social media

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!

don’t approach other vendors like this…

When starting out with your new business, there is a never ending stream of questions that have to be answered. Believe me, it doesn’t get easier as you move forward.

I’m sure that anyone who has been in business for more than a few years has received an email simliar to this one (please take a moment to read):

Um, where do I begin with this.

I suppose the planner that received this “inquisition” should be grateful that she was NOT contacted by a local aspiring wedding planner. While it was suppose to be “general ideas”, I counted 15 specific questions.

Receiving an email like this is similar to someone walking into your home, seeing your children and saying, “My gosh your children are so beautiful. Do you mind if I take one of them?”. Building a business and growing one is very similar and personal to raising a child.

What deeply concerns me is when I see new business people acting lazy and not putting any effort into learning the art of starting a business for themselves. Would you contact people that you have never met before and ask for money? The earned business knowledge and the time it would take to truly answer all these questions, is worth a dollar figure. I get it. This industry looks so easy and glamorous. Everyone wants to be a photographer, planner, baker, DJ, etc.

TEACHING MOMENT: A better approach would be to FIRST try to build a relationship with another business person that you respect and may have more experience than you. Let this relationship grow organically till you both have trust. THEN you can ask a few questions and MUTUALLY share information and ideas. You must have something to share with others, even if you are new to the industry.

There really is no excuse to send out emails like this. You have so much opportunity at your finger tips! Facebook, Twitter, online groups, conferences, workshops and more! So it is simply ridiculous not to take advantage of these opportunities. But you need to work for it!

I’ve asked for help and have shared information (just yesterday morning I sent a copy of my corporate agreement to another planner who I have not met in person, but have forged a relationship online for several years. We’ve even exchanged Christmas cards last year). My BFF, Jennifer Ramirez-Jasiczek who lives in Texas, shared a lot of her information when we “first met” online 9 years ago. But trust me, we first built a relationship. It’s an investment worth having.

Emails like this, however, will close the door. Forever.

Your thoughts or experiences with this? 

ps It also sucks to ask for comprehensive notes from another vendor who invested in attending an expensive conference. They shell out the $3k and you ask them for all their information. What are you giving in return?

pss Thanks to Elisa Delgardio with A Flair for Affairs for sharing this email with us.

happy selling!

uses for facebook

generic facebook

Facebook.com is an enigma. Some people get it, some people don’t. Even after all these years.

Personally, I have found it to be a wonderful tool reconnecting with long lost friends, college pals, my third grade teacher, wedding professionals, my son’s friends, local business people and more.

For my event planning business, we of course, have business fan page. Which takes more effort to add content, but it’s a good marketing medium to be all business, event photos and showcase my clients.

However, I will tell you that I personally “friend” my clients to my personal page. This works well for me. Wedding planning is a personal business. We are let into their inner family circle with all the joys and problems that may arise. Why wouldn’t I let my clients into mine?

For instance, it’s great at a consult for them to ask about my dog (Ranger Hadley) or my son. And if I post, I’m “off the grid for family time”, my clients tend to respect it and appreciate the fact I’m making time with my family. It’s personal. Transparent. Emotionally connecting.

For sales purposes, I look up potential clients on Facebook … it lets me see what they look like and see if they know some of the same people as I do.

Be careful; you can’t fib. You can’t make an excuse to a client that you had to cancel a business meeting and then you are FB posting from the bar.

Okay, so …. some people post too much information. Rest assured, while I am “myself” (always) on FB or any other social media, I do NOT post every movement I make. That’s what twitter is for, no? HA!

While I have friends on my Facebook, make no mistake that everything I do for social media has a “business-related” mindset. To be more direct: I don’t show my ass in public.

Which brings me to what Facebook should NOT BE USED for.

  • Blabbing super personal information out for everyone to see. Okay, you went the doctor. I don’t want to hear about your yeast infection.
  • Vomiting all your deep, dark problems. Why do wedding professionals want to discuss openly about their relationship problems?
  • Attacking others. Ah, the Internets makes everyone feel 10 feet tall, no? As a professional, perhaps you should pick up the phone if you have something to say to someone. Calling people out reflects poorly on you. And will get you labeled as bat sh!t crazy.
  • Not necessarily bad, but a couple of personal pet peeves:
    • Quit asking everyone and their mother to fan your business page. People who WANT to fan your page, will FAN your damn page.
    • Please use discernment when inviting all 700+ people to your luncheon that is located in Timbuktu. Take an extra second, and focus your invite list to your local demographic. Repeat offenders will get you unfriended.

Thanks for listening. Let’s remember out their in social media … the stuff you post, would you say it out loud to someone’s face if they were standing in front of you? If so, carry ‘on.

ps Anyone else want to vent about an personal pet peeves?

happy selling!

 

business tips from Charlie Sheen…

 

You should all know that Charlie Sheen is my new homeboy. Ok, I know that some of you are thinking:

“Saundra, have you lost your mind?”

“I’m so sick of seeing this guy on TV.”

“Poor Charlie, I feel sorry for him and his addiction. How can you make fun of him?”

I’ll address each one of those points. 1. No, I have not lost my mind, in fact I have learned a great deal from Charlie as you will see below. 2. I understand. But it has increased my mood tremendously as the gas prices skyrocket and the Middle East is collapsing. 3. I do not feel sorry for Charlie, one bit. His over-privileged and indulgent lifestyle has led him to having only one-brain cell left. He is loving this attention and he shall have it. I only feel sorry for: his kids and the people on the TV show who are now unemployed.

Now, there is always an opportunity to learn. Right?

This is what Charlie Sheen has taught me:

  1. You really aren’t a rockstar. It’s great to be pumped up and feel good about yourself. And we all have some rockstar moments. But let’s keep things real and remind yourself that you are not the most important person in the room. Or in the world.
  2. Relationships are everything. Charlie believes that we (everyone in the world BUT him) cannot “process him with a normal brain”. When running your own business you definitely need help. And of course the ability for other people to “understand you” is a plus as well. Charlie is all alone. He’s ostracized his team (cast members and production team of Two and a Half Men), his publicist quit, who knows how his personal relationship is with family or his ex-wives. Well, he does have the “two goddesses” that live with him, but when the cocaine dries up so will they. Back to the point: you know it takes a team of professionals to pull off a great event and peers to help you when you need it.
  3. Incoherent blabbering is not sellable. Really Charlie, you should have listened to my advice and embraced more silence during your interview. From what I can tell, he babbled like a brook and said nothing of real substance. Don’t do that with your clients or at sales consults.
  4. Airing your dirty laundry doesn’t make  you “real”, in many cases, it proves you are crazy. Hmph. Don’t need to add much here. Although a few Facebook statuses that I recently read from other vendors do come to mind….
  5. Perception becomes reality. If Charlie ever pulls through this, can any of us look at him again (in movies or on TV) without thinking of this interview and crazy lifestyle? It was okay when it was “just reported” that he was wrecking a hotel room on drugs and hookers. But now, to have him blatantly in our faces exposing himself with all kinds of crazy … it is permanently etched into my brain. (Again, thanks Charlie for the smiles.) So I ask you… have you acted crazy in your professional life? YELLED at other vendors instead of managing the conflict? Acted overly dramatic towards a situation? Managed a situation poorly? Everyone that saw you do this…. it’s etched in their brains forever as well.
  6. Don’t envy those that are at the TOP of their game. And Charlie was at the top! “Most highly paid actor and top-rated sitcom in the country.” People dream of having an opportunity for that type of fame and money. But when you aren’t grounded inside, when you don’t have the attitude and love for yourself… it can quickly fall. Don’t be envious of other peer professionals that are doing well or who are on an industry TV show or received exposure in print media. You never know what is going on with them behind closed doors. Just sayin’.

Charlie Sheen, you are special. And I hope that you will especially get some help. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Happy Selling!

let’s do some business via facebook…

Most of you are already on it, so to speak, with Facebook. Photographers really took that particular Social Media platform by storm showing off their clients photos. I’ve spoke with countless photogs that continue to sing the praises of Facebook and the fact that it drives a lot of traffic to their business.

Recently I read that 75% of brides are on FB (sorry, I can’t source, I was reading in the middle of the night off my iPad). That is an outstanding number.

The trick is to use it correctly, but make sure it works for you.

Facebook has changed the look of their Fan Pages. Again (insert: rolling eyes). But one of the great things about these new changes, in my humble opinion is this:

  1. Fan Page Notifications: I can now receive an email when someone leaves a comment. It’s hard to keep up with everything so I’m really glad that now I can get an email when someone leaves a comment on my business page. You need to respond or at least acknowledge. It’s necessary to use Social Media for business, I wrote more about it here.
  2. Brand Awareness: Now I can sign in as my Fan Page (Company Name) and make comments or “like” around FB. Praise the Lord, sing out loud! Fabulous! Because sometimes my comments should be from my business and not my personal account (although, they cross over all the time). That is a branding opportunity!

Looks like we may have to find an extra ten minutes a day to do some Social Media Branding on Facebook.

ps Would love it if you would fan me. I don’t ask often and I’m kinda behind…. http://www.facebook.com/getrealsalescoach

Happy Selling!

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