One morning a couple of weeks ago I was taking my morning walk. I’ve started getting into the (great) habit of listening to podcasts while I walk. They’re all business-focused, because I am trying to learn more, understand more, and generally expand my education and talents. (Never stop learning!!)
On this particular morning I was listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast: Online Marketing Made Easy. She was speaking with Carey Bentley of Lifehack Bootcamp. Carey and her husband Demir help people become more productive without sacrificing all your time and happiness.
So, there I was, walking and listening and then Carey started talking about having a Champagne Moment. As she explained it (and I’m paraphrasing here - please listen to Amy’s podcast with Carey so you can hear the whole, proper explanation), you determine what would have to happen in your life to pop a bottle of champagne. This helps you to get focused. You remove all the extraneous stuff that’s bumbling around in your head (for me, that’s about a million things!), and you focus on some specific goals that allow you to reach your champagne moment.
Sunday night I decided on two goals. The first was going to be for business. I would make sure I posted once daily to each of the three Facebook pages I manage. It’s important, and I tend to slack on that. The second goal was for me, personally. I wanted to accomplish a FitBit goal. 10,000 steps every day Monday through Friday. And for some of you, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but you have to know that me and exercise - we’re not the best of friends. We don’t like each other much. :)
Those were my goals. They were attainable. They were focused. They were each very tangible. The 10,000 steps were measured on my FitBit. I can’t fake that. (unless I shake my watch forever!) And the posts are definitely tangible. You know if they aren’t there online - and everyone else knows it, too!
Both of these goals were attainable, yet I had to put some amount of effort into them. Did I succeed? You bet I did! I gave myself reasonable, actionable goals prior to the start of the week. I knew about the goals. They were there every day. They were staring at me. I made sure I accomplished them no matter what, and I achieved my champagne moment. (Okay, it wasn’t really champagne. I did have one cocktail with dinner and celebrated my victory!)
I love goal setting, but I especially loved this easy, and more focused way of setting - and achieving - a goal.
Are you ready to set a “Champagne Moment” goal this week? I am! I’m going to plunge into my emails from Lifehack Bootcamp and start learning more about becoming more productive. I’ll let you know how it goes!
In today's #We'reAllBusiness post, I'd like to talk about…wait for it…flexibility! I bet you guessed that already though, didn't you. I (Frankie) have been following a theme this week on being more flexible so it only makes sense for me to end the week with a post that stays consistent to that theme.
For some of us (I'm talking about myself here) flexibility and change is hard. I know I can get very rigid and stoic in my routines, schedules and ways of doing things. When you start changing things up it's extremely tough for me, but I realize that to grow and thrive as a person and as a business woman, I absolutely have to be more flexible.
I've recognized 3 ways I personally need to be more flexible in my work and home life and thought I'd share those with you today.
And of course, according to my sister, taking a yoga class couldn't hurt either.
We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a comment on your ideas on how to be more flexible in your business and personal life.
I (Frankie) thought that when you were in customer service, some things were just a given. Like…I don't know, maybe you're polite, return phone calls, and provide the service you say you provide. Just little things; things that we take for granted that you will do because IT'S YOUR JOB!
I guess you can tell I'm a little pissed about this. One thing I cannot stand is bad customer service. And, let's face it, we're all in customer service in some way. If you're a nurse, your patients are your customers. If you're in sales of any kind, then pretty much everyone is your customer. Even if you are stacking pallets in a warehouse, your supervisor is your customer because you are providing a service for him and he expects you to do your service. And never forget that when you work from home, you are definitely into customer service. Every job you do, you are providing a service and if you want to be successful, then you better make sure you're providing outstanding customer service.
We all get lazy from time to time. We all get a little burned out with our job and maybe we aren't jumping for joy to go to work some mornings, but that really doesn't matter. Unless you're going to quit your job right then and there, it's still your responsibility to provide good customer service. If you're a bad waiter or waitress, I'm not going to tip you. If I don't do my job, I'm probably not going to get paid. It's all customer service.
Let me leave you with just a few tips on things you should ALWAYS do to make sure you're providing great customer service. They are little things, but could make or break you in the end.
1. BE NICE! I know sometimes it's hard. I know that when you've got Mrs. Battlefield screaming at you that the dress didn't fit or you didn't type the report in the correct font, it's hard. But, be nice anyway. Suck it up and be the bigger person and people will remember that even when they weren't being nice to you, you took the high road and were nice to them. You'll get repeat customers, and they will also feel ashamed of the way they acted, which is a great plus.
2. Return correspondence (emails, phone calls, texts) in a timely manner. It's rough. I wake up some mornings to 50 emails and 10 voicemails. I try to make those things a priority. It takes some time, but I want to take care of those things first because I've been on the other side of that. I've been the one waiting on a response to a very important email I sent or voicemail I left. Sometimes I never get a call back or a reply to an email and let me tell you now, that is NOT okay. If I leave you a voicemail or send you an email about your service and you don't bother to respond, that tells me that if you can't be bothered to respond to me, you are someone I definitely do not want to work with I can already tell for sure that your service will be subpar at best.
3. If you can't provide the service someone is asking you for, do your best to refer them to someone who can. A lot of people don't like to do this. They think it's taking business away from them. But, if you try to perform a service that you really can't do, that's going to show and that's definitely going to take away your business. If you can't do it, send them to someone you trust that can. People remember that kind of thing and they will send business your way. They will also return to you when they need a service you can provide because you were a stand up person and honest with them, and even though you couldn't help them, you got them to someone that could.
These are just 3 small things that should come naturally to everyone that is providing a service, but, unfortunately they don't. There are tons more customer service etiquette tips, but I won't go into all of them here.
I dealt a lot in January with people that were supposed to be providing a service and it was terrible. I encountered some of the worst customer service I've ever experienced. But, we'll talk about that next week. For now just remember:
I (Frankie) am not a big reality TV fan. I've watched a few shows, but usually end up getting frustrated because of too much drama or I find out it's very scripted and pretty fake. But, Scott and I happened on a show this weekend that really made me think about some things.
The show is called The Wheel. If you aren't familiar with the show I'll give you the synopsis from the Discovery Channel website, "THE WHEEL dares six participants to survive in six distinctly grueling landscapes across South America. With every turn of the wheel, each survivalist is dropped into a new isolated location, exposed to the world's deadliest terrains including freezing tundra, rugged mountains and treacherous rainforest. Participants don't know when or why the wheel will turn - nor that their stint at each spot is determined by the rotation of the moon. Equipped only with light survival packs and SOS devices that can be used at any time to quit the challenge and call for help, they must fend for their lives by procuring food, water and shelter. And when the wheel turns again, they will be thrust into a new location, forced to use a completely different set of skills to survive."
I watched 2 episodes and I was hooked. I'll probably find out later it's fake and the camera crew secretly give the participants food and water, but that's not what I like about it. It isn't the survivalist part; it's the giving up part. Each person has an SOS device that they can activate at any time and quit the game. A crew will come immediately to extract them. The trick is the participants don't know when the wheel is going to turn and they will be extracted anyway and given a slight reprieve before being dropped into the next location. So, what if you give up and The Wheel was going to turn that night? How bad would that be?
*Spoiler Alert* (in case you watch the show)
In the first episode one person did give up and The Wheel turned the next day. OH MY GOD! I would have been so pissed at myself. One more night and this person would have been picked up and taken to a new location. These locations aren't next door to each other either so it takes a day or two to get there. You get a little break. You can catch your breath and start over in a different place. I bet the person that quit is still kicking themselves. I would be.
Life is a lot like this show. We want to work from home, start a new business, get fit, etc… We set all these goals and make all these big plans and at the first sign of trouble or the first setback, we give up. We push our SOS button and extract ourselves from the game. I've done it. I know you've done it. And how many times after you quit do you kick yourself because maybe your big breakthrough was right around the corner? Maybe the next day you would have landed that first real work from home job, reached a fitness goal, or FINALLY got your first customer at your new business. How disappointing is that!
So, what do I take away from all of this? Know your limits, but don't give up before you've completely exhausted all your avenues. Your turn of the wheel may be just a few hours away and even if there isn't a huge breakthrough, at least you'll have a few minutes to catch your breath, look at things from a new perspective, and start over in a new place.
I (Andrea) love tech stuff. I’m not typically the person who gets the newest, coolest, most expensive stuff out there. I just upgraded to the iPhone 5s. :) But I can appreciate all the cool gizmos and gadgets out there. There is some pretty cool stuff out there right now, and I’d probably be living in the “House of Tomorrow” if I could afford it.
One item we did pick up this year as a family Christmas gift is the Amazon Echo Dot. Now, this is not a paid advertising for the Dot. This is not a commercial for Amazon (even though, without Amazon, I’d probably curl up into a little ball in the corner and shrivel up). This is about how cool technology is making life better.
If you’re not familiar with the Echo product, it’s basically a voice activated virtual assistant for your home. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. And as a virtual assistant, I know how helpful virtual assistants can be!
I can’t go into everything that Alexa (the name by which you address your Dot) does, but I want to point out some key points for everyone who works from home, or is at home most of the day, or is running around doing a million different things.
The Shopping List - Honestly, this is the BEST feature for me so far. If it did nothing else but the list, I’d be okay with that. If I’m in the kitchen and I use the last of the eggs, I just say Alexa, add eggs to the shopping list. And she does. If I’m in the office (we have three Dots) and run out of printer ink, I say Alexa, add printer ink to the shopping list. (And yes, I could just order things like that from Amazon, but I haven’t gotten that deep into the whole shopping thing just yet!)
When I’m out running errands, I open the Alexa app on my phone and voila, there’s my shopping list. No little slips of paper I wrote stuff down on. No writing out a list only to leave it on the table. But the best part about this is, while I’m out, if my husband or son need something, all they have to do is tell Alexa to add it to the list, and I’ll see it on my phone. No more missed calls or text messages where I hear “why didn’t you pick up any X?”
Music - Sometimes I just want to hear a specific song, or maybe a certain type of music while I’m working or getting the household chores done. Alexa, play me Eight Days a Week by the Beatles. Voila, it plays. And surprisingly well on the Dot speakers, too. Alexa, play me smooth jazz. Ahh, soothing music to wash dishes to. LOL. I know a million devices play music, but I thoroughly enjoy being able to have what I want on demand. (And you can sync up Spotify, I Heart Radio, etc. to play all your saved music, too.)
Ask My Buddy - I haven’t used this yet (luckily), but when I first heard about it, I thought it was a fantastic idea. First, you provide the app (called a Skill) with contact info of family and/or friends. Then. let’s say I’m in the kitchen doing dishes and some water spills on the floor. I take one step the wrong way and slip, fall, and bust my ankle. There I am on the floor, the cat is staring at me, wondering why I’m crying, and my phone is in the other room. All I need to do is say Alexa, ask My Buddy to alert (insert name here). My Buddy then messages/emails/calls that person (or everyone on your list) to say that I’m having a problem, I can’t reach a phone, and maybe you need to check on me. Very. Cool.
Not only is this cool for adults alone a lot, especially seniors, but I think this is great for when you start to leave your children home alone. If there’s a problem and they don’t know everyone’s phone numbers, they can just have the app call family immediately.
Sure, there are still a lot of things the Dot can’t do yet. For example, maybe I don’t feel like yelling up the stairs for the fourteenth time to get my son out of bed. So I tell my Dot to tell his Dot to play an annoying alarm. Or send a message that it’s dinner time and he’s too busy blabbing with his friends online. It doesn’t do that. Yet. I’m waiting, as are many parents.
So, to sum up, I love this stuff. I love my Dot. It’s cool. I can’t wait to smarten my house and eventually put this blog in the Skills. (very cool!!)
I even get to wake up to Alec Baldwin in the morning telling me to get out of bed. LOL
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.