Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

PostHeaderIcon ARE YOU ADDICTED TO YOUR CELL PHONE?

By Vernalee
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Are you addicted to your cell phone?
Before you answer this question, let me share how I and so many others use our cell phones.
1. First and foremost – To talk. It is right at my fingertips to be spontaneously used.
2. To store numbers. I don’t know anyone’s numbers anymore. They are all stored in my phone. Why use my memory when I don’t have to? I know that there is a danger in that theory, but it works for now. (By the way, I only personally know one person who doesn’t store his #’s and directly dials out all the time. He is so secretive that I am convinced that he is hiding something or someone! However, that’s a blog post for another day.)
3. To canvass Social Media sites. Please follow me on twitter at #swta, #Vernalee, and follow my daily blog, stuffwetalkabout.com. Here I go again with my marketing!
4. To send text messages and emails. I am up on all the abbreviated shortcuts. R U ?
5. To play games. This is a shout out to all my candy crush fans.
6. To provide directions. Nothing beats a guiding handheld GPS when you are directionally challenged.
7. To serve as my personal secretary by maintaining / reminding me of my appointments. For those entrepreneurs who have no personal administrative assistant, this is a great fringe benefit.
8. To take photos and shoot videos. Does anyone still use traditional cameras?
9. To tell time. I wear watches for fashion purposes only. I love my cellular alarm ringtone to wake me up.
10. To listen to music and download my favorite iTunes; to watch HBO Go.
11. To browse the Internet. Google is my favorite.
12. To read my favorite magazines. Black Enterprise was just downloaded. How convenient!
13. To check the stock market. Check the Nasdaq; feel important even if you do not own stock! Why not?
14. To serve as my personal baby sitter when I am waiting on someone who is late and don’t want others to stare me in my face.
15. To use my Face Time application to talk to my love ones. I have asked them to give me a 3 minute warning so that they don’t catch me looking my worst. Oh well!
16. To check the weather. I daily check the temperatures in Cleveland, Ohio, but also in my hometown in Mississippi. Then, I get depressed when it is snow on the grounds here and the Mississippi temp is in the 70’s.
My list goes on and on …. so I guess that I am addicted! Think about it! The cell phone is so versatile that although it was meant to be at our ear and mouth to hear / talk; many of us use it more to transmit messages non-verbally. We can hide behind our small cellular devices and avoid verbal communications by sending written messages via text and emails. Why hear their voices when you don’t want to be bothered? It is so much easier to write what you don’t have the courage to say.
For the record, that was not me that you saw standing in the line last week for 8 hours waiting to pick up the newly released iPhone!
Photo credit: www.yahoo.com; www.bunow.com

PostHeaderIcon THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK THE SEND BUTTON

By Vernalee
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How’s your Email etiquette? Are your words accurately and respectfully written?
Since Emails are a dominant form of communication in our personal and professional lives, making them effective is the key. Many of us prefer to or have chosen to email folks rather than verbally communicate with them. Besides, emailing is handy. You don’t have to worry about catching folks or them returning calls. You don’t have to leave home or get dressed to communicate. Plus, you can send them anytime, anywhere, and from your phone which is always with you.
Because of the conveniences and simplicities, why bother with the physical interaction? You may not be in an office when you send an email, but if it’s for business, it should reflect a professional tone.
It is for these reasons and more, that we should make sure that our emails convey the appropriate message.
Read below.
1. Subject Lines – Make them succinct and to the point. If the subject should change in your email thread, change the subject line to reflect same.
2. Professional Email Address – If it is not a corporate email, does it contain your name/your company’s name or a reference whereby the reader will know that it’s you?
3. Reply All – Think before you press that button. Do you want everyone to read your message or just the sender? Are you sending the email to the right person? Double check your stored recipient’s name to assure your accuracy before you send. Slippery fingers can present a slippery mess!
4. Salutations – Be professional and please use a greeting of some sort.
5. Exclamation Points – Multiple exclamation points can be offensive. Some authorities equate multiple exclamation points to shouting.
6. Blind copy/Forward – Wisely use as appropriate.
7. Replies – Try to reasonably respond to emails even if it is a brief answer. ( i.e received, thank you). Don’t leave the sender wondering if you received/read their message.
8. Proofread – Read it before you push the send button.
9. Can you really hide behind the words? – This is a double edged sword. You can say in writing what you do not have the courage to say to a person’s face. However, words don’t lie whether they are oral or written. Unlike verbal communication, we have little or no wiggle room for interpretation when it is in print. Emails can hold a liar’s feet to the fire because the sender can’t say that it wasn’t him/her who sent the message when the email came directly from their email address. The black and white letters become permanent etches.
Emails are here to stay. They are permanent records that are undeniably evidentiary. Your emails can be funny or serious. They can be light or academic. They convey a consortium of messages. Regardless, be careful, discreet, accurate; be a person whose emails you can defend! Be wise with your choice of words!
By the way, the conveniences of emails can add hours to your workday because many of us transmit emails from home that we didn’t have time to send during work hours.
Click, click!
Photo credit: www.math.uh.edu

PostHeaderIcon DO YOU – STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

By Vernalee
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To be obvious or unusual form the basis for Standing Out From The Crowd.
Our actions, behavior, leadership … determine where we stand.
Certainly, our attitude and aptitude determine the altitude to how high we rise. If you want to be more than the average bear, mediocrity has no place in your world.
As Susan Gale says, ” Normalcy is what makes you part of the crowd. Character is what makes you stand out from the crowd. But principle is what makes you rise above the crowd.”
Entrepreneurs in particular must pave their way through the maze. In this process, there are 5 secrets to stand out and rise above the crowd.
1. Take Initiative.
2. Have a positive mental attitude (PMA).
3. Have Goals.
4. Be open to take risks and keep an open mind.
5. Be a Go Getter.
We have to stay “charged up,” stay motivated, take the challenge, execute, deliver, and display positivity in our actions and leadership. As entrepreneurs, we are watched and judged. When we deliver the best and don’t short-step on quality, who we are don’t matter as much as what we produce!
Photo credit: www.business2community.com; Source: Kenneth Cloutier, Get Motivated for Success.

PostHeaderIcon TIME IS MONEY

By Vernalee
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Our time is so valuable. How it is used determines integral outcomes in our life. There is “never enough time in the day,” is an old adage whose meaning becomes more realistic daily. Thus, we need a plan, particularly when our utilization (of time) determines our income. What’s primary; what’s secondary? How do we make those determinations? As an entrepreneur, making a daily plan makes sense. Four questions / commands of relevancy may determine how our business grows.
1. What tasks make money now?
2. What tasks make money in the future?
3. Schedule money making tasks everyday.
4. Delegate tasks that need to be done, but not necessarily by you.
In quick simplistic terms, the answer as I see it, is a what and a how.
What can bring in the $$$ now, in the future; and how will it be accomplished.
Time management is a science with our utilization of same equating to outcomes … with generation of revenue being one.
How we spend our time – directly and indirectly – determines how much money is in our pockets!
What is our next step? There may be many. Hiring a full time employee may not be financially affordable, but support – be it virtual or a consultant – may be an avenue to explore.
Many of us learn by example. Oddly, some of us can’t resist learning the hard way. We may insist on experimenting with the “bought sense vs. learnt sense” hypothesis.
With quantitative and qualitative measurements, eventually, we will learn that we cannot do it all … by ourselves. When that realization clicks, we will “be in the money!”
Green is such a spendable and vibrant color! Get started planning the “how’s” and “what’s” of your day!
“The early bird catches the most worms!”
Photo credit: www.homebusiness.about.com
Reference: About.com

PostHeaderIcon DO YOU LIKE YOUR JOB? LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!

By Vernalee
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Confucius said, “Choose what you like to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” With that quote in mind, do you like what you do? Or is it a job that just pays the bill? Do you dread going to your office? Or do you wake excited to finish incomplete assignments? Liking/enjoying what you do is important. Your success, financial renumeration, work/personal life balance and other intricate determinants to your satisfaction may depend upon it.
In your quest, consider these simple steps.
1. Determine what you really want. What qualities and values are most important right now?
2. Choose that. Ask for it. Move toward it. Assume you deserve to get it.
3. Commit wholeheartedly. Determine what stands in your way.
Stop doing what you hate. Recognize that you have choices. Don’t wait until somebody makes it for you.
You deserve more for yourself than to do something that you dislike or be stuck where you care not to be – job, environment, staff, otherwise. Take inventory; make wise choices; chase your dreams; be determined – you can do it! “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face,” but find what you like to do and go for it! You’ll be happy that you did!
Photo credit: www.likesuccess.com; Source: www.quintcareers.com

PostHeaderIcon THE POWER OF BEING BROKE

By Vernalee
imageBeing broke is not a good feeling. Raise your hand if you agree! Can I get an Amen? But being broke can be your greatest motivator. Just ask Daymond John who started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens on a $40 budget that later became the incubator for the $6 billion dollar global phenomenon FUBU (For us, By us) brand. John had a stand by your side Mother, “a heart full of hope, and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.”
So, FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank shows that being broke may be your “greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. It forces you to think more creatively, use your resources more efficiently, connect with your customers more authentically, market your ideas more imaginatively; and finally, it forces you to be true to yourself, stay focused on your goals, and come up with innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark.”
Yes, that’s right. John shows in his book, “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage.”
“When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option.”
John in his book covers the below topics:
1. The Power of Broke
2. Rise and Grind
3. Money changes everything
4. What it is
5. Broke isn’t just personal
6. Be the change.
7. Bringing it all home.
Are you motivated yet?
Sometimes, we have to use what we have as John did.
With no advertising budget, he asked his fellow Queens neighbor and rapper L.L. Cool J to wear one of his caps in a GAP commercial in the 1990’s.
Not too shabby; right? Great advertising, I’ll say. The rest is history!
Here’s my take.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
How can you receive if you don’t ask!
Use your available resources.
It shows that thinking out of the box will land you farther than the idleness of not pursuing your passions.
Eliminate excuses.
Don’t give up!
Dream big!
Think bigger!
Be persistently motivated. Motivation can make your paycheck bigger.
Work hard and harder and harder.
Work your passion to achieve your greatness!
Don’t take NO for an answer.
Where there is a will, there is a way!
Don’t let the lack of funds stop you!
Daymond didn’t!
Neither should you!
Photo credit: www.chicagotribune.com

PostHeaderIcon YOU ARE YOUR OWN BRAND. BUILD IT. PROTECT IT.

By Vernalee
BrandYourself-By Vernalee
As entrepreneurs, it is imperative that you become your own brand. Besides, no one can sell you better than you. Agreed?
The question is: How do you become a brand; a recognizable brand at that? Let’s see what the experts have to say.
1. First …Become an expert on something that relates to your business.
2. Establish a website or blog under your full name preferably and/or theme a recognizable subject name that you can call your own.
3. Learn how to be a good source.
4. Generate brand awareness by networking.
Allow me to “Vernalize this.
In other words, become a knowledgeable brainchild whereby you unequivocally know what you are talking about; promote and establish yourself as an authoritative expert. It may sound complicated, but it isn’t.
In simple terms, educate yourself and showcase your talents.
Take it a step further and become a primary source so that people ultimately come to you for the quote as the recognized expert.
Sounds good so far?
As you expertly craft a good name and reputation for yourself in the stratosphere, your network and the world will recognize you for your skills, knowledge, talents, and of course your brand.
You now stand out from the crowd.
A good name is hard to beat; isn’t it?
Your good name or shall I refer to it as your brand will draw people to you like bees to honey.
Speaking of your drawing card, networking becomes one of your trump cards.
The four rules of networking that you should keep in mind are mutualism, giving, targeting and reconnecting.
A. Mutualism: You have to create win-win relationships in business. Mutual benefits will help.
B. Giving: Help someone out, before asking for anything in return. This makes people want to support you.
C. Targeting: You want to be very specific with the types of people you network with, in order to save time and to attract the right people to your brand.
D. Reconnecting: Never lose touch, that way networking contacts remember you when new opportunities surface.
These tenets remind me of the old folks sitting back in their rocking chairs on their screen porches in Mississippi.
Without anyone asking for their input, they voluntarily would put in their two cents. “That child sho nuff knows what she’s talking about. Her mouth might get her somewhere someday. For sho, she meets no strangers. She can work the room better than anybody I know. Can’t she?”
Though perhaps elementary, those old folks saw your shining star. Hence, you were creating your brand even back then.
As you move forward, continue the development so that all will materialize into positivities that sell and work.
In closing, you will know that you have become a recognizable brand if a letter is mailed to you with just your name on it (no address) and it arrives at your office doorstep.
Okay folks, don’t flood my mailbox with letters addressed to Vernalee.
If you do, I claim it!
It is the validation that my branding tactics have been successful.
Join me as we rebrand and re-position ourselves.
Photo credit: www.zcorum.com; Source: Entrepreneurs.com

PostHeaderIcon ARE YOU ON A SINKING SHIP?

By Vernalee
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Remember the Titanic? It was considered unsinkable. Figuratively speaking, a sinking ship could be a bad relationship, a dead end job, a drowning marriage, a wayward child, or any circumstance in life that may take you down. A downward path may encompass an emotional or a physical descent. If you are on or navigating a sinking ship, you basically have 3 viable survival options: You can either get off – before it hits, when it hits, or after it hits, – but before it sinks. Sometimes, we are optimists and feel that we can coast and ride out the storms in our lives; life jackets or not! Our success rate sometimes cannot be predetermined or accurately predicted. When we are confronted with obstacle courses, and when and if there are opportunities to make wise decisions, we must do so! Don’t procrasinate! Time does not wait on no one and time may not be on your side! Invariably, our decisions determine our destiny. Never forget that on April 15, 1912, despite its sophistication, the RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from the UK to NYC sank when it collided with an iceberg! “SOS;” Don’t underestimate the reality of a situation. As the old folks say, “Be safe, not sorry; sink or swim!” Your life may depend upon it!
Photo credit: The RMS Titanic courtesy of www.en.wikipedia.org

PostHeaderIcon SEVEN WAYS TO BUILD TRUST IN YOUR BUSINESS

By Vernalee
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Building trust is a hard task. Of course, we know how difficult it is to trust someone in our personal relationships. Elevating that same trust factor to business associations takes us to another level. Without question, the average person likes dealing with someone that they like and can trust. When in your business relationships, trustworthiness affect your bottom line, it becomes a more serious matter. When it determines how much money we make and how much is directed elsewhere, it takes on a whole different meaning. When money is involved, so is seriousness. It becomes a different ball game; totally.
There are seven concrete actions that build trust in a business environment. “These actions build trust primarily through sincerity, reliability, communication, commitment, consistency, and competence. Let’s take a look.

1. Demonstrate that you trust others.
One way to do this is to be generous and forgiving when someone else makes a mistake or disappoints you in some way. People who always jump to the worst conclusion about a person’s competence or motivation inspire wariness, not trust.
Most people don’t set out to be mean or stupid, so give them the benefit of the doubt until you have contrary information that proves you wrong. You’ll feel better about them, and they’ll trust you for your generosity.

2. Create relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Customers, coworkers and employees all want to believe that they are making the right decision to work with you. This takes a lot more than clichés and platitudes. Customers should clearly understand the value of your products and services to them. Likewise, employees should feel good about taking ownership, which introduces an added measure of accountability and demonstrates the level of trust you have in them.
In other words, trust is about showing people that you care about them. In turn, they will care about and trust you.

3. Directly address issues.
Ruffled feathers are inevitable in any relationship. How you deal with concerns and problems is what instills trust and loyalty. In the course of a busy business day, it’s easy to get distracted and become disconnected with what’s happening on the front lines.
Customer trust develops from the first contact and extends through service delivery, implementation, care and support. At each step, you can either damage or enhance this experience for your customers. That’s why it’s so important to deliver on promises if you want to be trusted.
If you want people to trust you, you have to care. Address complaints fast. Share information. Gain their confidence. Exude pride and passion about your business. Resolve conflicts quickly. These actions separate you from the pack, while also building and maintaining trust.

4. Tell the truth.
Let’s say that one more time for good measure — tell the truth.
Never assume that certain people can’t handle the truth. Be as honest with your employees and customers as you expect them to be with you. If you get caught in a lie, no one will trust you. You don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression, so don’t count on it.
Keeping your promises is also a part of telling the truth. Don’t commit to a promise you can’t deliver. Think about what’s realistic, and do your best to live up to your word.

5. Be flexible and patient.
Be tolerant of mistakes, and don’t be an inflexible judge. Meet the other person in the middle. Be considerate of events and negative experiences that may have affected one’s ability to trust. Make exceptions to the rules when common sense dictates. Consider unusual alternatives for problems that can’t be resolved by typical methods.
Remember, trust is built over time, especially when you deal with someone who isn’t fortunate enough to have experienced trust in his or her own life.

6. Respect their time.
I believe that people in our society are losing their sense of civility, courtesy and respect. To get people to trust you, you will be well-served to raise your awareness of other people’s time, personal schedule and needs. This means you should:
Promptly return phone calls
Promptly reply to emails and thoroughly address all points raised
Be on time for meetings, and log on to a scheduled call two minutes in advance of start time
Hold fast to estimated call end times, and inquire if attendees are free to keep going.

7. Deliver the unexpected.
The best way to deliver trust is to surprise and delight clients and customers. Give them what they asked for, but on top of that, deliver more — more service, more time, more convenience and more sensitivity. Delivering more than they expect goes a long way and adds real value and trust. As a bonus, customers will tell others about how you delivered more. This should net you more business.
George MacDonald, the nineteenth century Scottish author and poet, said “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” In business, that’s the kind of compliment you can take to the bank.”
Now if you can master these business trust factors professionally, you can exercise many of the same forms of engagement in your personal life. I’m sorry. That may be more challenging since you find it hard to trust anyone! So I close with this question. Where is the balance when you expect others to trust you when you will not allow yourself to trust anyone? Just asking!
Photo credit: www.muitsun.com; Source: www.entrepreneur.com

PostHeaderIcon WERE YOU BORN TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?

By Vernalee
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Before you read this lengthy description, please know that I wasn’t born writing books or marketing plans! Certainty, I wasn’t born talking! I know many of you find the latter hard to believe, but it’s true. I do however believe that I was born to follow my passion and dreams. They placed me in the world of entrepreneurship. I am so glad that I landed there! Though a “Mom and Pop” operation, I grew up in a small business. The entrepreneurial spirit is in my bones. I love what I do! I’m happy!
Maybe, we might be joined at the hip in this entrepreneurial experience if this describes you. Let’s see.
Here are “50 habits that born-to-be entrepreneurs can’t help but show. How many do you possess?

1. You can’t sit still. You’re always itching to come up with something, and do something great.

2. You’re always coming up with ideas. Good or bad, the flow of ideas never stops.

3. You can pinpoint flaws in other ideas. It comes naturally to you.

4. You marvel at successful business owners. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, John Johnson, Bill Gates are just a few of your heroes.

5. You get excited when you see a successful business in action. Whether it’s a local bar or a supermarket franchise, you can’t help but smile when you see a good business.

6. You constantly think of ways to improve your employer’s business. When you’re at work, you only think about how it could be better.

7. You hate being told what to do. You’re resentful of taking orders.

8. You love to learn new things. How To’s and tutorials are what you’re all about.

9. You take things apart to see how they work. Remotes, toasters, phones — you love to see the inner workings.

10. You dream of wealth. Money isn’t everything, but you can’t help but have it on your mind.

11. You don’t give up easily. You face tough challenges but keep going.

12. You’re disciplined in your habits. You have set routines that don’t get broken easily.

13. You aren’t afraid of hard work. You give everything in your life 100 percent.

14. You have a high threshold for risk. You don’t take blind risks, but you don’t stay complacent either.

15. You meet as many people as you can. You aren’t afraid to branch out and meet new people.

16. You talk to everyone you meet. Strangers aren’t intimidating to you.

17. You bounce back from failure. You’ve experienced crushing failure, but it’s never stopped you from coming back.

18. You like calling the shots. You like the sound of being a director.

19. You set goals for yourself. Big or small, goals fill your life.

20. You help people whenever you can. You’re interested in the greater good.

21. You find challenges in everything you do. You seek out opportunities to challenge yourself.

22. You find ways to inspire people. You’re inspired by inspiration.

23. You plan everything down to the little details. Plans are a prerequisite for any activity.

24. You’re proud of yourself. You like who you are.

25. You help your friends solve their problems. You’re great at problem analysis.

26. You effectively delegate tasks and assign resources. In household chores and business operations alike.

27. You set deadlines for yourself. No excuses.

28. You like telling stories. You love to tell people about your experiences.

29. You’re hyper competitive. You can’t even play a board game without flipping that switch.

30. You get involved with things. You always ask if you can help.

31. You cut out things in your life that don’t work for you. If it’s inefficient or bothersome, it’s gone.

32. You negotiate whatever you can. Flea markets and salaries are just the beginning.

33. You see the potential in people. You don’t see people for who they are. You see them for who they could be.

34. You’re calm in a crisis. When stuff hits the fan, you still think logically.

35. You follow up with people when you want something. You don’t let opportunities go.

36. You avoid things that waste your time. You’re immune to mobile games and idle social-media time.

37. You persuade people to your side. You’re a natural rhetorician.

38. You make rational decisions, not emotional ones. For the most part, you trust your logic over your emotions.

39. You don’t forget people’s emotions. Still, there’s great sympathy in you.

40. You lose track of time when pursuing passion projects. Time seems to fly when you’re heads-down working on something.

41. You frequently start new passion projects. Every week, a new idea is transformed into a hobby.

42. You constantly upgrade your house (or car or anything). There’s always something to tinker with, replace or improve.

43. You’re crazy about new technology. You’re addicted to learning how new technologies can improve your life.

44. You read the news every day. It’s an ingrained habit.

45. You read books voraciously. Every book offers something new.

46. You listen to that internal voice. You trust your instincts.

47. You listen to others’ advice. You make your own decisions, but listen to others’ opinions too.

48. You don’t dwell in the past. When bad things happen, you keep moving forward.

49. You make sacrifices for what you want. You know you have to give things up to see greater success.

50. You never write off your dreams. You take your aspirations seriously. They’re a part of you.”

Welcome to my world! This description fits me! I’m there! Are you?
Photo credit: www.colourbox.com; Source: www.entrepreneur.com

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