Monthly Archives: February 2011

My Square – Swiping Credit Cards Using my iPhone

It’s incredible how brains and money can merge and inventions that keep getting more amazing come onto the scene. I LOVE my Square. I slide it into the headphone jack of my iPhone and swipe credit cards right there on the spot.

  • No monthly fees, no hidden charges, no commitment.
  • The Square unit is free.
  • Payment on each sale is only 2.75 percent.
  • Customer signature created with their finger.
  • Receipts can be emailed right from the sale.
  • Available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android.

I was at a conference book signing today. When people appreciate the information I share, they want to continue their learning.

Most of the people who bought from me with a credit card bought more than one book, often purchasing a set of four. If your customers or clients carry little cash and you don’t want an expensive credit card machine, SquareUp.com is it!

Get it. Try it. Thank me later.

 

PEACE.

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Create a Video Channel on Your Site With Viddler's Vidget

In a previous post, I wrote about using the little-known YouTube Video Bar to create the look that big news stations and other company sites with the big bucks have for displaying their videos (UPDATE: YouTube discontinued the Video Bar). I mentioned that customization of the video bar required adjusting the computer code behind it. This is not an option for me to use and maintain my sanity.

I found another free service that was exactly what I wanted at Viddler.com — a vidget, no programming needed. A vidget is a collection of videos inside one video player. Just fill out the form and copy the resulting embed code into your site.

As I load new videos, my vidget updates automatically everywhere it’s embedded. Give it a try and leave a comment to let us know what you think.

PEACE.

Add Videos to Your Site and Display Miniatures Using YouTube or a Vidget

Big news sites display their videos with miniatures around it which will entice you to stay on their site longer (and see more ads). You can do this too using free tools. There are two technologies I use: the YouTube Video Bar and a vidget created at Viddler.com. I’ve written about Viddler’s vidget in a previous post.
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UPDATE: YouTube discontinued the Video Bar. They’ve promised something better. I’ll create a blog post when that happens.

YouTube Video Bar

If you have a video channel on YouTube, you can display some of your videos on your site like this using a little-known feature http://www.google.com/uds/solutions/wizards/videobar.html

Note: Don’t click. These are screen captures…not live videos.

To make this wizard work and display your videos, refer to the second graphic (the Video Bar Wizard). Untick all the video feed boxes and replace the default video channel name with your channel name. Copy and paste the resulting code on your site in between body tags anywhere before:

</body>
</html>

(If you don’t have your own channel, type the Search Expressions to display topics you’re interested in.)

If you want more customization, you’ll have to adjust the code behind it. And if you’re like me and computer code makes you dizzy, my next post will show you how to create a similar TV channel without programming.

UPDATE: I’ve written a booklet on creating a YouTube channel, A Complete Guide: Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel. See a full description with table of contents here.

 

PEACE.

Say No By Saying Yes First

What can you say to people who want you to reduce your fee for your expert services? You can say “no” by saying “yes” first.

For example: “Can you do this work for less?”

“Yes I can, but I would not be able to give your project the time needed to do a quality job and you deserve better.”
“Yes, but we will not have complete success, and that’s all you’ll repeat or remember. I want you to be 100 percent satisfied.”
“Yes, but I have to maintain a certain profit margin in order to continue servicing my clients in the way they deserve.”

Try one of these the next time someone tries to negotiate. You’ll feel better and will have more time to spend with the clients who value what you do.

PEACE.

Blogging Your Way Up the Google Ladder

I gave a Webinar recently for people who were either just starting out with a blog or who had an established blog. I walked through my journey of initially focusing on building an email list with a Webzine (I was blogging before it was invented). Later, I realized the role blogging played in SEO (search engine optimization). Last year, this blog won Top Business Blog from FastPitchNetworking.com.

Below is my slideshow. Hope you pick up a tip or two. I’ll probably write a booklet about this soon. If you want more details on SEO, check out my booklet on my Website, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO.

Information Overload: Email, IM, Fax, Mail, Phones

A new client called me this morning stressed out about all the information coming into her office every day. She’s having a hard time concentrating on work that generates income and needed some suggestions.

You have to take stock of what is bothering you, write it down, and develop some solutions to reduce the angst or make it go away. The following turned out to be her main issues.

Email
What type of messages are coming in? Is it spam, personal friends, potential clients, current clients, etc.? Analyze the incoming messages so you know what you’re dealing with. I have numerous ways to manage email, and she realized she should take my Outlook/Time Management class.

  • Create answers to messages you receive often. Save them as signatures (in Outlook 2003 or older) and in QuickParts (Outlook 2007 or later). When you need to send the same answer, it’s already written and a click away.
  • Stop checking email all day. Set aside times of day to check email. Get into a meeting with the Inbox and stay focused on it. During that meeting, analyze each message and either delete it, pend it, schedule it, task it, flag it for follow up, or do the work if it’s quick.

Cell Phone
Who’s calling your cell phone during the day and why? This was a mix of her family wanting to know what she’s doing, clients who are also friends, and personal friends.

  • Change the outgoing message on your cell phone. “Thanks for calling. My cell phone is turned off during the day. If you’re a client, please call the work phone at (the number). I’ll return all other calls after work hours. You may also send me an email at (email address). If this is an emergency, please call the work phone.
  • Turn off the cell phone during the day and only use it at your convenience.

Instant Messages
Who’s sending you instant messages and what do they want? This amounted to a lot of “What are you doing?” type of questions so that account will be logged off during the day.

Fax
What is coming in via fax? Information comes in via fax that needs to be filed. Change the old-style fax machine to receiving faxes via email. She didn’t receive a lot of faxes so I advised that she sign up for a free fax account at http://home.efax.com/s/r/efaxprint

Mail
When the mail comes in, put it in one place, separating by recipient. Someone should process it once a day.

Telephone
Who’s calling you the most and what are they asking for?

  • Change your outgoing message and let people know when they should expect a return call, suggest they send you an email instead, and refer them to your Website for more help.

    If you’re in a job such as a reporter with tons of irrelevant calls (e.g., from publicists), don’t say, “I’ll return your call as soon as I can” because you’re not. It’s perfectly fine to say something like, “Due to the number of calls I receive every day, I may not be able to return yours. However, I want to responsive and have put a link on our Web site, blah, blah, blah.”

  • Make your Website easier to navigate and add a Frequently Asked Question page. This will reduce the number of non-revenue calls.

Can you afford to allow non-revenue interruptions to interfere with work? Me neither. Analyze each interruption and put a process in place to manage it.

Have you made any changes that help you get work done during the workday? Let us know by leaving a comment.

PEACE.