Declutter Your Digital Biz

Email Waste

Spring is coming! And with the freshness and newness of spring comes that age-old desire to freshen up our homes, our businesses, our lives. So today we’re going to examine some ways we can apply that itch for cleaning up, simplifying, and even starting over, in some cases, to an area of our work that has the power to clutter up everything from our computer to our minds—it’s our digital business.

Here are some ways you can get a handle on it:

Declutter your email. Okay, girls, let’s be real. My email inbox has a tendency to become a crazy, hairy beast with lots of arms and legs that frequently gets out of control. Honestly, I just have way too many emails in my inbox, and chances are, you do too.

  • One of the most effective ways to manage the mess is to start with today, working your way backwards in time, deleting anything and everything that doesn’t hold your interest. Seriously. Make quick work of it. You probably won’t even have to open many of the emails to know if it’s something you want to keep.
  • Since you’re already giving attention to each email to determine whether or not it’s worth keeping in your inbox, when you see an email from a sender you’re no longer interested in receiving communications from, go ahead and take a few extra seconds to open that email and unsubscribe. I know this feels tedious and time consuming, but trust me—it will pay off in time and energy saved later!

Declutter your lists. While we’re on the topic of email, let’s talk just a moment about your email database. We talk a lot about email list building, but not all contacts are worth keeping. Find out who is or is not opening your emails. If it’s been six months, nine months, or a year since someone has read what you send them, it’s time for some decluttering!

Declutter your social media. Unfollow dead leads. Unlike pages you are no longer interested in or that are no longer serving you. Get rid of that stuff—it’s nothing but excess weight. Clean up your accounts, get a really clear newsfeed or Twitter feed, and the experience will be much easier and more navigable for you.

Declutter your digital systems. Take a look at your daily processes and determine what’s not a fit. Take note of things such as invoicing, bookkeeping, email templates, letterhead or other forms of digital branding. Where can you simplify or streamline to make your systems more efficient?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed—and even stuck—with the clutter of trying every new thing, or the clutter of hanging onto what used to work, or the clutter of using multiple platforms to accomplish a single task. Ease up on yourself and be smart about decluttering your digital biz. You’ll be glad you did.

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5 MORE Ways Twitter Changed My Business

5 More Ways Twitter Changed My BusinessTwo posts in a row on the wonders of Twitter! That tells you how highly I think of it. Last time I shared with you “5 Ways Twitter Changed My Business” and today I’m going to follow that up by letting you in on five more things I just love about it—things I hope may push you over the edge toward giving it a try. I bet you’ll never go back! I know I won’t. So let’s dive right in!

1. It’s targeted! If you’ve been around the MomBiz community for any time at all, you’ve probably noticed we talk a lot about your “target market” and whether or not you’ve been asking them what they want. Well, pre-Twitter, I didn’t do that at all. I just came up with an idea that I thought was good and I tried to sell it to people I thought needed it. Now sometimes that worked, but many times it didn’t, and it led to a lot of wasted time and energy. Twitter surrounds me with opportunities to interact with my target market. A quick keyword search gives me untold insight into the pain points I want to create solutions for. When I have an idea, I can float it out to my “tweople” and either regroup and try again, or march confidently forward with what I know they need.

2. It’s easy! As a mompreneur and Chief Everything Officer of your business, you wear a lot of hats. Opportunities to speak or collaborate or teach or write or coach are worthwhile endeavors… but who has time to search for them? Twitter and the marketing strategy I’ve built around it have made me no longer a hunter, but a receiver of such opportunities, creating a richness and diversity to my offerings that I wouldn’t accomplish otherwise.

3. It’s visible! Twitter is the most powerful tool I know of to create visibility for my brand. It’s my virtual “business card.” Enough said. Well… almost. Let’s say you have 2,000 followers on Twitter. Well, that means that not only do those 2,000 people see your tweets, but THEIR followers do too. You can go to a networking event and hand out 20 or 30 or 50 business cards, or you can use Twitter, and every time you tap out 140 characters, you’re sending it to 2,000+. You do the math.

4. It’s central! Twitter has become a single platform in which I can leverage everything else I do in my business. It is the central processing area. I can tweet about my blog posts, my videos, my articles, my products, my radio show… with just a few clicks of the mouse. Twitter is the center of my online presence, offering easy access to all I do.

5. It’s friendly! Running a home-based small business can be lonely. When I’m excited about something and just dying to share it with others, I send it out on Twitter and I get dozens of congratulatory tweets back from my followers. In the same way, when the fighting kids and challenges of motherhood have stressed me to the hilt, some encouraging or hysterical tweets make it all better. This is the stuff that keeps me going.

So there’s my Twitter campaign. They really should send me money for doing such persuasive advertising for them! But when one simple, free tool can make such a positive difference, how can I keep from spreading the word?

I love to hear from you, so let me know what you think!
What is YOUR favorite thing about Twitter?
Has anything I’ve blogged about convinced you to give Twitter a try?

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How to get a blogger’s undivided attention

I just returned from New York City and the mega-conference that is BlogHer. Holy Mama! So many bloggers, so many brands, so many sessions, so many friends…

Introducing Qwiki and The Dry Bar

It can be very hard to focus on ANYTHING when you’re in the midst of 4,500 women and nearly as many brands vying for their attention.
In the one-minute video below, I share how one brand did it right.

Play the Qwiki: How to get undivided attention at BlogHer

 Did a brand reach out to you at the conference? Did you like the way they pitched you, or would you like to give them a few tips about how to get your attention next time? Share your comments below.

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Why the HP Folio 13 Ultrabook is Perfect for Mompreneurs {and a giveaway}

About three weeks ago as I was planning for the Mom Biz Retreat Denver, and I was struggling to choose which of my four computers to take with me to the Retreat. The choice was really between my 17 inch laptop, my netbook, and my iPad. I needed portability, great battery life, and a powerful processor that would allow me to do my usual multitasking, since we integrate using Social Media, browsing the web for brand and competitor research, and fun things like running videos and streaming music into the Retreat workshops.

The 17 inch laptop has a great processor and is pretty good at all the multitasking I do on a daily basis. But the thing weighs like, 100 pounds, and there was no way I wanted to drag it through airports, on shuttles and in and out of hotel rooms.

My iPad is fun, lightweight, great for streaming videos and music, but even with an added bluetooth keyboard, I find that I don’t go to my iPad when I need hardcore business functionality. It’s more of a fun tool for consuming entertainment and information than it is for producing content.

The netbook is certainly portable–same size as my iPad–but the processor is too weak to even do a decent job of running a Skype session with a client, much less Skyping while also tweeting or browsing the web at the same time. I’ll be passing that little computer onto one of my lucky children.

You guys hear me say all the time how much I rely on technology to give me the freedom and flexibility being a mom entrepreneur demands. I don’t dig technology just to be the coolest mom on the block. But when HP sent me the Folio 13 Ultrabook I’m typing on right now, I completely geeked out. mom biz coach mom entrepreneur laptop for mobility

Even in the box, the laptop only weighed about 5 pounds. I opened it up and found a very sleek, silver machine inside. It took me about 10 minutes to get it unwrapped, set up, and connected to my wireless router at home. Easy-peasy. And within about 20 minutes, I fell in love.

(Keep reading below so you fall in love, too, and learn how you could get one of these fantastic laptops in your deserving hands via my giveaway!)

 

Here’s why I love and highly recommend the Folio 13 for busy mompreneurs:

I sat it next to my iPad and a pair of kid’s scissors so you could get a feel for the size of it…pretty close to an iPad, but better.

  • It boots up faster than I can say to my kids: “No, you can’t play on Mom’s new computer. Go use one of the other laptops.” Seriously. With all my other computers, I have to fire them up and then go make myself a cup of coffee before they’re ready to do anything for me. Time isn’t something I have a lot of, so this is a big deal to me.
  • Call me schizophrenic. I don’t mind. I like to run Pandora in the background so I can listen to my favorite music while I’m blogging, and I’m always posting my Twitter and Facebook updates while I blog. My husband chides me for having “too many tabs in my browser open at once” since it slows down the processing speed so much that I may as well go make myself a snack to go along with that coffee I had earlier. Not so with this little laptop. I do it all, all at the same time, and my Folio 13 keeps on going. It’s been three weeks and it hasn’t crashed a single time. Ask me how many tabs I have open right now (and all the time): eleven. Normal, right?
  • It’s a full-size keyboard, unlike my iPad. I can type 70 wpm on a full-sized keyboard, but I only type about 25 wpm on my iPad. I can’t believe that something this size indeed feels full-sized.
  • Do you blog and tweet in the dark? Yeah, me too. I finally own a laptop that has a backlit keyboard! Cowabunga! I appreciate not having to hunt for the special keys in the dark when I need them.
  • I can stay unplugged for an entire day. At the Mom Biz Retreat in Denver last weekend, I left the power cord for the Folio 13 up in my suite and used my laptop to power my presentations during our all-day work sessions. I had plenty of battery life even when I plugged it back in late at night. Talk about flexibility.

In the interest of full disclosure, HP gave me this laptop to keep (thank you, HP!!!), since I meet the exact profile of the kind of person who could benefit from using it. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have agreed to keep it and tell you about it. But they have me pegged, and I’m so fond of this little gem that I’m doing a giveaway to help one of you love it, too!

Here’s the deal:

You may have heard that Shelagh Cummins and I are returning to Caledon, Ontario in September to host the Mom Biz Retreat there. We are looking forward to returning to the city in which we first launched the Mom Biz Retreats one year ago! We know lots of you are talking about joining us there. So we’re going to give you an incentive: We will giveaway one HP Folio 13 Ultrabook just like this one to one of you who registers for the Retreat! We’re just that committed to helping you get what you need to be a successful mom and entrepreneur. Yeah!

Here’s how to grab one of only 50 seats offered at Mom Biz Retreat Ontario.

 

This giveaway is open to the mompreneurs who register for and attend the Mom Biz Retreat in Caledon, Ontario September 27-30. To qualify for the giveaway, register to attend the Retreat and then leave a comment below telling us you’ve registered and what your top business challenge is. We will cross-reference all comments with our registration list.

  • One entry per person.
  • Giveaway ends at 11pm ET on August 31st.
  • One winning registrant of the Mom Biz Retreat Ontario 2012 will be selected via Random.org.
  • The winner will have seven days to respond to my email (sent to the address you include when you leave your comment on the blog), after which an alternate winner will be chosen.

I’m grateful to HP for providing me the Folio 13! Now, how fast can you register so you can get a chance to win yours? GO!

 

 

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Smartphones Make Women Smarter

Metro Detroit women without a smartphone – this event is for you. Have you been resisting giving up your basic phone because smartphones seem too overwhelming? Or, are you ready to kick your basic phone to the curb but haven’t had time to find the best smartphone for you? If either of those scenarios sound familiar, keep reading. Especially since we’ve got a special offer for 25 local women to try out a smartphone for 30 days–for FREE!

I’m a HUGE advocate for women (especially those who run businesses while running a family) to use cool, easy tech to save time, money, effort and hassle. I’m NOT one of those people who has to have all the latest and greatest tech gadgets just because. Instead, I always look for tech tools that make sense for a busy mom entrepreneur like me.

Live Learning & Sharing Event

That’s why I’ve partnered with Verizon Wireless to host an interactive smartphone session on May 30 from 7-9 p.m. to help local Michigan moms see the awesomeness that smartphones are.

I held out buying my first smartphone until February last year. I was hung up on the cost and was worried that everyone just wanted one because it was the “in thing” among us moms. Um, wrong!

Sure, my iPhone is cool and all, but it’s what this palm-sized super hero does for me that makes me such a fan.

Smartphone = Freedom

Here are just a few of the things my smartphone has replaced, if not permanently, then at least when I’m on the go, giving me an amazing sense of freedom and flexibility to manage my life and my businesses, run my household and keep my kids happy) :

(telephone, computer, radio, DVD player,movies, flashlight, to do list, alarm clock, grocery list, photo albums, business check book, post it notes, coloring books, scanner, calendar, books, board games)

I traded that pile above for this:

Who can argue with that? With your smartphone, you have an enormous amount of power right at your fingertips. You’ll be more organized, more in control of your to-do’s and your time, and have a much lighter load to carry.

I’m inviting 25 Metro Detroit women to join us at a one-time special “Get Smart” session on Wednesday, May 30th at the Verizon Wireless store located at:

3035 S. Rochester Rd.
Rochester Hills, MI 48307

At this event, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Check out some of the hottest new Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphones.
  • Learn from me exactly how I use my smartphone to solve everyday business problems, stay connected with my team, make my kids smarter and my husband love me :-).
  • Learn from Verizon Wireless data reps how to operate the phones–easy peasy.
  • Discover all the cool apps to use for work, family and fun. You won’t believe all your smartphone can do with these!
  • Ask me and the Verizon Wireless data folks questions anything you want to know about using a smartphone.

Food and drinks will be provided.

The best part? You’ll walk away from the event with a 4G LTE smartphone from Verizon Wireless to trial for free for 30 days to see firsthand how a smartphone truly makes a difference in your life.

Attend and Get Your Trial Smartphone

Space is limited to 25 attendees. Want a chance to try out a top-of-the-line smartphone for free and learn how to use it? Great! Apply to attend by commenting below. Make sure you give us your name and email address so we can get in touch with you to confirm your attendance. Then tell us which basic phone you’re currently using and what you hope to get out of the event.

Please note – this event will be specifically tailored to women who do not currently have smartphones and will not be beneficial to those who do. Please do not apply to attend if you already have one. Instead, send one of your friends who you know needs a smartphone! Moms don’t let their mom friends struggle, right?

We will notify attendees via email.

What You Need to Do

So to re-cap:

  • Leave a comment below with your name, email, the type of basic phone you’re currently using and what you expect from attending this event.
  • Grab a friend who needs to get herself a smartphone and have her apply to attend, too!
  • Mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 30, from 7-9pm to come listen, learn, chill out with some other cool women.
  • Get a brand-spanking new smartphone set up and ready to go at the event.
  • Take home your very own Verizon smartphone to try out for 30 days for FREE!

Questions? I’m happy to answer them. Just email me directly – lara@mombizcoach.com.

I am grateful that Verizon Wireless is helping me spread the message about how smartphones help women entrepreneurs. Although they are compensating me for my time, my desire to work with them on this initiative comes from my being a longtime Verizon customer who swears she could make it on a deserted island as long as her iPhone could connect to a cell tower.

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