Step Away from the Business

Posted May 17, 2017 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Business Solutions

Tags: , , ,

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It’s vacation time again. Regrettably, it’s a sad truth that many entrepreneurs and business owners are reluctant to take time off. Their hesitancy exists for a variety of reasons including not feeling comfortable releasing the reins to someone else, an inability to unwind, or simply failure to plan for a vacation. But you know that taking the time to step away from your business can have many benefits.

According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Office Depot Small Business Index, 66% of small business owners struggle with taking vacations and when they do, the majority stay connected to their business in some way. Today’s technology – smartphones, tablets and laptops – contribute to continued connectivity. The upside? It can keep you connected with your business. The downside? It can keep you connected to your business. In some ways, it’s good for the small business owner to take advantage of that connectivity as long as they control the dosage.

Still, it’s crucial that the small business owners take vacation and disconnect from the demands of growing and maintaining a viable business. Here are a few of the benefits of taking a vacation:

  • You reduce stress which equals lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, a boost to the immune system.
  • You Improve family relationships – connect with your spouse and kids while you create lasting memories.
  • You experience improved creativity.
  • You add new experiences and break the routine.
  • You meet new people.
  • You gain a new perspective on life and your business.
  • You set an example for your employees so that they will take vacation.

These are compelling reasons to take time away from your business in the form of vacation. Making vacation a part of your yearly planning may be one way to ensure that you will take much needed time away from the day to day of running your business.

If you are still finding it difficult to take time off, here are a few suggestions to make it easier to create a better work/life balance:

  • Make your vacation plans early and complete all the steps to getting you to your destination.
  • Prepare your staff and your customers for your absence.
  • Add your vacation days to an out-of-town conference or business meeting; take the family with you and once the conference or meeting is over, devote time to them.
  • Plan at least a week of exploring the vacation area.
  • Schedule retreat/spa activities to help you unwind.
  • Check in with your designated staff at a designated time and then disconnect from technology.

Your work and your personal life must be balanced. It has been proven that taking regular vacations gives you a healthier, more positive outlook on life. In short, it’s good for you; it’s good for your business.

How do you step away from the business? Do you plan a vacation or do you spontaneously take time away from the business? Which works better for you? Share your insights and experiences.

Should You Consider Creating a Side Hustle or Becoming an Entrepreneur?

Posted April 26, 2017 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Business Solutions

Tags: , , ,

computer, glasses picThere are hundreds if not thousands of new businesses created by bold entrepreneurs daily. Some are created as full-time entrepreneurship and others are entered just as a way to earn additional revenue in the form of a  side hustles. Some of of these opportunities readily come to mind, while others may not be as quickly thought of or they may not even exist, yet. After all, who knows when and where the next big thing will emerge?

I’ve taken a moment to compile a list of businesses or side hustles you can consider as an entrepreneur either as a part-time side hustle/venture or as a full-time business. Why not explore some of the ventures I’ve listed here?

  • Business plan services
  • Copy Writer
  • Mystery Shopper
  • Business Presentation Developer
  • Business Support Services (I turned this into a full-time business)
  • Business Form template Creator
  • Career and Personal Coach
  • Freelance Sales Consultant or Coach
  • Headhunter Service
  • Home Offie Planner
  • Web Designer
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Airbnb
  • Brand Ambassadorship
  • Write a Book (I did, you can, too!)
  • Teach English as a Second Language
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Artist
  • Pet sitter or groomer (Pets are a billion dollar business)
  • Personal Trainer
  • Yoga Teacher

This list is just the tip of the proverbial iceburg. You can explore these and the many more that exist. What I wanted to accomplish was to get you thinking of what you could do to change your current budget for the better. In today’s world, both virtual and real, there are so many more avenues that can be explored, many from home.

Yes, the economy is certainly improving for many. Unfortunately, others have given up on their dreams. It’s not too late to look into developing something new or something that will augment your current finances. You can tackle that entrepreneurial venture you have always thought of pursuing. Many who partner with me have business ventures of their own.

If you are still on the fringes of unemployment or you are underemployment (and many are), there are other avenues available to you which require little to no money to start. Side hustles are valuable; new businesses are possible. It does, however, take research and tenacity to get your new venture moving. Being an entrepreneur does not have to be risky business if you have a plan and you diligently work at the plan. The same goes for having a side hustle.

Give a new venture some thought. Either way, Exceptional can assist you with that new venture. We can help with your strategic plan, accounting needs, even with your social media. It goes without saying, if you have transcription needs, we are the company to turn to.

Leave a comment if you have thoughts on starting a new business or venturing into a side hustle.

I’m Published! What Do I Do to Sell My eBook?

Posted March 23, 2017 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Writing

Tags: , , ,

How to Create an Ebook screenshotI’m published! My new book, How to Create an Ebook, is available at Amazon and I couldn’t be happier. At $2.99 per copy, I think you will find the information useful.

The next big question is: Now what do I do next? How do I get my book to potential readers “out there?” A press release is certainly in order, but there are other housekeeping items I must attend to in order to sell my book. In fact, the following is useful information for anyone who has published a book:

  1. First, celebrate your accomplishment with a “release party.” No matter the size of your book, you should celebrate. The size of the celebration doesn’t matter either – a few friends or many.
  2. Send announcements via your email contacts and via “snail-mail.” Indicate how they can purchase your new book.
  3. Send press releases via the internet. There are various outlets on-line for press releases, some paid others are free.
  4. Send press releases via email to local newspapers, addressing the press release to specific persons at the papers. If you have ties to other towns or cities, send press releases to the papers of the city or town you are from. Followup with a phone call.
  5. Use social media to announce your new book. Create a strategy for these social media releases, keeping in mind where you think your target audience spends the majority of their time.
  6. If speaking is a part of your enterprise, let the speakers’ bureaus know that you now have a book.
  7. Don’t forget to include your book on your website and your blogs.
    Solicit friends to purchase, read, and then write a review of your book. This will help boost your rankings on Google.
  8. Consider having a few hard copies of your book on hand to sell at any speaking engagements or networking activities.

Feels exhausting, I know, but you wrote the book; you should be proud enough of it to work just as hard getting  your book to your audience. You don’t need to spend a fortune – hardly any money at all, really – but you must spend the time cultivating, cajoling and recruiting your customer in order to make the sale.

Have you considered writing a book? Have you started yet? You have information to share, a story to tell, let’s get started. It takes only one word at a time. You can manage that!

Read This Before You Write That Book

Posted February 17, 2017 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Uncategorized

writing-pixabay-828911_1280I promised myself that this year would be the year the book that has been sitting in the back of my mind would come out. I’m sure that every New Year nearly all of us make writing a book our goal. However, stop and take a moment to read this. I  admonish you not to write that book if you don’t intend to take the project seriously. Here’s why not:

  1. Writing your book will feel like a chore rather than a journey or an adventure. We all know how we feel about chores!
  2. Those who encourage you to write are much more enthusiastic about you writing a book than you are. Maybe they should write their own book! You are only apt to produce a good, finished product if you’re enthusiastic and determined.
  3. Writing a book will not enhance your credibility. This is only true if your book is poorly written, in which case you will actually harm your credibility.
  4. A hastily or poorly chosen topic will produce a book no one is interested in reading. No sales equal no profit. That being said, however, don’t let that stop you if you really feel the book in you must come out. There really is no crystal ball when it comes to what your audience will like.
  5. You can’t invest the time in marketing your book. Writing just for the sake of saying you have written a book could result in a manuscript that goes nowhere. Again, no sales, no profit.
  6. You can’t commit to ensuring that you will have your book proofed and edited. There is nothing that ruins a potentially good book than bad grammar, misspelled words, and run-on sentences. It is distracting to your readers and shows you are not really invested in the successful outcome of your writing project.

                             “A book worth writing is worth writing well.”

The bottom line is there are many people who may urge you to write a book and maybe you should, but consider the project carefully. It will take time and it will take commitment to produce even a small book. If you can’t take it seriously, it’s better not to embark on it. If you are serious, then by all means, get busy writing.

Have you considered creating a book? If it isn’t already one of your goals for the New Year, maybe it should be. What would you choose as your topic? We would like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment  below. And if we can help with your transcription or business solutions contact us at Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions.

“But it’s writing…If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can’t or won’t, it’s time for you to close the book and do something else. Wash the car, maybe.” – Stephen King

Re-Purpose, Rewrite – Create a Book

Posted January 24, 2017 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Writing Tutorial

Tags: , , ,

composition-1837242_1280There are many reasons to write your book, and believe it or not, you may already have the material on hand. Have you written a speech or created blogs or articles, even scripts for webinars?  You have the beginning of your book already. Re-purpose the material. It becomes a matter of organizing your material and augmenting it so that it can be read as a book.

Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to write a book and get it published. So much of the control is in your hands when previous reality  was that the publishing house had all the control, from the decision to publish your work to the publishing date.

Here a few steps to cover when you make that all important decision to write your book:

  1. Start your marketing early – even before you write your book.
  2. Decide whether you are publishing an ebook or printed book, hardback or paperback.
  3. Choose the publishing method and company you will use.
  4. Make an outline of your book.
  5. Based on your outline, determine the approximate length of your book.
  6. Establish how many words you will write a day and stick with it. Write, write, write!
  7. Once you have finished, review and rewrite until you have the manuscript that you want.
  8. Have your work proofed; don’t let typos and bad grammar ruin your book.
  9. Publish!

It is easier than many think, but it still takes patience, time and dedication to write your book, even when you have all the material on hand.

As you can tell, my focus is on writing a book. One of the reasons that writing a book is my goal for this year and because I realize the difference it can make in my business, I am encouraging you to make a difference in yours. Share the unique knowledge you have, realize personal satisfaction and gain business traffic, all from re-purposing, rewriting and creating your book.

Are There Steps to Creating an Ebook?

Posted December 15, 2016 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Business Solutions, Writing, Writing Tutorial

Tags: , , , ,

pic-person-woman-desk-laptop-2Creating an ebook can be an extremely valuable tool to help you grow your business regardless of its size or whether your business is online or not. There are steps to creating your ebook if you want the ebook to be a success. In fact, some steps should be implemented even before you begin writing the ebook.

A general guideline will help you create your ebook. A few steps to include are:

  1. Begin by identifying what you will write about. What are the needs of your target audience? What does your target audience want to know or learn more about? What is your knowledge or skillset? Generally, if you are in business, the three questions should line up and point to the same niche; not always, but most of the time.
  2. Develop a strategy for marketing your ebooks and include steps to take before you begin writing. Make social media a part of your strategy. If you don’t have much of a social media presence, start working on it now.
  3. Create the title. This can change but start with a good working title. Sometimes just putting the title on paper will get you going if you are having difficulty with your start.
  4. Create the outline of the contents of your ebook. Creating an outline will help you stay focused and cover the major areas that you want to include.
  5. Consider SEO as you write. You want to be recognized by the search engines so that traffic will appear.
  6. Use the right tools to facilitate writing: good writing software (this is optional), thesaurus, dictionary, a good grammar resource (The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White has been around for nearly 100 years), grammar check, and spell check.
  7. Edit and proofread your ebook. Preferably this is done by someone else who is capable of handling the job. If you do it yourself, let your manuscript “sit” for a few days before editing and proofing. However, it is generally not recommended that you proof your own work. Most writers realize how difficult it is to catch your own mistakes. Rely solely on spellcheck and you can end up with some very interesting word substitutions.
  8. Revisit your title once you have finished your ebook. Does it still resonate with you? If at all possible, have your title serve as a domain name so that it can be easily found.
  9. Choose a cover. Create one yourself if you are good at that type of work or pay someone. You can have an attractive and affordable cover created at fiverr.com.
  10. Choose a publishing vehicle. Amazon Kindle ebooks shows you step by step what to do to get your ebook published and on Amazon. There are other ebook publishers. Choose the one that is going to be the most productive for you.
  11. Use illustrations if they are appropriate, however, respect copyright laws. There are sights where you can purchase your images. Relying on Google Images is not, I repeat, not your source for images to include in your ebook. Unless you have secured permission or paid for the rights to use the image, you can end up in lots of trouble. Two sites that offer the free use of images are pixabay.com and morguefile.com
  12. Print a copy of your ebook in pdf so that you see what a copy may look like if someone printed it.
  13. Last, but certainly not the least, price your ebook. Include in your pricing consideration whether you will provide it for free in any instances. Review prices of comparable ebooks already on the market to help you make a decision.

Do a little research before you begin the process. Internet makes this part of it über easy. Following the steps outlined will help you have a better grasp on how to organize your work when you have made the decision to write your ebook. Remember, all that is standing between you and a finished ebook is your action. Follow these steps and you will move from thinking about creating your ebook to making it a reality.

Have you considered creating an ebook? If it isn’t already one of your goals for the New Year, it probably should be. What would you choose as your topic? We would like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment in the box below.

Doing It Your Way – Starting a Business, That Is

Posted November 17, 2016 by Exceptional Blogs
Categories: Business Solutions

Tags: , , ,

image-vision-planetc-1616237_1280Starting your own business especially after you have already been in a job or career, can be daunting, but if you have the irresistible pull in the direction of entrepreneurship, don’t squash it. You are not alone. For many it is just not enough to work for someone else, build someone else’s dream.  If you continue to feel you have a product or service to provide, you should answer the call by becoming an entrepreneur – starting your own business.

What does it take to start and sustain your own business? There are many directions this answer could take, with just as many opinions about it, but in my opinion, there is a core to what it takes:

Start with acknowledging what excites you and where you excel. Often the two are the same. If you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, look at where you put your energy in your current job. For example, do you spend a lot of your time volunteering to plan company events and get-togethers? Explore what it takes to be an event planner. Are you especially adept at organizing?Individuals and companies need this type of expertise to organize their space. Do you have ideas, can spot trends? You may have the next hot product. The point is, you should exploit what you love to do and are good at. Remember, when you start a business you are going to be the only one that prods you to get up each day.

Do your research to determine the demand for your business and where it will be sustainable enough to provide the lifestyle you want for you and your family. After all, having a business, even one that you love, won’t keep the lights on or a roof over your head if it’s not something others want to buy over the long term. Just because you love it, doesn’t mean others will.

Develop a vision followed by a plan. Your new business may need to start off as a side hustle and that’s ok. In addition to helping you gain experience and customers, a side hustle can help you determine if what you offer really is a product or service that is in demand. You can’t rely on your gut instinct alone nor can you rely on the hope that it “happens” when you are starting your own business.

Seek help; look for others who are already successful. Learn from their experiences. Join a Mastermind group or seek a mentor. Don’t overlook joining associations that are related to your new business.

Be very focused on doing what it takes to grow your business. Invest the time. Invest in education. Invest in networking. Success will not happen overnight, without effort.

Explore funding options for your new business. There are many ways to fund a business today, including crowdfunding. This is where your use of social media will come in handy as well.

Be cognizant of when you need to increase your staff and then do it. Stretch when it’s needed. You want continued growth and sometimes that means strategically increasing your staff, even if only on a contractual basis.

Outsource projects; don’t hesitate to use outside resources as you need them. Companies like Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions exist to help you with activities you don’t have the time or the expertise to complete. As a new entrepreneur, you can’t do it all.

We would love to hear about your experiences as an entrepreneur or new business owner. Fell free to leave a comment.

Audrey Dixon is the Founder and CEO of Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions and has been helping new and existing businesses succeed for over 20 years.