office

why i have email on my phone

My good friend, Michelle Loretta wrote a blog post on Why I Took Email Off My Phone on her fabulous business blog, Sage Wedding Pro’s. Let me warn you, that while I believe Michelle is brilliant in many, many things … she’s a little crazy. Like this blog post for example.

Fundamentally, I understand what she is saying. I’m a social media junkie. But even I get a little tired. I have backed off a little this summer (my stupid Klout score reflects that). We need to take time to read a paper book (*gasp*), take a walk, clear our minds, etc. And I totally agree.

However, this is why I disagree with her.

The main reason I work for myself is the ability to be remote and work. This was my goal from the very beginning. I have a beautiful studio (newly painted), but I also work at our summer camp (where my view is a flowing river), at a coffee shop, waiting to get my tires fixed, etc. I love it. I’ve done the corporate cubicle thing which included outside sales (whoopee, stuck in a car). It’s not how I pump out my best work.

And this is WHY I pay a data plan with an iPhone (before a Blackberry) to be able to respond to necessary emails during work hours. My clients do not need to know that I’m not sitting behind my desk in my studio. All their files our on my Dropbox and easily accessed.

I must disgress, notice I said “work hours”. You MUST set and adhere to work hours when you work from home/remote. Trust me, if you don’t you will become a slave and lose your mind. Ours is 9am-6pm, Tuesday – Friday. I recently started setting the “vacation responder” to let clients or potential new clients (you know they always seem to email inquiries around 2am on a Saturday) know that if they email us Saturday-Monday, we are not in the office.

Of course, I will sometimes still work during off hours. It’s my choice. If I drive my mom around for doctor’s appointments all Tuesday morning, then I may need to catch up on work from 3-8pm. This is the glory and hallaleiugh of being self-employed and remote. Note: I save my return emails to be sent out during our business working hours.

Back to Michelle’s post; her point was not to be checking emails all the time. Totally agree. Instead of turning her email function “off” on her iPhone I suggest something else.

First I have like a dozen freaking email accounts and they all come in to my iPhone via Google Gmail. So on a weekend, I want to see my personal email, it’s like a phone call from a friend except with a lot of stupid spam. BUT, you can actually choose which emails show up on your iPhone when you first open your Mail button.

Take a look at mine:

 

My gmail accounts are all personal. I can click on Accounts/Gmail accounts/Inbox and that is all I see when I click the heavenly blue Mail button. This is opposed to selecting All Inboxes.

So when I’m on vacation or extended period of time and want to catch up on things, I can choose just to see incoming emails from my personal emails. Cool, huh?

One more thing, cause my twitter friends were calling me out as we discussed and debated this subject. I have insomnia sometimes. Sucks. I sleep four hours, wake up for several and go back to sleep for two more. So in the middle of the night (although experts tell you not to), I will read my Facebook or Twitter. Something social and light. I’ll read a blog. It makes me tired. I do not check my email. How is this possible? I just don’t do it. I have learned that getting an email in the middle of the night will make your brain start overworking thinking and sleepy time will never come again.

Shutting off email on my phone would mean that I would miss out. Just yesterday I was sitting in the chair getting my hair done at 10:30am, I purposely checked my email hoping to hear back from a potential new client that was checking our references. The email came through, it was nice to know that I just sold a full service wedding for 2013. Of course, I could have received a bad email; but that’s just the yin and yang of it all.

Now if I had small children again, I might have a different viewpoint. Mine is a permit-driving, sixteen year old which is balking as to why HE doesn’t have a smart phone. I told him to get a job.

What are you thoughts? Where do you stand on this issue? Is Michelle right? Are you addicted? Do I have a point?

ps Don’t forget to put your real email signature on your smart phone so you don’t “look” remote to your clients.

happy email checking!

On the Second Day of Selling…

On the Second Day of Selling my sales coach gave to me…

CLARITY

Now you have cleaned your crazy office, you can now start to the real process getting prepared to sell.

First, you want to review the past. Take this time to review where your leads have come in the past 12 months. You will be able to prioritize and make a plan based on this information. For instance, I’m sure that advertising reps will be contacting you hot and heavy with the new year approaching. Now you will be able to make better informed decisions.

You’ll also review your procedures of what you do when a sales lead comes to you. This is the time where you really analyze what worked and what didn’t. You’ll want to take a good look at your closing rate. What sales did not close? Was there a common thread? Perhaps you didn’t prequalify enough and wasted your time. What worked really well and determine what didn’t work.

Take time to think about where you want your business to go. It’s hard to see past the trees sometimes.

Happy Selling!

photo: flickr twentyeight

Reader Question: “Where to Meet for Sales Consults”

Q. How would you go about meeting clients if you don’t have access to office space? Meet for lunch somewhere maybe?

A. Let me preface by saying there is NOTHING shameful or wrong about having a home office. It’s energy efficient and widely accepted. So don’t make excuses for it and no on will have a question. However, having client meetings does become a challenge. Personally I do not like have a strangers up in my home.  So here are a few ideas:

  1. Talk to local caterers that may work out of a restaurant. Some of them have a small meeting rooms they use to reserve for business meetings during lunch hour. See if you can talk them into you using it for free and you can buy refreshments for your clients.
  2. Certainly coffee houses are very popular. Choose one that has space to meet and isn’t always jam-packed full of people (thank you Starbucks for never being empty). Don’t forget about local owned coffee businesses, not just the big chains.
  3. Are there any professional offices out there that rent just meeting rooms? Find out! It may be very cost effective.
  4. Talk to other vendors and/or businesses. Some may have large spaces that would have no problem you paying them for a meeting space (per meeting) or better for free.
  5. Upper class hotel lobbies sometimes can offer you a great area.
  6. Have they already selected their venue? Why not call and see if you can meet there! You are RIGHT in the space you’ll be working in.

What ever location you choose, make sure you can have privacy. You don’t want to be discussing someone else’s budget where someone else can overhear. And you want to have their focus and attention.

I never, EVER meet at a first sales consult during lunch at a restaurant. NEVER. If that is the only time they are available, I do not eat. I make an excuse or something. It’s just weird to me to try to talk and worry about food and plates, etc. I want to be on the top of my game and all of that ends up being a huge distraction, to ME! After they are my client … we can eat and drink anytime.

Personally, I also do not like meeting a libraries or other public, government venues. It does not reflect my brand, therefore it’s not on the list. Be sure you keep that in mind, especially if you are trying to sell “luxury” services in a boring, sterile environment. Doesn’t add up!

Happy Selling!

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