Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Before You Go Holiday Shopping...

Let's see...you went to Trader Joe's recently, saw an abundance of pumpkin products and realized
the holidays were near, right?  Even though it's only mid-September, the retailers are looking to hook us working folk in with their food, gadgets, and anything else for that WOW appeal (like the holiday hybrid tree above).  And that's your cue to fire up that credit card...or NOT.

Maybe you had a good freelancing year and still gushing at the offers you probably received from referrals and project extensions.  If this wasn't a great freelancing year and your plastic outnumbers cash in terms of dollar amounts, why not splurge?  Either way, don't give in before speaking to a professional that can help manage credit issues.

In our business, the safe spots are few and far between.  It doesn't help to just have a cushion or mad money account stashed in a sock.  The days between clients, product management, advertising and promotions (and let's not forget rest) can merge together as a single 480 (as in 24 hours times 20 days) -hour blur.  By the time you come out of it and decide it's time to chill with a stack of homemade pancakes, your social media account is calling.

Even if you don't have money problems today, sometimes getting comfortable with existing debt can be a nuisance.  College loans are probably at the top of the list but finding out where a person really stands can make a difference in how they pay bills every month. I'm not saying try to get around your financial obligations but apply your good fortune to your future...and not something likely to be re-gifted!

Also, think about whether you really need to BUY everyone a gift this holiday. If you're not a DIY person, try something simple.  Like when you're visiting someone, bring a couple of bottles of flavored apple cider or French lemonade instead of wine.  Baking cookies and placing inside a decorative tin or casing is easier than dealing with holiday traffic.  A collection of your poems printed on heavy colores cardstock will resonate with the right person.

The possibilities are endless so it can't hurt to plan for something other than a strategy for navigating mall crowds.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Low-Cost Startup Opportunity that's Stood the Test of Time

You're probably like me where you drop into the exercise thing at least once a week. It's not that you don't want to do more but you can't.  There are a lot of women in the same situation but one common complaint that many people have is there aren't enough options.  Between the purple place that costs nothing but remains crowded (except between the hours of 2:43 AM and 5:21 AM) and others where the environment is less than friendly - one exercise program continues to dominate.  And get this, it's now 50 years old.

Yup, Jazzercise is still going strong and women (along with some men) find the high energy environment hard to part with.  For those unfamiliar, this was the first exercise program that used upbeat music to get the crowds going.  While Richard Simmons may be considered a pioneer of making exercise hella fun, Judi Sheppard Missett deserves some of the credit for breaking ground in an industry that was mostly ruled by men.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Being Your Own Reputation Manager

You've probably heard those radio commercials where they talk about how negative online reviews can damage your small business.  The voice and tone sound pretty intimidating but using these services isn't a must.  In fact, I don't hear these radio ads as often as I used to.  However, there are some freelancers that feel the need to spend their hard-earned revenue on something they can fix themselves.

No one ever wants to read anything bad about their business or work they put into servicing a client.  Whether it's through another person, review site, or testimonial left on an outsourcing profile that others are sure to read.  Companies like Yelp make it where businesses cannot alter or change reviews but this can actually be a good thing because you can manage reviews to work in your favor.

Reputation management comes in many forms and whatever a person chooses to do, the key is to do it quickly.  Offering a discount or comped item, apologizing, or requesting a direct message all have positives and negatives, depending on the factors.  Yet, this is also assuming the client really had a bad experience.

Yep...there are haters.  People you went to school with that have nothing going for them.  Former co-workers (or worse, the boss), someone looking for an insurance payout, or a simply miserable individual who just needs a hug.

Whatever the case, investigating early has its advantages.  The complainer should have the details fresh in their head when confronted and if possible, they can be coerced into deleting or changing the original review.  One word to the wise is to never be on the defensive or accusatory when reaching out.