Let’s Get Blogging Webinar

Your Guide to Great Content
In this webinar, we will discuss the benefits of posting a regular blog. Blogging is at the heart of your online presence. Learn the tips, tools and tricks that allow a blogging routine to become attainable, efficient and beneficial as you grow your business.
At this seminar, you will learn:
-How to come up with ideas and plan your blogging content
-What to include in a blog post
-How your blog can translate across your social media channels
-How to turn your blog into an email newsletter

Basic Business Tools Keeping Me Afloat (& They’re Free!)

Small business can be extremely overwhelming. I like to think I’ve become somewhat good at keeping it together but I owe it in (huge) part to the little pieces that rope it all in.






Small business can be extremely overwhelming. I like to think I’ve become somewhat good at keeping it together but I owe it in (huge) part to the little pieces that rope it all in.

Google Calendar

This has become my gospel on the day-to-day. It seems a simple tool but it really can do quite a lot for those of us who are feeling bogged down. It works both through mobile and desktop, so you can input meetings, deadlines, allotted work time – and occasionally a social event or two – whether you are out and about or behind your desk.

For me, I do the same work on Mondays and Tuesdays – content writing! So, it only makes sense to copy and paste the same event into my Calendar every week. Not with Google Calendar! You can actually repeat the event for as many weeks as you want or ending on a certain date. Have a recurring meeting or commitment? Try this tool out.

Google Calendar allows you to input the little details, from colour coating your meetings to location/address, to a time right down to the minute. If you have to meet someone in a specific place, it will even send you notifications at a desired time of your choice to let you know when you should leave your office or another appointment to arrive on time. My favourite part of Google Calendar is that I can invite my business contacts to meetings via email, no matter their email provider. I do this immediately after having a conversation with someone I’m meeting with and they are usually impressed by the turnaround time.

The catch: you have to have a Gmail email account to access Google Calendar.

Calendly

As a supplement to Google Calendar, there is Calendly, which syncs with Google Cal and allows others to choose a meeting time based on your availability. No longer is the hassle of emailing back and forth to find a time. They can simply look through your available times and choose one based on their own schedule. Once booked, it will automatically populate as a new event in your Google Calendar.

With Calendly, you can create a number of different events. For me, I offer a 15 Minute Social Media Discovery Session and a 1 Hour Social Media Audit Consultation. You simply link your prospects or associates to the specific event and they can decide from there. It leaves people feeling good, making it work for themselves and saving a lot of time booking.

The catch: It’s only free for a handful of event types – so for me, two types of events works just fine.

Hiveage

Although there are many invoicing softwares out there, I chose Hiveage. It is a free software, but it allows you to email invoices to your client’s inboxes. I like Hiveage because it allows me to duplicate invoices and my business structure is on a month-to-month payment system. Have a client who isn’t good at paying on time? You can send reminders.

The catch: Like all listed above, it does cost more to add features. Some useful paid features include estimate and bill creation software as well as automation in sending your invoices.

And there are many more I’m likely taking for granted, so stay tuned!

What Field Hockey Has Taught Me About Business  

 

I recently joined my local field hockey league to get in some much needed team time. I work solo for the most part – admittedly, it gets lonely. This was a great solution. We play one game a week for the summer. My favorite thing about it is the learning I get out of it (as well as the aggression!).

Full disclosure: I’m not a sports person! Please correct me on any misuse of sports jargon.

You have to adapt.

Imagine meeting your team of 15-or-so 15 minutes before the game. That’s a minute to get to know pretty well each person on your team. We used that time to practice, given we were all pretty rusty from last season. The last time I played was 14 months prior. (Also known as, ow!) However, we played really well and won with 2 goals! I was impressed. How did we manage to play so well in such little time? Adaptability: being thrown into some sort of large-scale change and pushing your way through it, with hockey stick in hand.

Small business owners are learning all the time. It’s important that we focus on learning new skills to build our businesses but these opportunities typically come out of left field.

Oh, and, get this: our team from week one was switched in week two so the adaptability continued.

Trust your instinct.

Another thing about meeting your team shortly before game one is that you don’t know who is going to play which position and who is going to play it well. We mapped out positions shortly before the game, but we didn’t know each other’s names well so we had to feel out our passes. My issue when I play sports is that I think too hard and miss major plays. Being thrown into a new team environment put pressure on trusting one’s instinct.

Business is a fast-paced environment. You make major decisions each and every day, like “should I take on that client” or “what task should I complete first?” Trust your instinct and everything will fall into place.

You can’t play every position.

Field hockey is played on a large field with 12 players per team, including the goalie. It’s hard to be everywhere on the field. You need to stay within the confines of your position. The confines will move around a bit, depending on where the ball is on the field, but for the most part, you need to be nearest to the positions beside your own and try not to leave your nook.

In business, I’ve learned that I’m horrible at taxes and I can’t read legal jargon, so it’s important for me to outsource these things. You can’t play every position and you can’t do everything in your business on your own, unless you want to muddle up the game … or the business.

Short corners can happen in business.

In field hockey, a short corner is a penalty given to the defending team in the penalty corner. It also poses as an opportunity for the opposing team, allowing them close range to the net to score. If you play it right, you can have 2 or 3 short corners in a row. It’s basically like watching time repeat itself – pretty cool. In business, you get short corners when mistakes are made or errors occur. Short corners allow businesses to pick up where they fell down and make things better.

What sports rules apply to your business routines and structures?

Defining My Motivators

In a past post, I discussed the importance of discerning what motivates you to work hard and maintain a steady path of success. I’d like to discuss what motivates me as I build my own business and solidify my personal brand.

Loss

After the tragic passing of my father over the summer, Continue reading “Defining My Motivators”

Blogging 101: How to Get Started

Why blog? Better yet, why aren’t you blogging? Blogging is as crucial as it is horrifying. There is a fairly common anxiety that comes with staring at a blank screen and trying to find the first word, let alone the right words. The following will explore different methods of brainstorming and organization tactics for your blog, Continue reading “Blogging 101: How to Get Started”

Determine Your Motivators

With the New Year off to a running – okay, sprinting – start, many of us feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. It is tiresome and stress-inducing. Some people have set goals and resolutions and we can see them being followed, if only at a distance. It is often hard to tell how a person is feeling and coping from the outside, though. Motivation keeps us going, but it doesn’t protect us from stress. Continue reading “Determine Your Motivators”

Master Your LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn is Facebook with a purpose. People are engaged – they interact through comments, likes and endorsements – because LinkedIn goes beyond just a social connection. It is professional, where your profile and interactions become major components of your personal brand. At That’s the Idea, we believe in transparent storytelling through social media. LinkedIn is the perfect tool to tell your work journey interactively Continue reading “Master Your LinkedIn Account”

6 Networking Tips I Learned During Global Entrepreneurship Week

As a social media advocate, I am all about connecting with people online. However, this absolutely needs to be on par with face-to-face connections that build up your personal brand and your business. I spent this whole week networking and I learned a lot along the way. Check it out:

  1. Don’t network for a whole week. Continue reading “6 Networking Tips I Learned During Global Entrepreneurship Week”

Networking in Ontario this November

November should really be coined “Networking Month”, at least for That’s the Idea and it’s one and only employee, Jill Kennedy. I feel like I have been tossed – lovingly – into a great series of events this month. I wanted to highlight the events and the benefits that come with them.

 

Generally Speaking

For those on the job hunt and new business owners who frequent the Greater Toronto Area, there are plenty of opportunities to be found through Meetups and Eventbrite. With a quick profile creation on each, you can search for networking events close to home. Not only will this save you money and travel time, but it will build you a network in your own community.

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Local Events for Durham Region Business Owners 

Hey Durham Region-ers! We have quite a lot going on around here. I gained access to multiple groups in my local area using tools like Meetups and Eventbrite and by meeting new people who introduced me to other groups. Here are a few I’ve taken interest in:

  • TheNetworker.Today: Durham Region Chapter – A monthly Meetup group focused in online marketing, but flexible in allowing small business owners to present their expertise. I attended my first meetup with this group on November 5th and we discussed the subconscious limits we set for ourselves and our accomplishments. It was a great session.
  • Durham Contact Business Exchange – A local group that meets for monthly networking breakfasts. There is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business and get to know others around you. Each month, a guest speaker presents for a short period of the breakfast. It is a great group for meeting lasting contacts. The membership fee is $50 a year, but you can attend your first event for the individual event fee as a guest.
  • The BOSs’s Business Breakfast – A monthly breakfast event to network with local business owners from across Durham Region. There are networking activities, speakers of the month and prize draws each month. It is quite a fun and uplifting event where you can meet a variety of business owners. They also have a Lunch event now, too!
  • Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade – A group that meets multiple times each month. Like most boards of trades,  your name becomes a main contact for your area of expertise. The annual fee for a business owner with no employees is $215 and it goes up from there. The benefits of joining are that your event fee costs are lowered and costs of office supplies, gas, e-mail marketing, and some insurances are lowered too.

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  • Do It In Durham: Global Entrepreneurship Week – Between November 17-23, 40 events are cropping up all over the Durham Region – there is even one in Beaverton! A lot of the events are seminars on different topics around small business but some are more social and focused on networking. I am excited to take part in this week-long series and can’t wait to meet new entrepreneurs. Oh, and almost forgot: the majority of the events are free! “Free” is music to my entrepreneurial ears.

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Ontario Events

 

This month, I am attending two conferences!

November 22nd: Socialight 2014, Toronto – It is always a treat to attend an uplifting conference that enlightens one to get back out into the world and get the business rolling. This will be my first time attending this conference, so I am excited to learn more about it as the week goes on.

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November 26th: Startup Canada’s Day on the Hill, Ottawa – I am taking the train out to Ottawa in a couple weeks for the Day on the Hill conference! I can’t wait to meet all of the lovely entrepreneurs taking part and to hear all of the speakers. Oh, and bonus points: I am staying in the Ottawa Jail for the nights I’ll be there. I am an odd mix of excited and horrified but I know it will be an experience I’ll always remember.

Where do you find awesome events to attend? What conferences are you checking out in the next few months? I’d love to learn a little bit about your business, dear reader, and to hear some tricks for event-finding you’ve picked up in your business experiences.