Dreams Sold Here

Tonight, I went to my favorite Swedish furniture store whose colors are blue and yellow. After supper, we went and walked around the displays and I realized something very important to business.

While going around their displays, I saw that the store does a great job of showcasing their furniture. We sat in one living room setup which had white furniture which would not work for two kids in a small house. The next one was a room which had dark walls and a leather couch which I could see as a media room in a finished basement. The next room was a living room, dining room and kitchen setup. I said to my husband that it was like they know us as a family with young kids. The couches were kid-friendly. There was an open bookcase to contain toys and kids books on the bottom shelves and adult books on the upper shelves. The furniture was eclectic and not one style. It didn’t feel like it was overly styled. On the floor in the corner was a train rug and a wooden train on top. We continued on and when into the home office section including my favorite part which is a small office setup which is where you can dream about your world headquarters and running a seven figure business.

What the store is remarkably good at doing is selling dreams. You will become more organized if you buy the furniture or kitchen that has storage compartments. You will get sleep at night with a beautifully designed bedroom. You will get all of your work done with the right desk and chair. Your family will happily eat together if you match your dishes with your napkins, cups and tablecloth.

I realized that my business is also about selling a dream. The dream that I’m selling is that the technical part of their business will run smoothly. The tech will no longer be a hindrance to growing their business. The technology in their lives will work together so that they can spend less time working on the business and more time creating for the business.

My question to you is what dream are you selling to your clients? Please comment below.

FixITCrew!!

I created a new group that I’d love for you to join if you need to have a question answered about the technology that runs your online business. The name of the group is FixITCrew! It’s purpose is to be a Help Desk for Online Entrepreneurs. If you want to join, click here.

Work Without WiFi: A Guide by MakeOverIT

Are there ever times while when you’re getting away from it all but still want to work on your business? Having an online business is wonderful but, most times, you’re required to be online which means some sort of Internet access. Teri Horn, a Trained Personal Coach, freedom seeker, cancer survivor and unschooling mom, recently posted a question about how to build her business while offline, in a Facebook group we’re in. She’ll be going away with only her iPhone but without WiFi. Here are six important tips to consider before you work without WiFi.

First, the most important thing I’ve found is to have enough space on your phone, tablet or laptop for whatever you are going to do offline. If you are planning on recording videos and taking lots of photos, I would backup and delete all the extra files you won’t be using on your trip to maximize the space on your device. The big issue is that many of the devices in our lives depend on being able to be connected to the Cloud to store your content. Imagine there is a beautiful sunset but you can’t take a picture of it because your phone hasn’t uploaded the previous photos to the cloud. I had this happen when my phone couldn’t connect to the cloud for a week. It was horrible! I had to wait until I was connected to good quality WiFi before I could start taking pictures again.

Second, create a backup. If you can, backup what you’ve done to your laptop. You would hate to have a video that you worked hard on to suddenly be gone. If you are traveling without a laptop, there is a product called iStick that you can buy online that you can backup your files from your iPhone or iPad to with the lightning connector. If you are using Android, you can use a USB flash drive that has a micro USB connector or you can use a USB flash drive with a cable connector. Here are the instructions.

Third, test which apps will work offline. There is nothing worse than wanting to use your favorite app to do something for your business and realizing that the only way for the app to work is online. There is a simple way to do this, turn off Cellular Data and WiFi and see if the app will work. If it still shows a busy notification (usually something twirling) and then an error message, the app will not work while you’re without WiFi. By knowing ahead of time which apps will work or not work, you can more easily plan for what work you can do.

Fourth, download any resources you’ll need before you go offline. While you still have access to WiFi, make sure you have everything you need to create while away. This includes any outlines, mindmaps, to do lists or other planning tools. Most of these tools have an option to download or export. Make sure that they get saved to your device so you have them when you need them.

Fifth, if you have the option, have two separate devices, one for creating content and another for consuming content. While you’re away from WiFi, you might want to have some downtime as well. If you have an iPhone and iPad, have the iPhone be your content creation device and the iPad be your one-stop shop for content consumption (and fun). Download to the iPad videos, podcasts, audio files, ebooks, PDFs and anything else you might want to get caught up on while you’re disconnected.

Sixth, schedule social media before you go. This tip is brought to you by Teri herself (thank you Teri!). There are so many different options that you can use to schedule posts and tweets. Including the schedule post feature on Facebook pages and third party options such as Buffer and Hootsuite. If you want more of an overview, here is a resource guide from Lifehack about scheduling social media. I use Buffer and you can use it with Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. For Instagram, you can use Latergramme to schedule posts. One of the more exciting new apps is the iOS app Kite which you can use together with Buffer to schedule lots of Tweets and Posts quickly and easily. Here is a YouTube video from social media strategist Jen Lenher that explains how to use Kite and Buffer together.

Have I forgotten a tip for working without WiFi? If I have, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list and credit you. Or if you found these tips helpful please subscribe to my list or comment below.

Color Within the Lines or Draw Your Own

Sometimes it’s good to color within the lines. Especially with the coloring book trend for adults. Although since you’re an adult, I hope that your result won’t be graded so maybe you can color outside the lines, if you want. I found out about the trend from the BBC with an interview with Richard Merritt who has released two coloring books. With an article in the Huffington Post, the trend came stateside. My sister gave me a copy of Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden for Mother’s Day but I don’t dare color in it since it’s so pretty! (I don’t like to write in books either). Maybe I just need the workbook version to color in and the pretty one to have on the shelf. Included in her book are lovely little creatures to look for so it’s a “Where’s Waldo?” as well. There are also prompts on some pages to draw your own instead of just coloring.

Anyway, the reason why I wanted to write this post today is because sometimes you just need to do things differently and draw your own. But other times, you just need to color within the lines. I find this a lot when I’m solving tech issues. Sometimes I need to follow the instructions and sometimes you just need to do things by instinct to get them to work. Sometimes it won’t work whichever method you chose and that’s OK too. Then you just need to keep on trying until you get it right.

What is your favorite way to do things? Color within the lines or draw your own? Or both? Please leave a comment and let me know which way you prefer to do things.

What’s Next?

It’s Saturday night and I’m wondering what’s next. I just finished a big project this week. I did the technical work for a three-part webinar series for a non-profit. It was wonderful but way more involved than I thought it was going to be (read: worked many, many hours). I also had the privilege to work for a former co-worker. Even though it was stressful, at times, I had a great time working on the series. Now, after completing series, I have to ask myself what is my next project?

I have some things percolating including working on an e-course launch, an e-book launch, fixing three wayward computers, doing the technical part of uploading a website and developing an app. For my business, my goals are to work on my homepage, complete my optin, complete my marketing plan and start to develop my passive income product as well as make more connections with people I can help. All of these have different time horizons and depend upon how busy the rest of my life is.

So, my question for you is what’s next for you? Please comment below.

Learning Something New

Learning something new is hard. I spent a year in Sweden as an exchange student and learned Swedish. That was a very easy sentence to type but it took a lot of hard work. It took a village to help me learn Swedish. When I first came, everyone was eager to practice their English and to help me adjust. After about a month though, I got pretty bored of being on the outside of conversations and I really did want to learn Swedish. It was a childhood dream of mine to move to Sweden and speak Swedish.

One morning, on the school bus to town from the village, I told my friend that I was bored of everyone speaking English to me when I wanted to learn Swedish. My friend said OK, we’ll speak in Swedish. Then she proceeded to talk to me only in Swedish. My first sentence I learned was “Jag är trött.” which means I am tired. That school bus came way too early for a night owl like me. After I got off the bus in town, I went to my school and told my school friend incredulously that now my friend from the village was only going to speak to me in Swedish. My school friend thought that was a great idea and now she was only going to speak to me in Swedish. I didn’t want that to happen! I had wanted to continue to speak English but she convinced me that we should speak in Swedish. Then I went home to my host parents and told them how unbelievably now my friend from the village and my school friend were only going to speak Swedish to me. The problem was they thought that was a great idea too and started to speak to me only in Swedish.

Over the next few days, my Swedish-English dictionary got a workout as I flipped back and forth trying to find the words that I needed and the words that my friends were saying. The following weekend, my host mom broke out the labeler and labeled everything in the house in Swedish, including my hair brush. It was a way for me to memorize easily the daily words that one needs to survive.

Over the next few weeks and months, my Swedish improved and I started to understand what was going around me. It’s been many years since I was there as an exchange student and by working in the Nordic community around Boston, I’ve been able to stay connected to Sweden and the Swedish language which is why I will occasionally break out some Swedish here.

The real reason for this post was not my ode to Sweden (although today is Midsommar in Sweden) but rather, that you can learn anything if you commit to it and have some support along the way.

Please leave me a comment below as to what you need to learn right now and how you will be learning it. If you need help learning something technical for your business, please contact me.

Make It Pretty with Canva

My favorite tool (right now) to make social media graphics, posts and opt-ins is Canva. It’s free and easy to use! I usually don’t use their layouts but instead just use it as a free PhotoShop. All of the graphics that are on MakeOverIT have been created with Canva.

I created a tutorial on how to use Canva and Word together to make a PDF for an opt-in. You could also use the same process to make a short e-book or any other handout. If you want to make the PDF fillable, you can use PDF Escape for free.

Please let me know if this was helpful in the comments below or what tutorial you need now.

Find What You’re Searching For

Do you ever struggle to find something while searching online? I was looking for more information about a magazine article that I had found when I was in Copenhagen last year. It was one of those random things where I was reading a Danish interior magazine and came across a photo of a gäststuga (Google Translate says it’s a guest house but think smaller and simpler, not an LA-sized guest house but a cottage). All I had, was a picture I took of the page. Here is the photo:

1-IMG_0085

Now, I started by searching for Bamsehuset since that was in quotes and I combined it with Lones since she was mentioned in the description under the picture.

search lones bamsehuset

That didn’t get me the right answer. Instead all I got for search results was everything about the cartoon character Bamse. Nothing about a guest cottage. I didn’t have the name of the magazine or I would have searched for the name. Instead I had the section title which was Hjemme Hos (At Home). I searched for Lones Bamsehuset Hjemme Hos and the article was the first hit (first result) on the page. The article and photos were published in Bolig Magasinet in August 2013.

Here is the link to the article and photos.

I find that while searching for things, the more specific information you can give to the search engine, the better results you’ll get. Happy searching!!

Five Ways to Follow Your Twinkle Today

This comes from the “out of the mouths of babes” category. My daughter said the most wonderful thing, she said that I should “follow my twinkle” and that’s exactly what I’m doing. To me, following your twinkle means that you should do what you love and follow your passion.

Here are five ways that you can follow your twinkle today:

1. Use your gifts and talents to help someone
To you, it might be easy to tweet but I agonize over every tweet. I have a friend who is terrific at Twitter so she helps me craft my Tweets. Or maybe you are fantastic at Facebook and can help a friend who is having issues with a Facebook group or ads. There is someone out in the world right now who needs your help. Go and help them, you’ll feel better and so will they.

2. Get your art out there
Everyone has their preferred medium that they use to express themselves. I like to draw or paint with watercolors with my kids. I also like to stage things and take pictures. Do whatever creative form you love today. And then share it with the world! Feel free to put it up on social media or on your blog.

3. Connect with someone new
This is one of my most favorite things to do is to connect with someone new. I like to connect on Facebook but I like to also connect in IRL (in real life). Do whichever you prefer. Did someone say something funny or insightful or did something they say resonate with you? Let them know with a private message on Facebook or Twitter or leave a comment on their blog post.

4. Let people know you exist
I think this is the hardest thing for me but I’m working on it. In order to make money at following your twinkle, you will need to put yourself out there and charge what you’re worth. This is much easier said than done. I’m still working on my marketing and promotion plan. I’ve been better at this in IRL than I’ve been on social media. Do whichever you’re best at.

5. Do something memorable
Inspiration can be hard to come by. If you stay in the same routines, food and places, it can be difficult to find inspiration. Break out of your routine today, even if it’s just for a few moments. Some examples might be to try a new recipe or restaurant or maybe take the backroads home instead of the highway. Do something different and then post what happens (good or bad) on social media.

Please let me know in the comments below how you’re going to follow your twinkle today.

Work One Hour At A Time

Chris Guillebeau’s recent blog post on The Art of Non-Conformity resonated with me today. He asked if you had one hour a day to work because you could only work one hour, would you do a bunch of things or do one thing really well. I’ve experienced this most recently when I fractured my shoulder two months ago. The first week I could hardly type and frequently had to put down my laptop because the pain was so incredible. Chris said in his blog post that it would be difficult between doing one thing or many things. I also agree that it’s tough to know which way would be best and get you the most money for your time. It might even be that you switch between them. You could create content for 6 weeks and then start recycling content and switch to doing one-on-one consulting or a group call or a mastermind. Since you’re only working an hour a day, the cost of your time will automatically skyrocket since you have limited availability. The most important thing is taking decisive action with whatever decision you need to make. I know for me, it’s the going back and forth about decisions and searching online for a solution that take up the most time. All you need to do is ask someone who’s been there. You can either ask a fellow entrepreneur or ask an expert that you know and trust. If you don’t have an expert or a fellow entrepreneur, it’s time to do the scary bit and reach out and find one. If you have questions related to the tech side of online business, please contact me (I don’t bite) or leave me a comment below.