A recent segment on Good Morning America asked its hosts, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Sam Champion and Chris Cuomo, to define “the year that changed your life”. Each traveling down memory lane to pinpoint the year that ultimately changed the course of their life.
Ironically, this segment coincided while developing my business strategy for 2009. After outlining the goals I wanted to achieve for my business this year, I sat down to carve out a strategy to achieve those goals. Knowing where I want to end up from where I am at today, I began to map out a plan of necessary actions that would get me from Point A to Point Z.
As with any new path one chooses to venture, the past must be reviewed. The announcement of Good Morning America’s segment seemed to resonate with me as I planned for the year. It became clear that besides identifying the year that changed my life that I had the perfect opportunity to make the right decisions that would indeed make 2009 the year that changed my life and the life of my family.
We should always look at the past for direction from our triumphs and pitfalls. With that said, we also need to set our sites forward and carve new paths to voyage armed with the information of our accomplishments and losses. Look back at the year that was the pivotal point that led you to where you are today, analyze the reasons behind it and the choices made. Then look at your present and how you can again turn your world on its axis and make 2009 the year that changed your life.
You have the choice. You have the power. You make the decision. Vow with me, to make THIS YEAR – 2009 - to be the year that changed the course of your life. Take a positive step towards success with the proper mindset and make this a remarkable year for yourself both with your business and personally; one that will be fondly remembered and modeled in the years to come.
Photo by Conanil
It’s day six of the 2009, are you working towards your goals for the year? Want to keep on track in order to achieve your goals?
You’ve invested the time to outline your goals for the coming year. You have followed through with developing a plan that makes those goals attainable. Now, it’s time to put words into action. It is now that you must implement the action so that you can achieve those lofty dreams.
As you proceed through the day, you will find yourself straying from the tasks at hand. We all do it; tweeting on Twitter, reading blogs, surfing the web.
Stop and ask yourself one question:
Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?
Post it on your bulletin board - write it on your dry erase board. Keep it out in front of you and periodically check-in on yourself.
When you feel that you have wondered off the beaten path or just want to keep from straying, ask yourself if what you are doing at that given moment is going to assist you in accomplishing your number one goal. A quick self-check and you’re back on point.
Photo by yewenyi
As the year begins, most have given thought to what you want to accomplish in 2009. Sitting down with pen and tablet, you begin to list all the goals that you want to achieve in the coming year. After a bit, you have a long laundry list. With list in hand, what is the next step? Have you developed a plan to implement your goals? Are there tools in place to measure the achievement of your goals? Or, after a period time is the goal list shoved into a desk drawer until it is discovered months later when it’s time to set goals for the new approaching year?
Setting goals is more than making a list of items to accomplish. It’s laying out an attainable plan with guidelines, action steps and milestones. Goals should be set at a measure that is above your average performance level in order to heighten your skill set. They should not be based on your best performance nor should they be easily attained.
Process and Plan
As you think through the goals you want to achieve, ask yourself following questions so that you focus not only on the end result of the goal but the path needed to accomplish the goal.
• What do I specifically want to achieve?
• What resources are needed?
• Do I have the skill set needed or is there a learning curve to factor?
• Do I have the data and knowledge needed?
• Do I need assistance or collaboration with a colleague?
• What obstacles could block progress?
• What contributing factors are beyond my control?
• Is there more than one way of accomplishing goal?
• What does the desired outcome of the goal look like?
• Why do I want to achieve this goal?
• What is a realistic timeline for achievement?
Record and Review
After you have developed your goals and the action steps necessary to achieve them, write them down in a notebook and review them regularly. Jack Canfield suggests reviewing your goals daily and visualizing what accomplished goals look like.
Goals should be more than a laundry list of lofty ideas. Developing a plan to accomplish your goals lends itself as a huge contributing factor to successfully accomplishing them. Schedule quiet time to plan your path for the 2009 and achieve your dreams.
Photo by krisgriffon
Photo by federico.soffici
Recently there has been much to do about the use of Twitter add-ons and extras such as TweetLater that can be set-up to welcome new followers via public reply or direct message; automatically follow new followers; and set-up scheduled tweets. See my post How Do You Say It’s a Pleasure to Meet You! Too much of a to-do about well, not much. It’s so easy to get swept up into the roar of crowd about what is considered proper etiquette, acceptable and deemed appropriate.
Since I am a newbie of sorts in the social networking scene, I have fond myself jumping this way and that way. All the while wanting to do what is considered socially correct in the business networking circles; aka - the majority in Twitterville. After switching the Outllook rules that forward notices to TweetLater on and off several times over as many weeks, I think I’ve had enough. Actually, I know I’ve had enough.
I use TweetLater to acknowledge new followers. I don’t spam them with a link to my website. My website is in my profile so there isn’t a need. I simply want a timely tweet to let my new followers know that I appreciate their interest. You can’t be hooked to Twitter 24/7. I can’t – between building my Virtual Assistant practice and raising a family that involves keeping up with an active 2 year old – their ain’t no way, Joe!
As the adage goes - you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. So I’m pleasing myself and taking the lead. TweetLater helps me manage those that follow me. I can then go back as time allows and view a new follower’s site, see if I want to follow them (9 out 10 times I do) and send a more personal reply commenting on one of their blog posts or their website.
Photo by martellobrasile
Working in this virtual internet-based world, blunders happen, links break, and typo’s happen when we’re bleary eyed from long hours. Yet our mistakes take center stage to the fresh eye; our site visitor, potential client, competitor or peer. You never know who will discover you tomorrow. It is vital to put your best foot forward at all times. A professional appearance, even when you work virtually must be a priority.
Recently, I’ve come across a couple of blunders in blogs and websites. I searched for the site owner’s direct email address to alert them to the issue. In one case, it was one of my peers. An industry leader and someone I look up to as a guide for my business. They are also my competitor. Even so, it reflects on our industry - Virtual Assistant industry as a whole. My reasoning to tell them is simple. If one of my peers discovered a blunder or a typo that I missed during proofreading I would truly appreciate their efforts to seek me out and alert me to the issue. I didn’t do it with a big read sharpie like I’ve seen my husband do on his student’s term papers. I did it with respect and from a place of good will.
Proof of the pudding is in the eating – results are what counts. In order to achieve results, a consistent and professional appearance must be maintained. After putting in long days of drafting and writing to get a project completed, go back in a couple of days and reread what you’ve done. Tweak your posts; learn from your mistakes for the next time. Create templates for projects to simplify the task. Regularly check links on your website and blog to ensure they are not broken. Ensure that you’re landing page used in various advertising campaigns are loading quickly and work in all browsers. You can work in your pj’s if you like but your work shouldn’t look as if you did.
Photo by jonno259
I’m travelin’ down the road,
I’m flirtin’ with disaster.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor,
My life is running faster.
Been flirtin’ with disaster,
Ya’ll know what I mean.
And the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me.
I don’t know about yourself or,
What you want to be - yeah.
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny.
Are you, flirting with disaster? Have you made previsions for yourself, your family or your business if you are suddenly faced with the inability to attend to your affairs? Molly Hatchet’s “Flirtin’ with Disaster” keeps playing in mind as I give thought to this subject.
This very situation has brought reality to the forefront within our circle of friends. Our friend Alan is solo-entrepreneur; runs a small retail store. Alan is just like you and me, building a business and achieving his dreams. An avid cyclist, Alan regularly rides late in the evenings to prepare for race events. He takes all the necessary precautions that are available to him to keep safe from harm. His bike is equipped with various lights, both rear and front. He wears protective head gear and reflective clothing.
In my previous post, I shared Tweet Later; a Twitter tool that sends auto-responses to new followers either publically or through direct message. While I don’t subscribe to all “twitter etiquette” that many feel businesses should adhere to, there are a few common sense “rules” that should not have to be explained but it seems more often than not, it does.
So, how do you welcome your new followers on Twitter? Or, do you even acknowledge them?
When you set-up an auto-response to acknowledge a new follower, it should be just that. Links to your products or services should not be included. It is just simply not proper etiquette; it’s spam! If you have set-up your profile properly, then your website is listed. More times than not, a new follower has already checked out your website; unless they are the ones that have 1200 followings and only 100 followers; their intent then is to spam you.
Put it into perspective as it relates to your physical surroundings. If you are meeting someone for the first time, you wouldn’t be shaking their hand and asking them to buy your product. Would you?
Twitter is to socially connect with those that you have common interests in, whether it is personal or business. Yes, it is a great tool for internet marketing and promoting your blog; just not in a spammy way. Treat that your followers the same as you would if you were meeting and chatting face to face. Great them openhanded; a warm friendly thank you note is simple and genuine! It doesn’t mean you have to follow them, just be polite and say hello.
Photo by rumpleteaser
Despite its critics, Twitter is a useful micro-blogging tool entrepreneurs can utilize in a social networking setting to build relationships, promote their blog and market their business. This post is not to debate the pros and cons of Twitter; whether it’s viewed as professional or otherwise; nor is it to cover proper tweeting etiquette or what is and is not considered spamming your followers. My intent is to provide you with nine tools that will simply enhance your Twitter experience.
Do you have multiple social network profiles that you want to keep a daily presence without spending all day doing it? Ping.fm saves you the time and effort. Ping.fm will send a single post across 26 social networking platforms at one time. It utilizes the same 140 character limit as Twitter. Sites in addition to Twitter include: Facebook, Plurk, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Talk, Delicious, and many more.
Tweet Later works for you while you are away; whether you’re traveling, focusing on a project or simply living life. Tweet Later can be set-up to welcome new followers automatically either publically or by direct message. It will, at your election, automatically follow those that follow you. You can also schedule pre-scripted Tweets to broadcast while you’re away. Scheduled tweet is a great tool to alert followers of a new post on your blog.