Sunday, August 30, 2015
My friend, Eliza, is full of creative inspiration and just the right dose of sarcasm to keep a conversation lively. Last week she shared an article with me that I loved. She knew I would, of course, because the article featured 11 of the best customer service stories, and customer service is a real big deal to me.
I have come to believe that one reason we receive poor customer service is we encounter control freaks where we spend our money. Think about it. How many times have you been given one or more of these responses from a business employee?
"We don't have anymore of those."
"I'm just going by the rules."
"That's the way we've always done it."
Or, to simply be ignored.
Have you encountered the most miserable person on the planet who cannot acknowledge you, much less smile and speak? And, all this while you are handing over your money for a purchase? Please.
Sometimes this terrible service happens because the sales person is a control freak and wants to make sure you don't get what you want. Or, the sales person has a goal that you cannot come close to feeling good that day. The nasty control freak is miserable in her/his own skin and wants you to be miserable also. Have you seen the movie, Misery? I wouldn't want Kathy Bates to have it in for me.
Oh, you should read these best customer service stories. It'll do your heart good.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
When I was 15 my first real job was working in a retail store; then, when I was 16 I got a job working in a medical office, then waiting tables in a restaurant my mother operated for awhile. My next job was in the office of a fish processing plant, then I worked for a hardware store. After that I worked in the field of child support enforcement, then at a furniture distribution center, and after that at a technical/community college, then I wound up my "job" career in economic development, then immediately started my consulting business.
All along the way I took college classes, paying my own way til I graduated, taught college classes part-time or ran a little business of some kind. Every job was a step upward, and I always felt thankful for the opportunities given me; therefore, I worked very hard and expected others to do the same. Like Ashton, I was always busy working away at something and trying to improve along the way.
When I started my consulting business, I simply turned to all my experience, figured out which talents brought me the most joy + seemed to solve problems in the business world and, here I am enjoying the benefits of those many years of plugging away.
I didn't say every job was always thrilling or happy. Most of the time I worked with and for wonderful people, and sometimes I worked with the devil's little helpers. But, I didn't give up, and I didn't quit. It never occurred to me that I could depend on someone else to support me.
What's your story?
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Do you ever think, "I wish I could get away for a couple of days and decompress."
Although I thoroughly enjoy being with people, and that energizes me, there comes a time when my brain and body are in overload...too much stimulation and busy-ness. Did I make up that word?
Now that I manage my own time I schedule an annual retreat for myself.
This year I'm spending a few days at my daughter's home on the Gulf coast while they are on vacation. Ahhh.....I love their vacations! She and her family are moving real soon, so this is my last shot at this free VRBO.
As difficult as it may seem, we should all take better care of ourselves. The constant hum and buzz of life can cause stress, and when that happens we have to find a way to turn it down a little. This is one way I handle it. You may have other methods, so, just do whatever it takes to reclaim your calmness.
My consulting projects await me, and I've had great quality time to do some creative thinking and planning on those projects and the future. It's all good. See that image up top? Turn right, and plan a retreat for yourself.
Monday, August 10, 2015
I'm not joking. I have observed the effects of a positive attitude for years among people with whom I've worked and socialized. When I'm around a positive person, they make me more positive, so I always want to be that person who starts the feel good ripple effect too!
It may be asking too much to be positive 100% of the time. There are times we all must handle difficult circumstances or discuss troublesome topics. Even then, finding something positive as quickly as possible afterward provides a cushion. Maybe that something positive is a glass of Merlot or mashed potatoes. It's our choice, right?
Since it's Monday I'm going to give you a few tips on staying positive. I've learned these the hard way, so take notes:
- Look hard for the silver lining in the negative situation. Look hard. It's hiding like peanuts under the couch cushion.
- Choose to spend most of your time around fun, positive people. Laugh at them, and let them laugh at you. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
- Learn to counter the negative with a positive spin. Once you hear or think the negative thing, immediately craft a response (even if you're talking to yourself) that points out something positive. For example, if your competitor gossips about you, be grateful he's helping create buzz about your business. I doubt anyone will notice when he trips over your shoe at the next networking event.
- Recall the things for which you are thankful! If you're bummed and feeling a negative slump, don't waste more than 2 minutes in that hell hole of misery. The way out is to start counting your blessings, one by one. By the time you get to 10, you're out of the hole and running. Toward ice cream.
Have a goal of keeping a positive attitude and sharing it with others. You never know when someone else might need it.
Monday, August 3, 2015
I've read articles recently that speak of little companies who break the $1 million sales mark and more. One of the best writers I've found covering this topic is Elaine Pofeldt, a contributing writer to Forbes, who says she "covers the growing wave of one-person businesses and their ecosystem." And, she does a good job.
I'm obviously interested in this topic because I am a solo entrepreneur. I occasionally hire contractors or sub out parts and pieces of projects, but I don't have an employee, nor do I plan to have any employees. Is that going to hold me back from making more money?
The US Census Bureau reports there were over 30,000 non-employer firms in 2013 that reported earnings of between $1 million and $2.4 million. If they can do it, can't you and I do it also?
Ms. Pofeldt has covered entrepreneurs in the businesses of PR, subscription gift boxes, fitness, babysitting, speaking, and, well, I'll lead you straight to Ms. Pofeldt's work, and you can read for yourself. It's fascinating and inspiring stuff!
So, don't be disheartened if you think you will never make any real money working alone. Follow Ms. Pofeldt, and learn, learn, learn. Every entrepreneur story I've ever heard involved lots of learning and digging for gems of wisdom on a topic. I experience that myself, and I bet you do also.
My favorite stories are non fiction, the true stories of how one person had an idea and built upon that idea until a business took hold. Then, that business grew and grew until it was a household name. Reading those stories inspires me because I know every one of those successful entrepreneurs started out just like you and me. One try at a time, and one day at a time.
We aren't reinventing the wheel by being an entrepreneur, but we do have to work smart to get on top in our field. Find some writers and speakers who are aligned with your passion, and follow them. It might be the best tool you ever used.
Now, as I promised, here's where to find Elaine Pofeldt:
Elaine Pofeldt at Forbes
Friday, July 17, 2015
Maya Angelou created important writing and resulting little sayings that had the potential to change people for the good. When people are thinking good and doing good, it's like "herd immunity"as relates to vaccines. Just as vaccines can prevent outbreaks of disease and save lives, positive people can act as a "vaccine" against negative people and negative outcomes. From a medical standpoint, it goes like this: (stay with me)
"When a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, the spread of disease is limited. This indirectly protects unimmunized individuals. This includes those who can't be vaccinated and those for whom vaccination was not successful. It is more difficult to maintain a chain of infection when much of the population is vaccinated." (www.historyofvaccines.org)
I'm weird, I know. Why did vaccines and herd immunity come to mind when I write about business strategy? On a recent visit to my wonderful physician, Dr. Gee, he took the time to explain herd immunity because he recommended I get a pneumonia vaccine. Although I'm not at the high risk age and I don't have chronic illness, I chose to get the vaccine to protect myself and my community. If my trusted doctor recommends it, I am going to listen.
So, who would disagree that we should vaccinate ourselves and others with positive thoughts, positive energy, and positive change? I love possibilities, and it's highly possible to create "herd immunity" in our personal and work communities by being vaccinated with a good attitude and spreading it like wildfire.
I can't pick a favorite Maya quote because there are so many, and I really like this one.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The official Wednesday word this week is HELP. Not, "Help!" Rather, help as in help other people to be successful or inspired or get the job they want so badly. That kind of help.
When someone is working at it and on it, but they need a little nudge, just a little something extra, it's a lot of fun to give help.
I suppose selfish people succeed too, but, who would want to be like them?
Zig was spot on! There is one big fat rule to this wisdom. If you help others get what they want only so you can get what you want, that's cheating, and it won't work out well.
Work strategy: Under promise and over deliver.
Believing in yourself and having confidence will be a great asset as you go about helping others achieve their dreams.
And, finally, I wish you a Wednesday surrounded by inspiring and generous people. People just like you.