All posts tagged “advice”

Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life

Ready to get “undressed” for success?

Lisa Kanarek’s new book, “Working Naked” (affiliate link), can help you do just that. Lisa shares a ton of great tips for all aspects of a career built around working from home. She packages it all in an easy-to-ready format (think Seth Godin: quick bursts of excellent information).

Also, check out Lisa’s site/blog: You may recognize her name from an interview I did with her earlier this year. She IS America’s Work-From-Home expert!

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Build Your Business And Career By Recognizing Patterns


X – X – Y – Y – X – X – Y … What comes next? A “Y”, right?

I stopped home for lunch earlier this week and my wife was working with our five year-old daughter on some homeschool stuff. They happened to be working on patterns similar to the one in the first sentence. As I watched her analyze each pattern and anticipate the next character, I realized how vital the skill of recognizing patterns can be.

When I spend less time checking emails each day I get more done. When I get more done I have more money and more time.

My high-paying clients are usually more trusting of my opinions than most low-paying, DIY clients.

Any opening tag in HTML requires a closing tag.

Earlier this year, I recognized a trend where some potential clients needed a simple website but couldn’t afford my base site development price. I tapped into this trend by launching specifically for them.

Lately, I’ve noticed how inefficient my sales pipeline process is. By detecting patterns in the questions potential clients ask, knowing which potential projects are high-priority, and developing a standard follow-up process, I’ve developed a new, improved system for my business.  I’ve started using Capsule CRM to manage my entire prospecting and sales process, and I continue to use Freshbooks for my invoicing and time-tracking.

If you can recognize patterns in your career, you’re going to succeed. Learning, business, investing, education, relationships…so much of what we do is dependent on finding patterns.

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Where There Is Waiting, There Shall Be Wi-Fi

I’m sitting at the Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital day surgery center right now. Waiting waiting waiting. Don’t worry…we’re okay.

But as I’m sitting here, and though I have a mobile hotspot on my phone I could use, I find myself thankful for a very strong, very fast, very free wi-fi connection. And it makes sense here because people are constantly in a “state of wait” when they visit the doctor. Giving them some complimentary wi-fi to catch up on business, news, email, etc. is the least you can do. Waiting often equals crabbiness, and making the wait more pleasant is only going to ease people’s attitudes.

So attention businesses that have a “wait-time” aspect: give your visitors some free wi-fi love. This includes places like hair salons, automotive shops (the shop I use does – so awesome!), medical centers, AIRPORTS (seriously – make it free), the dentist, etc.

I know, it seems like a no-brainer, but we’ll thank you for it.

And we’re starting to expect it.

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The Key to Networking: Be Useful

I attended some great sessions and met some wonderful folks at MinneBar 2010 this past weekend. Today I share a simple piece of advice about networking that I learned in one of the sessions.

Credit for this advice goes to @kevindonlin and @mnheadhunter, two very smart gentlemen.

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Shorter Is Better

One of the things I dislike about the use of blocks of time when scheduling is the tendency to use that entire block of time. When a speaker has an hour for a presentation, they’re going to use that full hour. When a pastor has 45 minutes, they’re going to use that 45 minutes. When we schedule a half-hour for a meeting, we tend to use that half-hour.

Don’t be afraid to keep things as short as possible!

Can what you said in that 30,45,or 60 minutes be shortened down to just 20 minutes of the good stuff? People will love you for the good stuff, and everything else might just be getting in the way.

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Floppy Disks and Keeping Yourself Relevant

I did some organizing over the weekend and found this in a box of random stuff. Remember when everything was on these 3.5″ disks? It wasn’t even all that long ago that we were still using them.

I remember my college roommate installing Windows 95 on his fancy new laptop computer back in 1995 (of course). CD drives weren’t even standard yet so he installed the complete OS using about 20 of these 3.5″ disks. Unbelievable!

These things hold 1.40 MB. ONE POINT FOUR ZERO MBs!!! I don’t think I have a single song in my entire music collection that would fit on one of these.

My point is this: Don’t be a 3.5″ disk.

Well, not literally. But continually have a plan to do what you do…better. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but it can be something as simple as setting aside an hour per week to research new trends in your field.

If you’re a programmer, learn the ins and outs of a new plugin or API. If you’re a writer, challenge yourself to write about something you’d normally consider too difficult or complex. Heck, write a book! If you’re a designer, spend some time each week going through a tutorial for a new method in Illustrator. Just commit to improving your skills a little bit at a time.

It doesn’t even need to take much planning ahead of time. Try out a new app and just tinker with it for an hour or two. Relax, you’ve built the time into your schedule. Use this opportunity for a little “sandbox time.”

Don’t be the freelancer or employee who is stuck with a 3.5″ floppy skill-set in a 16 GB USB flash drive world. You’ll find yourself tossed quickly.

Unless you end up in my box of junk that never gets thrown out.

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Relationships, Consumerism, and the Throw-Away Mentality

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this video is about relationships. Okay I wasn’t really thinking about Valentine’s Day at all when I set out to record this, but it’s fitting nonetheless. The meat of this video is in the first three minutes, but keep watching if you’d like to see some of the ways we’re trying to overcome a throw-away mentality in our household.

We live in a period when everything is disposable. If something breaks, we just throw it away and get a new one. With regards to things like the environment, this is obviously a bad thing. However, it’s even worse if we apply this mentality to people and relationships.

People are valuable. We are all unique, each with our own strengths and weaknesses. Though it may not seem like someone is of value to you right now, you just never know when your paths may cross again and on what terms. Not that it matters if you ever cross paths again: just be nice.

Also, I think we give up to easily on people a lot of times. Great relationships take time and effort. Commitment in the long run takes a “fix-it” attitude  where you’re willing to do what it takes to make it work. This is the type of attitude clients and employers like to see. It can be a big key to networking as well.

Failing at fixing “stuff” can be tolerated, but let’s make sure we’re committed to doing the work when it comes to relationships. The good news is that I see a lot of people on a regular basis with this type of attitude.

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The AnywhereMan Christmas Gift Guide

If you are a Work Anywhere person like me, or know someone who is, this list is for you. Here are the six things on my Anywhere Christmas list:

1) iTunes Gift Cards

2) Pocket HD Video Camera

3) The Bourne Trilogy

4) Coffee Gift Cards

5) Bluetooth Accessories

6) BlueLounge Space Station

Really, I don’t actually need any of this stuff. They just compliment my lifestyle. If you’re really looking for great things to spend money on this holiday season, please consider donating to a charity such as Samaritan’s Purse in honor of the special people in your life. We are purchasing some gifts for children in memory of our friend Nathan.

What’s on your Anywhere Christmas list this year?

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Motivating Yourself While Working Independently

If you are operating a one-person business like I do, who keeps you motivated? Who makes sure you are completing things on time and not slacking off?

It’s all you.

Sometimes I feel like the absolute King of Slacking Off but I’ve come to the realization that if I keep enough “fun” things spread out through my projects (especially big projects), the excitement will linger throughout the parts of the project that I might not normally enjoy that much. This helps me stay motivated, focused, and on-task.

What keeps you fresh and excited during various phases of a big project or the day-to-day routine?

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Three Things I Learned While Working From Coffee Shops

I usually spend a morning or afternoon here and there each week working from coffee shops, cafes, or anywhere else wifi is available. This week my home office was not an option so I spent three days in a row working elsewhere. Here are three things I noticed about the days spent working in public, plus a bonus tip for coffee lovers at the end.

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