This Week In Business

This Week In Business: The I Have The Power Edition

It’s been an interesting two weeks in the life of my company. The highlight (ok low point but viewed in an optimistic way) was when I took down my own website for about 12 hours last week.

Apparently, I am tech savvy (but I guess in this case, more tech un-afraid) enough to do semi-powerful things, like take my site down. Please note clients reading this: I would never do this kind ofexperimental behavioron your sites.

With a few frantic phone calls and text messages to people smarter than me, all eventually became right in the world. But these two weeks, I feel like not only have I had enough power to do some damage but to actually make some real headway in a few directions. Here’s what else has been going on:

I planned and executed my first solo workshop for Downeast Learning.

My friend Matt and I are on month three of our monthly technology workshops, which we’re branding as Downeast Learning. Matt is on vacation so I thought for the first solo workshop, I’d tackle Facebook for Business. This is a topic I’m pretty comfortable with, or so I thought as I started planning the slides.

It’s funny when you have to teach something how much more about it you have to learn. Those times where you have to do something ‘just good enough’ and think ‘I’ll look it up later’. And it was finally time to try all the ideas I’ve wanted to do on my own Facebook business page, or at the very least think about step by step how I would do them.

Eleven people came and I think most everyone was pretty happy about how things went. I know I had a really fun time doing it. Based on feedback we’ve gotten, the next workshop will either be about Business Blogging or Google Analytics. If you want to sign up for email alerts when we have these sort of events, go to www.downeastlearning.com.

I wrote my second largest proposal.

It’s always interesting to get an RFP from a potential client, especially a larger business or organization. So much potential yet so many ways you can mess it up if you don’t know their bottom line, who is looking at your proposal, or some other detail that could give you a bit of an edge.
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This Week In Business: The Too Much Information Edition

Do you ever ask yourself what you think is an innocent question involving a bit of internet research only to find two weeks later, you know way too much about what doesn’t work and why?

I researched different web conferencing software packages including GoTo Meeting, Teamviewer, WebEx, iLinc, DimDim, and MegaMeeting. (I am only listing them here to make myself feel like I did something during that seemingly wasted work time!)

Besides doing a lot that didn’t work, here’s what happened:

I found Skype (with the Mikogo add-on) was perfect for holding free and productive web conferences.

I was looking for a cost effective (read: free or cheap) way to hold virtual meetings. It began with Skype until I realized that I couldn’t share my screen on a group conference call. After this, I tried all kinds of different web conferencing solutions including the ones that didn’t work above. They were either cost prohibitive ($50 or more per month) or they lacked in an important way (like having a 2.5 second sound delay). + Read More

This Month In Business: Running on Coffee And Enthusiasm Edition

It has been a crazy insane month in my life. I’ve joked that if all this movement was actually running, I could run a marathon by now!

The big theme of the month was diversification. I mean my client base is growing at a steady rate but it’s really important to have a few related streams of income. This way, I’m not counting on one check to come in or one other person to decide to buy my services.

How I’ve been doing this is creating more in-person seminars. I love public speaking and people seem to enjoy my presentations so the question was, how can I make money doing this? How can I help more businesses? Here are a few things I did this past month:

I planned a whole new program to help small businesses learn about the internet.

Hugo Diaz, who is a local web developer in my area who normally works on really high end projects, took a lot of his time to help me develop the Downeast Internet Incubator Program (DIIP). The basic idea is to take business owners through the process of setting up social media and a basic CMS (content management system) website in small groups online which will 1) cut down on costs, 2) allow me to help more people, and 3) get more business owners in my area comfortable with using the internet and help build future capacity for my services.

The kickoff for the program is Saturday afternoon at the Maine Grind. I’m charging $10 for the program orientation because while some of it will be about the program, most of it will be about how to use Skype and DimDim to have remote meetings. I figure whether or not people like the program, they’ll definitely get their $10 worth.

There’s plenty of spots. To register, click here.

I presented at the Deer Isle Stonington Chamber.

Deer Isle-Stonington is a beautiful part of the county I live in and one of my old clients got me a speaking gig with the Chamber. It went well and I even got a client out of it. She says if I do a good job, she’ll tell everyone. Great!

I negotiated regular rent at the Maine Grind.

If I was going to set up regular seminar experiences, I needed a venue. Leslie, the owner of the Maine Grind was my first client ever so I’ve always had a soft spot for her. Even before I started working with her though, I loved her coffee shop with its free Wi-Fi, local art, and an upstairs room with good light (not to mention food and drink on site). + Read More

This Week In Business: Lack Of Sleep Edition

It’s been an interesting week here at Breaking Even Communications and in my life in general.

I’ve had a hard time sleeping, which is uncharacteristic of me. Most of what’s on my mind was thoughts of my grandfather. It was confirmed yesterday that he has liver cancer. He is one of my favorite people in the world, and one of my role models as far as being a good person.

I used to think that there would be times in my life that would be easier and times that would be harder. The older I get though, the more I realize that most times in life will be sort of mixed, and there is importance and even satisfaction in just moving forward. So onward for Pepere, and myself…

Here’s what’s been going on businesswise this week:

Matt and my workshop went really well…and we’re already planning another.

Besides running out of time and not having a good system to answer people’s questions, things went smoothly last Saturday. We have been asked about follow-up workshops, not only by people who came but by people who heard about it.

We decided to use our common website to post information about upcoming workshops and how-tos about the topics we didn’t get to. If you want to check it out: http://www.downeastlearning.com. We’re planning one in May about making websites search engine friendly. Stay tuned!

I gave a talk about blogging at my local library.

Last night, I gave a talk with a fellow local blogger at the Jessup Memorial Library. Four people showed up, which was a lower turnout than I was hoping.

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This Week In Business: Dress Rehearsal Edition

It’s finally spring in this corner of the world, I hope you’ve been enjoying nature equally where you are at!

Matt and I are finally giving our workshop Saturday and in regards to that, it’s been a week of learning software here at Breaking Even Communications. Here’s what’s been going on:

I am trying ManyMoon project management software.
I use Google Applications a lot for my business. (Full disclosure: I own one share of Google one thing I was looking for was integration of project management software with my Google Calendar. It was in looking around that I stumbled on the Google Apps marketplace. This is kind of misleading, as I assumed all these programs would cost money. Au contraire!

I looked for the highest rated project management apps and found Manymoon. There are both paid and non-paid versions of the software (I’m clearly trying out the free one) but it allows me to schedule tasks that I can associate with individual projects and that will be imported into my Google Calendar. Also, I can collaborate with multiple people on the same project, though I think we all need Google accounts to sign in.

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This Week In Business: Distracted By The New Dog Edition

This week’s biggest news has nothing to do with my business bottom line but will effect things from here on out. Last night at about 11 pm, I got a dog.

Gidget is a 30 pound Corgi mix that’ll keep me company while I work, force me to take exercise breaks, and otherwise up my overall quality of life.

Besides getting a dog and probably paying way too much attention to her, here’s what’s been going on this week:

Gidget, the little dog with big ideas.

I talked someone out of spending a lot of with me.

I usually get a few website inquiries a week and I’m lucky if 10% of them turn into actual sales.

When a woman I volunteered with a few years ago contacted me about a website this past week, I would have really loved to have done the work, especially when she said she definitely wanted to hire me (Awww).

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