Monthly Archives: August 2016

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I have two teenagers and the topic of what to be when you grow up has been coming up a lot. Eighteen is very young to decide what career you want to go to college for especially when many people change careers seven times in their lifetime. And I know plenty of adults who are still deciding what they want to be when they grow up!

Even successful entrepreneurs and business people change their minds and start new and different careers. People change as they age. Our priorities change and often our passions change.

I asked my children – If money wasn’t an object what would you want to spend your life doing? I think adults who are struggling to find their place in the workforce should try to answer this same question. What do you love doing so much that you’d do it for free? I’ve asked myself this question over the years and the one thing I’m careful of is knowing what I would love doing in my free time and what I would love doing several hours per week for money. Those can be two different things.

You may absolutely love baking but as soon as you turn baking into a business where you do it for others for money you may end up hating it. You may love to create projects in your shop but as soon as you start doing it for money it becomes a job and becomes less appealing.

The good news is most people know this going into the career. They love what they are doing so much that they don’t get sick of it. They want to provide the service or product to others and they don’t feel that they’ve turned a beloved hobby into a miserable career.

Finding your passion is important but so is what you do with it once you’ve discovered it. Many people focus so much on finding their passion that they don’t know what to do with it once it’s found. Dreamers need implementers and vice-versa. I’ve come across several dreamers in my life that have wonderful ideas but they never actually do anything about them. They don’t draw up a business plan, a marketing plan or a timeline of things that need to be done. Working alone can be very daunting and often people give up before they even start.

Creating something new takes time and patience! Write the patience into your plan. Prepare yourself going into your new venture that it’s going to take time. Set goals for yourself. Are you preparing to have this new life in one year, two years or five years? Many people let the time get to them but here’s the thing – if you start your business today and work hard and know that your goal is to be profitable and living your dream life in a certain number of years, do it! If you think one year, two years or five years is too long and you don’t want to wait so you just don’t start your business here’s what happens – a year or five or ten are going to pass whether you start your business or not! Do you want to be sitting in the same spot you are today a year from now? Just start your new life now and your future self will thank you!

Need help with your new business, new career, new life? Check out this post on whether hiring an in-house assistant or virtual assistant is best.

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in any of the services please check out www.eliteschedulingservices.com or give us a call at 515.309.2838.

 

How to get ahead in business? It’s all about customer service!

In a world of ever changing technology and craziness, consumers crave great customer service. It’s the bedrock of the most successful companies in the world. You may love a brand because it’s visually appealing, practical and convenient but at the end of the day it’s the great customer service that really wins you over. A company could take a seemingly mediocre product and pair it with great customer service and people will love them! I am among many who will pay more for something if it comes with great customer service because my time and headaches are worth something.

Many companies with the best reputations are also favorably regarded for their quality customer service, just as customers of the companies with the worst reputations often report some of the worst customer satisfaction scores.

So how do you offer excellent customer service?

1. Are you the only person in your business? If so, make sure you have enough time to offer excellent customer service. Often times if you are a one person business you run low on time and typically the first thing to suffer is the customer service. You spend all your time chasing new business and not enough time trying to keep the business you have. If you are struggling with time then hire someone to help out – even if it’s just for a few hours each week. You need someone to take things off your plate so you can concentrate on what you like to do best.

2. Do you have employees offering the customer service? Are they doing a great job? Are there issues you need to address? Keep in mind that workplace moral and conditions most likely will affect customer service. Are your employees happy? Have you made a great work environment available to them? Ask yourself these questions and then come up with a plan to improve your customer service.

3. Are your customer service hours posted somewhere? Nobody expects a company to be open 24/7 but it is nice to know when a person can be reached. It’s very frustrating to try to reach someone and never get them on the phone or via email. Consider letting your customers and clients know the best times to reach you and/or your staff.

4. Be helpful! This one sounds super obvious but some people just aren’t cut out for customer service. Some people take everything as a personal attack. We are all only human, things go wrong and at times customers need help. I would think that most people calling customer service are reasonable people and just need help. They aren’t personally attacking you or your brand but if they are – kill them with kindness. Remember, at the end of the day it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy but you need to try hard to make MOST people happy.

5. Review, adjust and incorporate. Review your current customer service plan. Is it working? Is it not working? Make some adjustments to create a new plan and incorporate it. It’s never too late to turn things around. And if you offer excellent customer service already then keep up the great work! Word of mouth referrals come from great customer service.

6. Show your appreciation! Customers and clients love client appreciation events, give-a-ways, appreciation gifts, etc. If you don’t already have this in your marketing plan – consider it! Again, an appreciative customer is excellent word of mouth marketing for your business. There are so many different client appreciation events and promotional marketing items out there the sky’s the limit!

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in any of the services please check out www.eliteschedulingservices.com or give us a call at 515.309.2838.

 

 

 

Fitness & Success: Part Three

This is the final post of my fitness and success series. I think watching the Olympics has really inspired me to up my fitness goals! In post one I wrote about the importance of fitness with success, in post two I wrote about incorporating fitness into your marketing plan and now in post three I write about making a plan, sticking to it and making it fun!

First things first. In order to succeed with your fitness goals you must look at fitness as a priority. Schedule fitness into your life as you would a meeting, doctor’s appointment, hair appointment, etc. If you don’t make it a priority and clear some time on your schedule for it, you won’t do it.

So where do you find the time? There are several options.

  • Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal to work out.
  • Work out for 30 minutes over your lunch hour.
  • Work out right after work.
  • If you must, work out after supper. Just fit it in where you can.

Now that you’ve scheduled your fitness into your calendar decide what works best for you. Are you a walker, a jogger or perhaps a swimmer? Do you prefer the gym, the outdoors or your home? Decide what you’re most likely to stick with and start there. Many people do need a partner. Let’s call them an accountability partner. You know yourself well enough to know whether or not you need pushed. If you need pushed then find a friend, family member or even a Facebook group of people who are holding each other accountable for their fitness goals. They really do work!

Mix it up! You may love walking around your neighborhood now but several months from now you may end up hating it. Choose the activities you love and/or want to try. Maybe you walk on Mondays, bike on Tuesdays, swim on Wednesday, jog on Thursdays, do Pilates on Fridays and treadmill on Saturdays. Try something new like paddle boarding, kayaking, race walking, martial arts or any other physical activity you’ve always wanted to try. Here’s your chance! Or at the very least walk in place in front of your television at home and do squats, lunges, push-ups and crunches on your living room floor.

Make some fitness goals. You could just go about getting some physical fitness in but when you have goals to reach it makes it that much more important. Do you want to lose weight or inches? Do you just want to get stronger? Do you need to put on a few pounds? Whatever it may be start jotting down some fitness goals and put those in your calendar as well. You will feel so good about yourself when you reach your goals and the benefits of being physically fit will pour into all facets of your life.

If you notice many of the things I’ve suggested regarding fitness pertain to starting a business, running a business, having a success career, etc. It’s all about priorities, organization, motivation and follow through. You can truly become whatever you want to become – the choice is yours!

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in any of the services please check out www.eliteschedulingservices.com or give us a call at 515.309.2838.

 

Fitness & Success: Part Two

If you read my last post, Fitness & Success: Part One, you are aware of how fitness can impact you and your business. This week I wanted to share with you how you can incorporate fitness into your business plan!

Use fitness in your marketing

Help the cause and implement physical fitness into your branding. There are fantastic and creative ways to get yourself, your employees, and your clients and prospective clients excited about physical fitness.

  1. For low impact exercise, hire a golf-pro to come give golf lessons to your top clients or at a client appreciation event.
  2. For higher impact exercise, create a runners club for your clients and invite them to bring a friend.
  3. If you don’t want to do a runners club, organize a 5K or 10k event.
  4. Take your clients to a rock climbing activity center and spend the day climbing the walls.
  5. Organize a kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding event.
  6. If dancing is your thing, organize some group dancing lessons.
  7. You could always have someone give yoga or Pilates lessons.

With the ideas above you can come up with some great marketing messages depending on your profession and branding. Check out the examples below.

Marketing Example: Our services are rock solid! Join us for a day of rock climbing at ABC Rock Climbing Center. When your clients and their guests arrive you could give each of them a fun item like a fitness tracker, a water bottle or a sports towel.

Marketing Example: Paddle into the future with us! We’d like to invite you to a paddle boarding event at XYZ. A fun gift for each would be a small duffle bag, pedometer or a waterproof mobile phone pouch.

Marketing Example: We will always go the distance for you! You are invited to join us at our annual 5k event! Hand out performance t-shirts, sweatbands or water bottles.

You can get really creative with these ideas and with more people looking for ways to stay physically fit why not give them a reason to get active and have some fun doing it! By promoting physical fitness you are promoting a positive message along with your business – it’s a great way to catch a person’s eye!

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you are interested in any of the services, please check out www.eliteschedulingservices.com or give us a call at 515.309.2838.