% are still working! Lets talk about the MILLIONS who still work every day. I do want to know how many people are out of work. I do want to help and I do want to know what is being done, if anything, but at the same time must it be the only subject that is covered?

One of the changes that I have noticed locally, people staying home with their families more. I do realize that when folks don't go out to eat, the restaurants suffer, but when people stay home, the family gets stronger. We have been cooking dinners, here at home, almost every night over the past few months and I am really enjoying that. I am actually going to plant a garden this year, which will be the first time since we moved in, 9 years ago (I didn't say I was going to grow a garden because I don't have the greenest thumb). I have read about more neighborhood gardens popping up around the country. Getting back to basics is a good thing for people, just not such a good thing for retailers and local, product based businesses. We will emerge from this, and I do believe that we will be stronger. Those people who have that entrepreneur spirit, who own those local businesses, might fail at that particular business but will start another one. Its the nature of the beast. I have that entrepreneur spirit. Sage Virtual Assistance is the 3rd business I have started. If this one, by chance, doesn't work (which I know it will) I will keep trying until something does work because its the core of who I am. New adventures, new people, new ideas, building, growing, making connections. It is exciting to me!

I am going to be positive about the future because I refuse to live in this climate of gloom and doom anymore!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Guerrilla marketing and living more creatively

Everyone I talk to is having to cut back. Either they dont go to dinner as often, they dont go drinking as often (which isnt such a bad thing). They arent shopping for new "things" as much as they did. When times are tough, as they are now, people get tougher, its inevitable. I have complete confidence that folks WILL adapt to the changes that are coming.

Do you recall the 70's when we had to go to the gas station every OTHER day, depending on your license plate numbers? I was living in Los Angeles at the time and remember fights breaking out that the gas pumps because someone had a gas jug and no car. So right now, its money we cant get our hands on. Its always something. Our houses are worth less than when we purchased them. Our Credit Card Companies are charging more interest. At least K-Mart and Sears are starting their layaway again... My Mom always put things on layaway when I was a kid. We have been a throw away society for so long that fixing the hole in that blouse or stitching on a new button wasn't cool, give it to the goodwill and buy a new one. Now, I find myself fixing that button less shirt. Thats ok, I actually like it. I am a pack rat and have always hated throwing things out.

Marketing, which was my original reason for writing this, is another place where we have to cut back. Ok, so the employment looks bleak, over 10% are out of work in CA, but what about the other 90%? They are still working their jobs or struggling to keep their businesses afloat in this media climate of gloom and doom... which is another peeve of mine, but I will go into that later. So I have been researching guerrilla marketing techniques and so far, I am finding a ton of things I can do to keep my business name out there in front of people for very little if any cash out of my pocket. For one, SOCIAL MEDIA is HUGE!! Post post post to those blogs, twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, forums... wherever you can post do it! (If your not sure how, contact me, I can do it for you) You would be amazed at the people out there who look at these and recognize your name after you have been around a while. Donate to charity. Put together a basket of goodies for a local cause with your business card or a flyer in it. Everyone who is at the event, everyone who looks at the pretty baskets that are going to be auctioned off, will see YOUR business card or flyer. Get out and join networking groups. I know alot of the networking groups are not exactly cheap but there are some out there, people who are like minded who are doing the same thing as you, trying to keep their head above water and it doesnt cost an arm and a leg. Postcards are great, get on your computer, make a postcard and print it out, take it over to Kinkos and get a bunch of copies. Now give those postcards to EVERYONE YOU MEET... They are obviously bigger than a business card so not likely to get lost in peoples wallet along with the other business cards they are toting around. I was googling around the other day and found these adorable little bookmark templates. I downloaded them, customized them and laminated them.. I carry around a handful and give them out, again, to EVERYONE I MEET.

In other words, BE your company.. breath it, sleep it, think it, talk about it... and good luck to you in your ventures!! Remember, if your not sure how to do some of these things, pop me an email, I can help you out!!!