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eLearning – Your Golden Ticket to Business Growth

If you are a small business owner or a sales professional, or perhaps, what I call a “solopreneur,” and you’ve survived the past few years in the worst economic downturn in recent history, then you are looking for ways to take it to the next level – to not only survive, but to thrive!  I believe online training or what we call eLearning can be an extremely valuable tool if used properly.

Several questions beg an answer for a success-minded business owner.

1.  Marketing Budget

The marketing landscape has morphed – almost while we weren’t looking – traditional methods just aren’t working anymore, even if we had the cash to throw in that direction.  So, how do determine what to do…how do we prepare ourselves?  Simply put – how do we spend our marketing energy and money?

2.  The Social Media  buzz

Another burning question at the top of the list for every small business owner is whether to jump on board the Social Media train.  Is it just hype, the latest buzz words?  Is it a waste of time…or just for youth, or mainly for grandparents wanting to see all the pictures of their kids and grandkids?   Is it really beneficial for businesses?  These are all questions that deserve an honest answer.

3.  Getting Accounting Processes Under Control

Let’s move on for a moment to some in-house nitty-gritty issues that you know need attention in order to thrive this year.  Maybe your accounting is a mess, and by June, you know you’re going to need serious help sorting it all out.  Are you doing business straight out of your checkbook?  You know you need a simple, easy-to-implement accounting software and you need it quick!

4.  Sharpening Your Office Software Skills

Next, you KNOW that you should be making some spreadsheets to track important information.  Perhaps you’ve been making hand-written lists and adding things up with an adding machine.  You KNOW that Microsoft Excel is a dynamite tool, but how are you going to find time to take a class or work through a massive tutorial by yourself, with no one in sight to answer your questions?

5.  Using Email Effectively

OK…you’ve been using email for awhile, and maybe even have an employee or two who uses it on a regular basis to communicate with customers and vendors.  But, do you have that nagging thought that perhaps your company’s email communication needs an overhaul…that perhaps you’re sending the wrong message with simple errors which could be easily corrected.  How do people get those nice electronic “signatures” at the bottom of their emails…how can I improve my image?

6.  How Do I Market My Business Online?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies who know what they’re doing can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month…and it’s money well spent for the ROI.  BUT…is there a cost effective way to do it yourself? The short answer is yes.
Read more below under “Solutions.”

Solutions

Now, these are just a few of the problems that a small business owner can encounter when considering how to grow his business and THRIVE in 2014.  There are several ways to look at solving these problems.

  1. On-site classes – either at the local college or seminars held by professional companies specializing in the specific area of expertise you desire and need
  2. Private tutors – even hiring a college student who is proficient with some of the software you would like to learn
  3. Your CPA – for help with setting up an efficient accounting system.
  4. Online training – also called eLearning

For me, option #4 – online training – is the TICKET to growing your business in 2014.  And here’s why:

  1. No travel time or travel expenses
  2. Flexible schedule – you work at your pace on your schedule
  3. Low, low cost

When searching for online training, look for a company that offers training from a variety of experts, not just one or two people are doing all the training.  Look for a company who will respond to you personally when you send an email or make a phone call. And finally, look for a company with cutting-edge, relevant material spanning a wide range of small business needs.

I’m a partner in such a company – Business Training Team.  I’m proud of the training videos we have in our membership site.  They’re in-depth and come with workbooks.  I wish all this had been available to me years ago when I started my first business.  I invite you to take a look:  http://BusinessTrainingTeam.com
Everything here is free.  Be sure to look at the Archives on the right side.  

If you want to do your own online marketing, using an computer savvy employee, a family member or even a college intern, please visit:

http://LocalInternetSecrets.com/business-owner

There is a small monthly charge, but you’ll save thousands of dollars in the long run.  This training is much more intense than the free training on Business Training Team’s website.

This is for the truly serious company owner, and covers everything from soup to nuts in easy-to-follow steps.  Videos and printable documentation are done in small “coffee-break-sized” training. Online marketing is not rocket science, but it is both a science and an art form.  You don’t want to tackle it without a guide and without being sure what you’re doing is totally up-to-date.  Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain excpect death and taxes.”  I’d like to add my own twist on this…”Google will change the rules regularly and without notice.”  My company, The Business Force, spends a lot of time and money to keep track of all the changes necessary for a small business owner to be successful online.

 

The List of How People Deal with Information Overload

WoW!  I got a lot of tweets and responses to my post on dealing with Information Overload.  I promised you I would compile a list of the responses, so here they are:

1.  Taking a day off – unplugging from all things digital

2.  Concentrating on focused action, not just a “scatter-shot” approach.

3.  Getting out to have lunch with friends once in awhile.  It’s too easy to become a hermit, along with the computer.

4.  Attending networking events.

5.  Making an action notebook.  Recording what actions have been taken, not just actions we need or want to do.

These are great pointers, and I thank you all for responding.

If you haven’t done so already, sign up (look in the top right) for my gift to you – “Taming the Top 10 Grammar Monsters.”

4 Tips to Deal With Information Overload if You Work Online

I am an offline business owner and an internet marketer.  I’ve owned my “brick & mortar” business for about 17 years, and it runs along pretty smoothly without a lot of research and discovery.  I’m grateful for that.  Now, the online business is different – it has required that I study, take online courses, attend conferences, learn, stop to put it to use, then study and learn more, and the cycle is endless for the foreseeable future.  No one loves learning and new information more than I do.  I was one of those crazy kids who loved school.  There was something simply exhilarating about new information.  But sometimes, I feel the weight of information overload, or as some call it, “information overwhelm.”  I want to tell you about the ways I have found to deal with this very real problem.

Too much information too fast can really put a damper on your productivity and even your creativity.  We have to give ourselves some breathing room, some space to just think about things.  I know if you’re in the online marketing business, you know what I mean.  I would think about all those eBooks or eCourses I purchased that were just sitting there on my hard drive.  In the meantime, new offers arrive daily, sometimes hourly in my email InBox.  The information superhighway can be a place fraught with danger if we don’t slow down and enjoy the journey.

  • Don’t sign up for more than one new class at a time, even though it’s being offered by someone you know, like and trust.  You can’t divide your thinking and your time up but so much or you’ll suffer from overload and none of the information will sink in.  So at all costs, resist the urge.  If it’s that great of an offer or a class, it will be available later.
  • When taking a class, either live or online, find at least 3 “Ah-Ha” things that you can take action on right away.  Then do it!  Take that action – put the learning to good use right away, before you forget or find an excuse to procrastinate.  Put these action steps on your calendar.  If they’re good enough for you to pay to learn, then they’re good enough to actually schedule the correlating action.  Keep a notebook for these actions that you have taken.  Call it your “Action Notebook.”
  • Work on one project at a time, or if you are researching a topic, set aside either a special day or even a whole week to explore just that alone.  For instance, if you are learning new WordPress or blogging skills, concentrate on only that.  A focused approach is much more effective than what I call a “scatter-shot” approach.
  • Take a day off!  That’s right – you heard me.  Shut yourself off from technology for a whole day at a time. Get away from your computer, your email and your cell phone.  Go outside, take walks, sit in a different room than where you work.  Get caught up on some fun reading.  Have lunch or dinner with friends.  You absolutely need this in order to function at your top performance.

Leave a comment and tell me how YOU handle the overload.  I’ll compile the results and post.

Get Into The Writing Habit – It Will Change Your Biz and Your Life

Writing Brings Success

Write Something Everyday!

Our daily lives are made up of automatic tasks and routine.  That really sounds boring, doesn’t it?  But when I think about it, here’s what I become aware of – I get up in the morning, go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, put the coffee on and feed the dog and let him out while the coffee’s brewing.  Then, the dog comes back in and he goes back to bed for awhile while I enjoy my coffee while checking email.  Then, while it’s still quiet, I do a little reading, usually a devotional or my Bible.  Then, I review my list of things for the day and get things ready to fire away at my list.  That’s my morning routine – almost every day unless I’m not at home.  Do I have to think about these things?  No.  I just do them.

How about driving your car?  Are you really thinking about the moves you’re making?  It’s scary, but the answer is no.

Establishing habits and routines are important in order for us to quickly get things done without too much time thinking about it.  For a professional marketer, writing is one of those things that we simply MUST do.  No question about it; you can’t market, especially online without writing being an integral part of your daily routine.  Notice I said daily, not weekly or frequently – DAILY!

Every day I must write articles, blog posts, emails, work on short reports, write eCourses, scripts for Ads On Hold for my telecommunications business, and write outlines and prepare slides for my webinars.  If I had not made writing a part of my daily life, I couldn’t do my job for myself or for my clients.

So you want to be more successful as a marketer, or as a writer, or as any kind of professional?  Start writing every day.  And you may ask yourself where to start. For me, I purchased my name – jeannekolenda.com from GoDaddy, figured out how to host it and build a blog, and I began to blog everyday.  I then began to tweet out those blog posts on Twitter, and my traffic began to grow.  Then I began writing articles for ezinearticles.com and as my traffic grew to my blog, I started to write eCourses and produce training webinars.

The next thing I did was to participate in a 30-day blogging challenge. There were about 100 people who signed up to write a blog post every day for 30 days.  About half of us finished it.  Then, just 8 weeks later, another online guru hosted another 30-day challenge.  I signed up again.  This time, more than 250 people signed up and I think 84 finished it.  During these blog challenges, I also met many new friends online and I wrote comments on their blogs.  So I felt like a writing and reading machine.  I then completed an eZineArticles challenge to write 100 articles in 100 days.   Someone asked me what I would win. I honestly didn’t even know what the prize was…I just knew I had to do it for the feather in my cap as a writer.  (It was a clock that didn’t work, a mousepad, a coffee mug [my favorite] and a leather coaster.)

What I’ve found is that I do my best writing late at night when nothing can interrupt me.  I find that when I sit down at my computer, I instantly relax and find that my fingers literally fly across the keyboard and this makes me very happy.

I believe the first step really is to get your blog going.  Even if you know nothing, my business partner and I have put together a course that will walk you through every step of it.  Check it out here:  http://SmallBusinessBlogHelp.com Get started today to be the writer you need to be for professional success!  Let me hear from you.  I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.

And PLEASE, do yourself a favor and sign up at the top right in order to receive a great free video  called “Taming the Top 10 Grammar Monsters.” I’ll connect with you and send you valuable information on writing, and growing your business.

Leave a comment and tell me what your writing habits are.

Cure Inefficient Writing Skills – Learn Microsoft Word

Good Writing Matters

http://MakeMicrosoftOfficeWork.com

I’m a writer.  I’ve been a writer for most of my life.  I remember the days when “writing” meant grabbing my favorite pen and a yellow legal pad and heading to my favorite chair to scribble notes, strike them out, start over, and finally taking the terribly messy pages to a typewriter for the final output.   My, how things have changed!  I can’t even remember what it’s like to not think in front of a screen and a keyboard.

However, years ago, when I first ventured into the Microsoft Office software products, and I began to learn some basics, I found that I was learning just enough to get my words on the page and then I was off to something else.  By the time these powerful word processor software packages were commonplace, I was well past college age, and if I was going to learn the finer points, I had to teach myself.  As the years passed, I found myself always bumping my head against something or other when using Microsoft Word and it usually had to do with formatting, indentions, setting margins, spacing, etc.

I finally went to the local bookstore, purchased a big tutorial on Microsoft Office products (with colored pictures!) and set aside time every day to work my way through some of the basics.  I was constantly amazed at how simple something was that I had struggled with.

What I felt I was missing was the personal touch.  If I had just had someone to show me how to do it! I could have saved hours and hours of time.  I believe people today are still struggling with the same issues – in fact, I believe that much of our business writing is terribly inefficient because of a lack of expertise in using Microsoft Word or similar software, such as Open Office.

Here is a list of common features people struggle with in Microsoft Word:

1.      Spacing manually to indent a list

2.      Backspacing one character at a time

3.      Trying to insert numbers in front of a list AFTER typing the list

4.      Changing your margins without tabbing or spacing

5.      Quickly and easily changing the font size, color and style

6.      How to number items or use bullet points automatically

7.      How to make sub-headings with clean indentions

8.      How to insert frequently used words or phrases

9.      Finding and replacing strings of text, phrases or individual words

10.  Creating simple tables and inserting graphs and charts

11.  How to use spell-check, grammar-check or check for style

12.  How to easily undo and redo a series of changes or edits

I am now a partner in an online training business and I am thrilled to make this learning curve much less steep for you than what I experienced.  If you think you could stand to gain efficiency with your writing by getting to know your software a little better, please click on this link and pay us a visit:  http://MakeMicrosoftOfficeWork.com

An Elephant Named Bubbles

Bubbles is an African Elephant and she lives in my neighborhood.  When I mentioned Bubbles on a group call the other day, one guy said, “Where do you live — Uganda?”  The answer is no, I don’t live in Uganda, but in Myrtle Beach, near the Intracoastal Waterway.  There’s a wild game preserve just through the woods, and an elephant named Bubbles lives there.  It’s not uncommon to see Bubbles strolling down the road either on her way to take a nice dip in the Waterway or going home after her afternoon swim.  Her guide or trainer is usually not far away, but she’s not tethered in any way.

Sometimes the kids go to the water’s edge and throw peanuts at her and she’s playful and happy to entertain. I’ve been here long enough to just take Bubbles for granted. But the other day I was thinking about Bubbles and the life she’s living. She was born to be wild and free – just like the elephants I saw in an IMAX film several years ago, lumbering through the African savannah. Now, don’t get me wrong — Bubbles is well taken care of and she has a nice new pool in which to swim (on days she doesn’t want to walk to the Waterway). In fact, I found this video on YouTube of Bubbles in her new pool. No one is afraid of her, although most of us respect her enough to give her plenty of space. The video shows children diving from her back.

So, you have to wonder – what’s my point in telling you about Bubbles? It’s this: Bubbles is living in circumstances that are not natural…not what God designed for her; she didn’t choose it. How many of you are also living in situations that are not what would be considered “your highest and best?” Now, I’m not talking about the consequences of our own dumb choices. I’m talking about things that have been truly out of our power to change. I think Bubbles is a class act. She’s friendly, gracious, and very tolerant.

It may be too personal of a question, but I’d really like to know how some of you have overcome circumstances beyond your control. Almost everyone who visits my blog is a real champion, and I know you’ve got a lot to offer the rest of us.

If you feel like leaving a comment, I will welcome it.

P.S. I actually had some video footage of some of us playing with Bubbles on Halloween, but when I tried to convert the video to a format that would load into my blog, it became a nightmare, so I’m glad I found the YouTube video so you can see what a sweetie Bubbles really is.

Oh, yeah…don’t forget to fill in the optin box up on the top right and get my free video on taming the grammar monsters.  It’s worth the price of admission!  LOL

Good Writing Matters – Here’s Some Free Help

Everyone knows that doing business these days requires some degree of writing skill.  You either have to know how to put your thoughts into words yourself, or you have to hire it done or rely on a spouse or friend.  Most everyone I know does his own writing.

Just think – there’s web content, blog content, newsletters, business letters, emails…and the list goes on.  I’ve been working online for the past year and I’ve seen a lot of writing, AND I’ve read a lot of what other people have written.  Especially blog posts, auto-responder messages and sales page copy.

What I have found amazing is the lack of attention to the details of educated writing.  I find that many folks must have zoned out of English class early on, and never got reconnected.  Some people don’t even bother to use a capital letter at the beginning of a Subject Line or a sentence.  They don’t know the difference in “it’s” and “its.”  They don’t know the difference in the meaning of fewer or less (Hint:  If you can count it, use the word fewer, if you can’t count it, say less.  Think: Fewer people, Less sugar.)

I still believe good writing matters.  And just like anything else, if you take it one little bite at a time, your writing can improve.  To that end, I did a webinar entitled, “Taming the Top 10 Grammar Monsters.”  I received a lot of positive response to this training and it’s still one of the most downloaded training videos on our Business Training Team website.

As a lot of us are participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’d like to offer this training to you at no cost. It’s my New Year’s gift to you, my fellow blogger.

Please share with me your thoughts on good writing and how you rate yourself.  Also, let me know how the video has helped you.  Did you learn anything new, or was it old hat for you?

I look forward to visiting many of your blogs, and I hope you come back here often.  I wish you much success in your businesses this year!

When you sign up for the video, you’ll receive an email asking you to confirm your request.  You should receive the link to the video in just a few minutes.

Happy New Year! It’s time to Rock & Roll

Happy New Year, everyone!  It’s been a wonderful day for me; I spent the day with friends, making homemade soap (enough for the year for all 3 of us), cooking collards, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, ham, cornbread…you get the picture.  As we sat sipping our coffee overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, watching bonfires on the other side of the water, and observing yachts on the way to Florida, we talked of our lives, our families and our businesses — all that we experienced in 2010 and all our hopes for 2011!

It was a marvelous, relaxed time of reflection, dreaming and planning.  What did you do today?  Do you feel energized and ready for the New Year?  We’ve got one more day before Monday morning rolls around and things crank into high gear. What last minute things to you need to get in place before the new year officially begins?  How will you spend tomorrow?

I’ll be rolling out some important things for you, my highly valued readers and followers as this week progresses. I’ve committed to another 31 day blog challenge — see the banner on the side: Ultimate Blog Challenge.  This is my first post in that challenge.  I look forward to meeting new people and reconnecting with folks I met in the 3 challenges I did in 2010. Some of these friendships are priceless and have even led to joint ventures that you’ll be seeing more about.

Today, I just want you to answer this question:  “Who will you surround yourself with who will cheer you on, encourage you when you are discouraged, and give you wise advice when asked?”  If you don’t know the answer to this, I suggest you make that tomorrow’s priority.  Without a close intimate team, life will be harder than it needs to be.  We need advocates, cheerleaders, mentors and friends.  Do you know the different roles each of these play in your life and business?

Think about it and leave a comment to tell me about your “team.”

We’ll talk more later.  Again, Happy New Year and I’m SO excited to connect with as many of you as possible.
I want to get to know you and have you know me.  We’ll all come out ahead!

A Christmas Gift for You

Click on this link for your gift:

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As I reflect over this past year and get ready for a great 2011, I am reminded of how grateful I am for my customers and my friends.  I would love to have the opportunity to hand-deliver a gift to each of you.  After all, it’s way more fun to give than to receive.  Since I can’t do that, I’m posting something special here for you.

My daughter, Melissa, is a well-known musician and she has just released a new CD called “Symphony of Joy.”  This piece wasn’t completed in time, and it didn’t make it to the CD, but it’s a wonderful instrumental production and she has given me permission to share it freely with you.

You can right-click on the link and save the mp3 to rip to your Ipod or other mp3 player, save it to your hard drive, or you can just click and listen to it here from my site.

You are also free to share it with friends and family.

So, I hope you are “decking your halls” and getting ready for a wonderful holiday weekend.
I pray that the joy of the season will be foremost in your hearts and your minds.

Christmas Blessings!

Jeanne

PS…Melissa’s site is:  http://MelissaJonesMusic.com

Article Distribution – A Winning Plan

Article Writing Success

Article Submission is Easy Now!

I started writing articles in January 2010.  Connie Ragen Green, whom I had just met earlier that month, told me to write my first article and it would change my life.  My first article was published on eZineArticles.com the day I arrived in Las Vegas to meet with Connie and Jeanette Cates for an Online Revenue Builders workshop.

Connie was right – things took off and after just 15 articles, I was awarded Platinum Author status.  I participated in the Hundred Articles in a Hundred Days marathon later in the year and I completed 3 blog challenges.  I learned to repurpose my content, and was able to create eCourses and short reports for the building of my online business, http://BusinessTrainingTeam.com.  It was a winning strategy.  How could this get any better?  Well, it did!

Last month, when I googled my name with quotation marks, I had about 750 listings on Google.  My blog was indexed, many of my eZine articles, blog comments I had made on many of your blogs…my LinkedIn profile was there, my Facebook page.  But, then I learned about a service that would distribute my articles much more widely with just one submission.  It was an investment, and I put it off, not wanting to add more to my monthly expense.  After all, things were going well.

Last month, I bit the bullet, signed up for the article submission service ($47/mo) and set up my account and submitted my first article.  This submission service uses a “drip” method for the best SEO results.  Over the next week, my article was distributed far and wide and ended up in places I had never even heard of.

Last night, I googled my name again (in quotation marks) and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had over 4500 listings on Google — pages and pages worth.  I looked at the first ten pages, just to be sure it was all me.  It was.  There is one more Jeanne Kolenda in Michigan but she only had about 3 listings that I could see.  I can hardly wait to get busy taking all the articles I have previously had published on eZine and resubmit them to this submission service.  The only site that I asked to continue submitting for myself, in fact, is eZineArticles.com.

I am so pleasantly surprised and pleased with the results, I signed up to be an affiliate and here’s my affiliate link:  http://SuccessfulArticleSubmission.com.

Connie has taught me to only recommend what I have used and what I love to be a successful affiliate.  Well, I’ve used it, and I LOVE it!  So, I urge you to give it a go.  You can always cancel if you find it’s not for you.  You can click on the link the above paragraph, or look over to the top left at the “Massive Traffic Banner.”  It will all go to the same place.

Are you using an automatic submission service?  Tell me about it…