Tag Archives: professionalism

Defining Good Work: Are You A Good Worker?

“What is the value of keeping on doing good work?”
It’s a simple question that has a lot of weight behind it. What’s good work anyway? What with all the promises and get-rich-quick schemes out there, all the hype and hoopla in marketing and advertising, all you need to push your products and services is to sell the sizzle, not the steak .  To answer the question you need to break it down.

“What is the value?”  – Assigning worth.
How much is your product or service worth to your audience, your customers, or your  market?

You may scoff at all those over-the top infomercials where people flap, flail, and screw up such simple actions like opening a jar, only to have Today’s Magical Doohicky save them for only three easy installments of 19.99 each —  but did you know that the infomercial market is worth billions? Yes. Those cheesy shows and demos are part of an industry and a very healthy market worth billions of dollars. Just because you can’t see it from where you’re sitting –probably on the couch– doesn’t mean the market isn’t flourishing, or relevant.

Informative link: The Economics of Infomercials

What’s more, the home-shopping and TV shopping market measures in the billions too. From cookware to jewelry cleaning, from skincare to household appliances, the home shopping industry is just another parallel market to internet commerce. For businesses selling products in both arenas, the similarities are many, and the work required to succeed is as demanding. You may just have passed one off as a silly series of hard-sell skits, but the market is there and it is huge. You just didn’t see it. Continue reading Defining Good Work: Are You A Good Worker?

Is It A Business or A Legacy? Planning For The Future

Anybody who runs a business knows about the importance of goal-setting and planning for the future. Whether you make business goals or personal goals, it’s important to  know just exactly where you want to go, and know whether what the actions you take and the choices you make will get you to your goals.

Just as important is understanding and planning for things that can affect your progress towards your goals. Practicing flexibility and foresight in making plans for your business (and yourself) for the future is a vital skill for any entrepreneur. Here’s some advice to help you with that:

Have a clear picture of where you want to be. Envision.
Any business, no matter what its size, is challenging work. Aside from the daily ops, there are  countless other issues that can take up your time: crunching the numbers, juggling finances and balancing accounts,  going after delayed collections, dealing with  disappointed customers, facing the imbalance of family-time versus time spent on the business…when you’re busy dealing with all of these things, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re working for.

Why do you have your business? What made you choose it and keep with it? What did you want to be from it. What did you see it make possible for you? You want to live your dream? What is your dream? Be specific.

Knowing why you’re doing this can give you the  strength to deal with all the things that can irritate you, aggravate you or just plain  infuriate you about your business.

And having a clear picture in mind encourages you to be aware of where you want to be — in the next quarter, or the next 6 months,  the next year, the next 5 years, and so on. Knowing what you want to happen and where you want to be by a certain time, you constantly have goals to works towards and pull you onward. You won’t coast, you won’t assume everything is going well. You’re maintaining awareness of the intimate health details of your business.

No matter where they come from, truly successful people keep working towards their particular goals.
Take time to write down your goals . This solidifies these goals in your mind and in your heart, giving you the drive and the energy to shoulder the workload, stomach the disappointments and downturns, and  help keep you steady. Goals can change with each stage our our lifetime and our business, but successful people are motivated by their desire to accomplish these goals. They focus. They shoulder aside distractions. The know that the things they choose to do have an end in mind, and they want to reach that goal.

When we’re tempted to throw up our hands in frustration, or throw in the towel in despair,  clear goals can help  us weather those dark times. Knowing the important reason why you’re working so hard lets you figure out how you can adjust so you can keep going. Continue reading Is It A Business or A Legacy? Planning For The Future

How To Handle Negative Comments On Your Blog

Whose blog is it anyway?
Whether you have a blog on your professional website, or just a personal one that you maintain for yourself and a few interested readers, you should have a set of rules in place to handle negative comments and bad behavior. It’s your place: blog, journal or website, it’s your spot on the web, your home, your showcase.

Your place, your rules — which also means you also have to have rules, or else watch on the sidelines as anarchy takes over. Your blog is a place that invites comments and discussions — a comments policy helps prevent the nasties from defacing your work and ruining the conversations you want to happen.

Guests may comment — the purpose of a blog is to foster discussion after all — but people who post inflammatory, inane or vile stuff may as well have sprayed graffiti all over your walls.

This is where a comment policy comes in handy. Everyone comes in knowing the rules and those who don’t follow them can leave or be made to leave. Boors, trolls and asshats may be invited to tone it down or be forcibly booted out– this is the point where comment moderation and deletion comes in handy.

 

What is your SOP regarding comments on your website? Whatever rules you come up with, you have to make them clear,and visible.

 

Clear rules are important because you need strong protections to weed out the unwanted elements sure to wander in on your home space. And it’s not just the rude people you want gone, you also need to address the comments they leave behind: like nasty, spiteful ‘presents’ you’ll want to contain as soon as possible.

  • With no clear rules, chaos reigns.
  • You make the rules, you can’t expect people to follow them if you don’t enforce them.
  • You don’t follow your own rules, you’ve just eaten into your own authority.

It’s that simple. Now, what are unacceptable behaviors you won’t tolerate on your blog?  List them down and work on codifying them. Continue reading How To Handle Negative Comments On Your Blog

Getting People To Buy Into Change

You’ve probably had moments in your life when you stopped to take a good look at where you were going, then shook your head and picked another direction. Let’s talk about what happens after you pick a heading.

When you want to move in a new direction, who else will be affected?
You’ve seen the signs and did the research. If things don’t change, if you don’t make things change, you’ll end up a long way away from where you want to be.

  • Something’s been eating at you and you need to make things better. It’s change or get run over, change or be left behind.
  • Something needs to change, and you’re planning to take charge of the process. You’re doing this for very important reasons.

If you built a business all by your merry lonesome, well, hey, congratulations. But there are two things to consider when you’re fixing to make changes.

  • Are you really doing it alone?
  • Who else will be affected by the intended change?

A business not just a legal entity. Anything involving people brings relationships into the picture: When you’re planning changes like shifting directions, it’s not as easy as turning the steering wheel. All the parts need to work together to move a car where you want to go, and it’s the same with business.

  • What about reactions from family, partners or employees?
  • You also have people you work for and with– suppliers, for example, and customers/clients, for sure. What about them?

 

Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you work in a network of friends, family, partners, suppliers, clients, advisors and customers. You’re a member of several social groups withing your business network. You are influenced and have more influence than you think, and actions ripple out in consequences, in the networks you’re a part of.

When you want to make a change in the organization you created, you won’t be the only one affected by the change. To make it easier for everyone involved, you can to have them buy into your intended changes. But how? Continue reading Getting People To Buy Into Change

In Business, Social Media Doesn’t Mean Social Life

Social media management isn’t a new concept. It’s still information management, applied to real-time public communication that uses social media applications like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube, just to name a few.

Depending on your goals as a business owner, freelancer or entrepreneur, this means exercising a mix of public relations, customer relations, customer service, marketing, and promotions, adjusting your actions to fit the situation at hand. Social media management software like Hootsuite, SeesMic and TweetDeck came to being out of people’s need to control their social media accounts, with tasks ranging from scheduling tweets in a pre-set order, to consolidating assorted accounts under one roof, so to speak.

As with many media tools, the application is only as good as the user’s familiarity with their chosen apps and their understanding of the rules of communication. It isn’t just restricted to controlling the way information is delivered or shared; there are many important things to consider when you want to send a message. Factors like appropriateness, intention, tone, and audience are vital. For the long goals like building brand-recognition, there’s also establishing trust and responsibility with the sum of your interactions.

Think of the the following sites: Overhead in New York, Overhead in the Office and Overhead Everywhere. These websites collect snippets of random conversations submitted by their readers. These are stories of conversations people overhead, and yes, at first glance the accounts shared on these sites can be TMI. Over-sharing. Oopsies. But these conversations weren’t really meant for the general public, even though they were said in public places. They’re just snatches of conversation listeners found amusing or notable, and so they were shared online. The boundaries are very nebulous here.

Now think of email mistakes where the reply was sent to the wrong person, or a private reply was sent to an entire mailing list. Take a minute to cringe as you remember your own mistakes, or recall those stories shared by friends.

To maintain a good professional image, you have to accept that there are boundaries you must observe. If you want to protect your boundaries and have them protect you, especially on the internet, then you need to have a good idea of where yours are drawn and enforce the living hell out of them. Continue reading In Business, Social Media Doesn’t Mean Social Life

Design A Code of Conduct to Approach Social Media Responsibly

 In your observation, what is the most jarring thing you’ve experienced with the advent of the internet: changes in behavior stemming from the technology, or the differences in mind-set when it comes to sharing information on it?

The internet is over twenty five years old. People who grew up with the internet think of it differently than previous generations. To them, their world always had the internet. Their parents grew up with TV and radio. One generation was used to receiving information, the other grew up connected, sharing and transmitting information as easily as their parents read the newspapers. The divide lies in how we approach the sharing, keeping and controlling of the information, which is crucial on both professional and personal levels. How else can you explain the stuff that people post online?

Think of social media, for one. People can use it to update each other on what’s happening and what they’re doing, and get to say what they want to say. Whether it’s a fact or an opinion, once it’s posted, it’s out there, and while for the most part a lot of the information is generally innocuous, there are always the posts that can get people fired, ruin their reputations, or get them arrested. Or possibly all three. And watching from the sides, all you can ask is, “What were they thinking?” Continue reading Design A Code of Conduct to Approach Social Media Responsibly