Tag Archives: Nerium

Cutting grass

Cutting grass is a weekend task for me. I am busy during the week so tackling the task at the weekend works well. However, now that I’m back in school, cutting grass now has to battle textbook reading and research for my precious weekend hours. A week ago I needed to concentrate on a particularly complicated paper so pushed the glass cutting task to Monday evening. Given that I live in Arizona, it was hot outside as I got started even as the sun went down.

Weekend grass cutting is a very different experience to Monday evening grass cutting, and I met more of my neighbors. I also met a young business representative, who was taking a very unusual approach to promoting his business opportunity. Wearing a polo shirt with the company’s logo (a well-known satellite provider) and carrying a clipboard with some company promotional information, he was simply walking through the neighborhood looking to talk with anyone that was out and about.

It was a different approach, and complemented nicely the junk mail that the company had been mailing for weeks. We talked briefly (after he walked past twice, and complemented my grass cutting efforts both times, I figured he was doing compliance for the Home Owner Association or something) and he made the comment that he hadn’t solicited me because he respected that I was busy. I thought that was cool; I have no interest in switching to satellite television (I don’t watch that much television to begin with) but if I had been considering it his approach would have engaged me to talk with him more. By not pushing his business he created an environment that encouraged questions about his business. Novel approach huh.

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Survey questions

I admit it, I enjoy completing online surveys (yeah I’m probably a nerd or lonesome or something). It’s always fun seeing how different companies ask questions and seeing how many times my situation isn’t addressed in the potential answers section. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t engage with random surveys that appear in my inbox, but if the survey is related to a recent experience with a business and I feel that I have an opinion (either positive or negative) then I will usually complete the survey.

So what drove this blog post? I just completed a survey related to an engagement with a customer service representative from my credit card and one of the last survey questions caught my attention. It asked something along the lines of “Would you recommend [the company name] to your family and friends?”

Did you notice the huge miss in that question? Hint: Replace the word “Would” at the start of the sentence with either “Do” or “Did” and see what happens to the question. Now think about how I (and many other people before me) might have answered the original question; answers such as “maybe”, “definitely” etc. were the possible answer options.

Replace the word “Would” at the start of the sentence with either “Do” or “Did” and then think about the answer selection that I (and many other people before me) might have chosen in that instance. Notice the difference in the data that you are gathering – “would” yields data that tells you what might potentially happen sometime in the future (or not, as the case may be) whereas “Do” and “Did” yield data that tell you what is or has happened in the environment.

The point of the exercise: you might be asking questions and getting answers but is the data telling you want is actually happening in the environment? Try changing your questions and see how the data changes.


Are you backed up?

You run your small business on your Smartphone, laptop computer, tablet and/or a myriad of other electronic devices. As a result, you are generating a lot of data. Are you backing it all up on a regular basis?

 

Losing your data
Losing your data is a situation that you never want to experience. Personal records, customer records, tax records, passwords, emails, important documents, training content, electronic certificates, bank statements are examples of the types of electronic materials that you and your business generate. All it takes is an irreparable hard drive crash or an accidental hard drive reformat (which a friend of mine did once) and all that accumulated data is history. Given the many different ways that you can back up your data securely there is no reason not to do so.

 

USB Flash Drive
A USB Flash Drive is my favorite method to back up my business data for several reasons. For one thing, they are relatively inexpensive; I purchased a 16GB USB Flash Drive recently for under $15. A possible strategy is to purchase several drives and designate them for different types of data; one for content that rarely changes (such as your company’s mission and vision statements perhaps), a second for training content or other materials that may need to be updated only a couple of times a year, and several for the different types of data that you use and update in a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. USB Flash Drives are highly portable and small so they don’t consume much space and the more expensive versions include data protection and password-controlled access.

 

External hard drive
An external hard drive is a more common data backup device and, just like USB Flash Drive, are available in a range of size capacities, styles, and colors. A quick check of a major electronics chain showed external hard drives up to 3TB (terabyte) for under $200. With that amount of available storage space you can keep several date-specific versions of your data to protect yourself from data corruption or accidental deletion of a needed file. Many external hard drives feature a USB cord, so coupled with a USB hub you could connect the drive to your network and allow all of your employees to access the data as needed.

 

Cloud-based storage
Cloud-based storage is a viable option if you need a data backup solution that works in the background and your budget supports the related expenses. Your data is stored in ‘the cloud” and you typically access it through a software interface that allows you see and interact with the data without knowing where in the world the data is physically stored. One of the attractive features of this style of backup is that you typically set the backup schedule once; the software manages the data backup process going forward until and unless you change it. And because your data is stored in the cloud you can theoretically access it from anywhere, so you are not limited to having to connect to a physical storage device in order to retrieve a backup file.

 

Magnetic tape
Magnetic tape, as a backup method, went the way of cassette tapes, vinyl records and dial-up Internet. At least that’s what most people think but I read a business article recently that discussed how magnetic tape storage is still utilized in many businesses as a data backup method. Who knew!

What is your data storage backup method? Comment below and let me know.

 

ABOUT ME
I’m an Independent Brand Partner of Nerium™ International, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Secure security questions

In addition to setting a strong password, the account creation process often requires you to set security questions. If you forget your password and need the system to retrieve it, or allow you to reset it, you will be asked these questions to verify that you are who you say you are. While a great idea, and a valued additional level of security, you should set answers to these security questions that are not easily guessed by others.

 

Generating answers to security questions
A typical security question is “What is your favorite color?” Unfortunately, many people may know what your favorite color is, diluting the effectiveness of this security question. “On what street is your workplace located?” is also a common security question, and again easily answered by a myriad of people, including anyone in possession of your business card. So how do you answer security questions with answers that are not so easily determined?

The answer to that question is to get innovative. For example, if your favorite color is black, you could set the answer with the letters typed in reverse (i.e. kcalb), answer with your least favorite color instead, or enter a complete sentence as your answer like “My favorite color is black”. Obviously you will need to remember the answer that you set for the security question in case you encounter it at a later time, but at least the answer should help thwart all but the most determined password hacker.

How do you answer security questions like “What is your favorite airline?”. For this one, you could answer with a favorite airline that is now bankrupt or perhaps enter a foreign airline that you admire. Another option is to use the nickname or derogatory reference that you typically use for a particular airline, such as “The Worst Airline Ever” or “Flying Cattle Mart” for example. Or make up a fictitious airline name, so that someone attempting to hack your account would not be able to answer the security question correctly.

 

Set your own security questions
A third option is to enter your own security questions; increasingly more and more sites are using this format. Create security questions that are unique to you and allude to information that very few people would know about you. The more personal you create security question and answer combinations the harder it will be for a casual hacker to compromise your account.

What has been your experience with security questions on your accounts? What was the worst security question you ever encountered? Comment below and let me know.

 

A LITTLE ABOUT ME
I’m a Nerium™ Independent Brand Partner, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Automate everything

Running a side business takes a times and effort, but you can get some of that time back if you automate as much as possible.

 

Why automate?
I have a coworker at my fulltime job whose mantra is “automate everything”. His philosophy is that if you are performing a repetitive task on any kind of schedule then you are wasting time because repetitive tasks, by their very nature, are prime candidates for automation. Even if the tasks are performed only once a month, they still require that the same steps are performed each time, so why not automate them. You can then initiate the task sequences at the appropriate time and move on to perform other tasks. The logical answer to the question “why automate?” would seem to be “why wouldn’t you?”

 

What can you automate?
If you own a side business like me, or run a small business that has maybe 1 or 2 employees, then the amount of tasks that you can automate successfully is likely limited. But there are still many opportunities to apply the concept and reclaim some time and productivity.

An obvious and easy method is leveraging the many features of your smart phone. For example, I use the calendar on my smart phone for many different types of reminders, such as Nerium™ weekly meetings, monthly tax returns both for the City of Chandler and the State of Arizona, follow-ups with prospects, etc. Why try to remember all of those items and their respective times and requirements when you can enter all of that data into a calendar reminder once and then set the recurrence schedule for each item? For 2013, I committed to writing a daily blog post so I added a reminder for same to my smart phone calendar and having that reminder pop up at the same time each day has helped me stay on track with my posting commitment.

As one’s contact list grows, it can become tough to remember who’s who, so I enter a hint as part of the person’s name within my smart phone Contacts, for example Joe Blogs (Nerium) or Jane Doe (prospect). When that individual calls and I see Joe Blogs (Nerium) or Jane Doe (prospect) pop up as the caller’s name, I know what my connection is with the caller and I can answer the phone better prepared. I also have a Known Telemarketer item in my contacts list that is full of telemarketer’s phone numbers that I have garnered. It’s amazing how more productive (and less frustrated) you are when you don’t have to answer the phone and listen to some recorded message promoting some get-rich-quick scheme.

 

Software automation
If you use Microsoft® Excel® or similar spreadsheet software application then you should be leveraging macros to automate repetitive keystrokes that you perform within your spreadsheets. Just like dragging a cell or cell selection to populate a column or row quickly, macros can help you get your spreadsheet work done faster. If you have never used a macro before, read through the relevant section of the help content that is embedded in your spreadsheet software to learn more. Microsoft® Word® also supports macros, as do other software packages.

 

Social media automation
As small business owners, we need to leverage the power of social media just as much as Fortune 500 companies, but staying on top of Facebook, Twitter etc. is practically a full time job in itself (and actually is at many Fortune 500 companies). Luckily, automation tools already exist that you can utilize. For example, WordPress allows you to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that immediately you post a new blog entry on WordPress it will automatically post a Facebook status update about your post and send a tweet. Before I noticed that function I was posting the status updates and tweets myself; now it happens automatically. Many other social media sites offer similar integration.

How have you introduced automation techniques into your small business to limit repetitive tasks and manage your productivity? Comment below and let me know.

 

ABOUT ME
I’m an Independent Brand Partner of Nerium™ International, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Need a break? Walk a dog!

Need a break in your busy day, or just need a different perspective every now and then? If you answered yes, then you should walk a dog.

Not just for exercise
With two young (3 years old and 2 ½ years old) and energetic dogs in my house, I initially saw our nightly walks as a distraction to my evening activities. I had email to read and reply to, new email to compose, product ads to post, a website to maintain, phone calls to make etc. and having to switch gears and strap on leashes , grab a supply of poop bags, my cell phone, and then get dragged out the door with two excited dogs. It may be needed exercise for them but it was a nightly chore for me. Until I started noticing that the benefits of the nightly activity was not just for exercise.

A dog’s take on a walk
Both dogs have very different opinions when it comes to walks. My dog Sandy sees it as a social activity. She likes to stroll along checking out the different scents that she encounters. When she detects one that interests her, she likes to backtrack and investigate it a little more, regardless if the pursuit of the scent drags her dad through bushes or deep into someone’s lawn. My roommate’s dog Max, on the other hand, tends to be very focused on the walking activity. Other than stopping to urinate at his usual spots he is all about getting exercise. His sister’s start-and-stop walking style clearly annoys him but occasionally he will join her and attempt to assist with her scent investigation.

Other dogs must be barked at, regardless of whether they are also out exercising with their pet parents or barking behind a secured fence or wall. Cats must be chased at all costs. Standing pools of water must be walked in. Any dog-less human encountered on a walk must be treated with suspicion; barking at such humans is always an appropriate reaction.

Second layer of canine activities
A second layer of canine activities happens on a walk. It’s fascinating to walk both dogs interact together as they jostle for the prime sniffing spot. Sometimes one yields to the other and other times the winner does so purely by brute force. On occasion they work together to attempt to trip their pet parent or tangle the leashes at the very least. Their continuous body language speaks volumes and it is fun to watch how they communicate with each other, and to me, as the walk progresses.

Brain downtime
During these walks I get some exercise, fresh air (at least as fresh as one can get while walking in a suburb), and some welcome brain downtime, and I return to my laptop refreshed and energized to continue working. For their part, the two dogs drink some water and then settle down for a nap; apparently dragging the human out of the house and around the neighborhood is tough work.

What is your experience with walking one more dogs simultaneously? Comment below and let me know.

ABOUT ME
I’m an Independent Brand Partner of Nerium™ International, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


Want to save $1378?

Want to save $1378? I saw a status post, and subsequent conversation, on Facebook recently regarding how to save $1378 effortlessly in a year. I’m currently following the system and decided that the technique was worth sharing within this blog. Talk about The Slight Edge in action!

 

52 ways to save, 52 weeks a year
As you know, there are 52 weeks in a year, and this system leverages that fact, making  it deceptively easy to stay on track for an entire year and reaping the $1378 in the final week of the year. Imagine ringing in the New Year with $1378 at your disposal. Deposit the money in a high interest bearing account as you work through the system and you’ll have even more money because of the wonderful effect of compound interest.

 

It all starts with $1
The system starts on week #1 of the year with $1. Deposit the $1 in a checking or savings account (I recommend a high interest bearing account) or place it in a jar, stuff under your mattress or wherever else you prefer to store cash. At the end of week #1, you will have $1 saved.

The next week is week #2, so you will add $2 to the solitary $1 that you saved in week 1. By the end of week #2 you will have exactly $3 (i.e. $1 + $2). For the purposes of this explanation we will avoid trying to complicate the math with sample interest calculations or account for you “borrowing” from the growing cash stash.

The next week is week #3, so you will now add $3 to the account/jar/etc. By the end of week #3 you will have exactly $6 (i.e. $1 + $2 + $3).

 

Slow and steady
By the end of week #3 you will likely be disillusioned and ready to give up on the system because it will feel like you are light years from the $1378 goal but fight this natural tendency because things are about to start getting interesting! Just like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will make you a winner.

 

Week #4
The next week is week #4, so you will add $4 to the cash stash so by the end of this week you will have $10 (i.e. $1 + $2 + $3 + $4). At this point you have completed an entire month on the system, the financial impact to you has been negligible and you have $10 saved. Only $1368 to go!

By now you understand how the system works, so let’s extrapolate the numbers for the full year:

Week #

$ deposit

Balance

1

$1

$1

2

$2

$3

3

$3

$6

4

$4

$10

5

$5

$15

6

$6

$21

7

$7

$28

8

$8

$36

9

$9

$45

10

$10

$55

11

$11

$66

12

$12

$78

13

$13

$91

14

$14

$105

15

$15

$120

16

$16

$136

17

$17

$153

18

$18

$171

19

$19

$190

20

$20

$210

21

$21

$231

22

$22

$253

23

$23

$276

24

$24

$300

25

$25

$325

26

$26

$351

27

$27

$378

28

$28

$406

29

$29

$435

30

$30

$465

31

$31

$496

32

$32

$528

33

$33

$561

34

$34

$595

35

$35

$630

36

$36

$666

37

$37

$703

38

$38

$741

39

$39

$780

40

$40

$820

41

$41

$861

42

$42

$903

43

$43

$946

44

$44

$990

45

$45

$1035

46

$46

$1081

47

$47

$1128

48

$48

$1176

49

$49

$1225

50

$50

$1275

51

$51

$1326

52

$52

$1378

 

52 weeks of saving
As you can see, by the of week # 52, you will have saved a grand total of $1378 simply and effortlessly. And because you start on week # 1 with $1, you build the discipline of saving while the monetary values involved are small and easily put aside without breaking anyone’s budget. And because each week’s dollar amount to be saved rises by only $1 each time, it doesn’t feel overwhelming a task.

Is this money saving scheme something of interest to you? Have you ever saved money in this manner before? Comment below and let me know.

 

ABOUT ME
I’m an Independent Brand Partner of Nerium™ International, I’m eliminating my wrinkles and fine lines effortlessly with NeriumAD, and you’ll always find great information about NeriumAD and Nerium™ International at my website: http://shywitness.arealbreakthrough.com


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