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Just a short note today about how thankful I am.
I’m so thankful that my work allows me to be with folks who need me. I’ve got friends who need someone to drive them to their doctor’s visit today, and because my schedule is flexible, I’m able to do that.
I’m also thankful about my schedule, because some of our younger granddaughters may need to come stay with us this summer, because their parents both may have to have surgery during the same time. I’ll be able to take care of them while their parents are recuperating; their parents won’t have to worry about doing the things that little girls need and can get well quicker.
I’m glad I work from home, so I can do these things – the things I lose because I don’t work in an office are nothing stacked up against the blessings I get from being at home with my family.

It’s already the end of January, and I just don’t get it. I look back over the things I’ve done in the past 27 days, and there’s been a lot of activity, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it should have gone this fast.
How about this for a fact? “Life is like a roll of toilet paper- the closer to end you get, the faster it goes…”
One twelfth of the year is now behind us… and as they like to say around Christmas – only 11 more months until the holidays!
Hope you’re making your days count!

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

Blog list….

23/01/09

I know, I know- the list of blogs I’m following is pretty long. And it probably won’t get any shorter. I don’t read every blog every day, but I do keep them handy, because there’s always something interesting going on.
For example, I was just referred to my newest blog (http://paulmisner.com/wp/) on Twitter – the title of the post is “Jesus is my Sales Manager”; I know from that post that I’m going to enjoy reading this blog.
What blogs are you following?

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

Lucky Me…

02/01/09


Water Tower #2
Originally uploaded by bethmrogers

I’m one of the most fortunate people I know. I live in a beautiful area of southern Alabama, and within a ten mile radius of my house, I have wonderful country to photograph. And this beautiful view is what I can see every afternoon, just by standing in the middle of my front yard.
I got this shot just last week; I was walking by a window while getting some work done, and happened to look out- and there it was.
The only thing that could make things better, would be to have a beautiful lake in my front yard. While that’s not going to be possible, one of my dreams/goals for this year is to put in a small goldfish pond in front of my house, and turning it into an outdoor living room- I’ve got all kinds of beautiful plants that can be moved around it, including confederate roses, grapevine, hydrangeas, wisteria and all kinds of day lilies.
It will take some planning to get all this done, because I want to make sure we don’t mess with any water lines, but I know it can be done.
If you’ve got dreams, write them down- and turn them into plans, by writing down all the details that will have to be done to make it a reality. The more real a dream is to you, the more likely it will become a plan.

Author: Beth R - Categories: country life,my home town,time and money

2008 Review

23/12/08

Okay, so looking back on 2008, what are the things I’d change? what new things did I try that are now favorites? what things need to be worked on? what things do I want to try for the first time in 2009?
I still tend to procrastinate, especially when it’s things I’m not looking forward to- like most people. In ’09, I plan on handing bothersome tasks better- do them as soon as possible during the day, then rewarding myself with a very enjoyable activity afterwards; this way I get them done quicker, and then I don’t have time to build up dread.
I will be taking more pictures of my family – I take lots of pictures, but they tend more towards nature, and the kids around me; my brothers and I created a family calendar for our parents for Christmas, using family pictures – each person or couple will have their own month’s page. Next year, I’ll have more photographs to choose from, instead of having to ‘borrow’ some from the guys.
I will also be offering a photo session to any of the older couples and singles at church who would like one – they’re on fixed incomes, and can’t afford to have a good portrait of themselves; one couple’s last portrait was done over ten years ago. I know they’ll enjoy having it done, and their children will be glad of them later.
I’m a good bit heavier than I need to be – I will drink more water and walk more often during the week; even if I don’t lose a lot of weight, I’ll be healthier.
In 2008, I was more adventurous in my riding – I’ll continue that, branching out even farther on my little jaunts.
I will allocate more time to writing and drawing/painting. I have some talent, but it needs to be practiced in order to improve. I am also going to schedule time several times a week to practicing and improving my guitar skills – I’ve got a very nice 6 string acoustic, and a lovely 12-string acoustic that are begging to be played- it’s an awful waste and I won’t do it any more.
I’ll be more aggressive in pursuing my goals and dreams- I have lots of things I want to do and if I don’t make my mind up to do them, they won’t get done. When they involve another person, obviously I’m not going to jump ahead, but I will lay out my ideas clearly so they can see exactly what I’m expecting.
I’ve always heard it said that it’s just as easy to ask forgiveness as to ask permission, but I don’t hold with that too much. Too many times having to ask forgiveness for doing something that goes against someone else’s wishes, will eventually hurt the relationship more than it can be repaired.
Last of all, and probably the most important, I’ll cherish the time I have with my family and friends – the Bible says we aren’t promised tomorrow, and I know that for certain. Several of my friends have faced very close calls, and are still with us, but that doesn’t mean the next time won’t be the last time.
Have a blessed Christmas!

Author: Beth R - Categories: family and friends,time and money

Insurance…

21/11/08

I am always amazed when people say they buy life insurance ‘in case something happens to them’ – I have only ever heard of two people who left this earth without dying – Enoch and Elijah. Everybody else has to be prepared for the time when they die; which brings me to my point.
How is your business covered? I’m not talking about life insurance, because I’m sure you’ve got that covered.
I’m talking about the day to day things that happen in your business:
*what happens to your clients when you die or are unable to work? Do you have a plan in place to make sure they’re taken care of?
*what about your current projects? will someone you trust be able to step in and complete the work, or will someone be able to help your current clients find a new partner to finish their work?
*have you already discussed partnering for this with a trusted person in your business? someone whose work ethics are on the same keel as yours, and who can work with your clients to their satisfaction…
*do you have your passwords and file backups in a place that someone can find?
*are you up to date on notes on your clients and prospects, so someone stepping in won’t have to start from scratch?
After making sure my family is taken care of, I want to make sure my clients are cared for; I want the transition to their new designer to be an easy one.
Are you prepared?

Author: Beth R - Categories: marketing,time and money

Fluid Design

20/11/08

For as long as I’ve been designing websites, I’ve almost always designed using a fluid design- one that is set up so that it ‘fits’ the screen of the viewer, as often as possible. Obviously you can’t fit everyone’s screen, because some people use a small portion of their monitor to view the internet, saving another portion for their other open apps.
However, I feel this is the best way to go for most sites. If I use tables in the design, I set them so that they only use a percentage of the screen size. I did have a client who had purchased a template online, and we made some adjustments to it to customize for their site – he actually pulled out a ruler and showed me that the lines on each side of the design were not the same width, even though I had them set at the same pixel width. He also wanted the site to be perfect on his monitor, which was a fairly large one…
The problem with making a site ‘perfect’ on your monitor? You’re forgetting that your customer is who you should be building your site for. My goal for website customers is to make a site that visitors can easily navigate, will enjoy viewing, looks good on their monitor, and is easily readable to them. That usually means, among other things, that I don’t set exact font sizes in the design, but rather set it at ‘large’ or ‘medium’ according to how the font looks.
I do this for one simple reason – if I am on a site with tiny print, I will hold my CTRL button and use the scroll wheel on my mouse to enlarge it – if that doesn’t work, I usually don’t hang around very long. Life is too short to strain my eyes trying to read something in microscopic print.
Any site needs to look good, but it’s most important that viewers can use it easily – and if they can’t, what is that saying to them? “If you’re not cool enough to use this site, then we don’t want your business” is what it says to me. And I don’t want to be responsible for a site that’s saying that.

Author: Beth R - Categories: design,marketing,time and money

Time Management

29/09/08

Last week I wrote about contact management- today I’d like to say a little about time management.
We all have the same amount of time each week to get things done. There are so many hours each day that are already spoken for – you have to sleep, eat and refresh yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
So, you’ve got to make the remaining hours count. There are all kinds of time management systems on the market, so there’s sure to be a system that meets your needs.
I use the Franklin-Covey paper system in combination with Outlook. My daily tasks go into my datebook, with recurring tasks set in Outlook to remind me. I’ve tweaked both systems until they work the way I want. I use some FC forms; some forms I’ve found on other forms on 43 Folders that I like, and other forms I’ve created on my computer to print as I need them.
Most every seminar or class on time management that I’ve attended has used the pickle jar story. The basic story is that if you’ve got to get a whole bunch of stuff in a pickle jar, start out with the big stuff, then move down the list; in other words, plan for your most important tasks, then work the others in as you’ve got time.
My point is that everyone should be able to find some system that works for them. Once you find it, USE it… it does no good at all to have a beautiful leather planner with all kinds of forms, dated pages and envelopes in it, if all you do is lug it around and show it off to people. It’s kinda like those folks who own a gorgeous Yamaha Raider motorcycle that’s completely dressed out with every chrome bling on it that’s available; but they’re afraid they’ll get it dirty so it sits in their garage – it’s basically a huge paperweight…
I have two planners I use – one has 1 1/2 inch rings, and the other has 2 inch rings. It depends on how full my life is at the moment – right now, things are very busy so I use the bigger rings to hold more ‘stuff’. In a few months, things may back off and I’ll move back to the smaller rings.
If you’re not sure what system might work for you, check out some of the following places to get some ideas. Franklin Covey, 43 Folders, DayRunner, Outlook/Palm (if you’re running a computer with Windows, you’ve got Outlook Express, which may work for you, but you may need more). And don’t be afraid to ask others what system they use- they’ll be flattered you want their input, and they may have some ideas you hadn’t considered…

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

I sometimes get mired down by ‘pushy paper’ – you know, those little notes,letters, ads and other things on your desk that you need to deal with, but somehow can’t find time to do. They end up getting pushed around from one corner of my desk to another.
Most of the things in my little stack are things that could taken care of very quickly, but I put them off, and I rationalize that since they’re such little things, I can get them done later.
I’ve made a conscious decision to set aside 30 minutes at least once a day to work through these items. For example, I had a stack of business cards sitting on my desk that I’ve collected on my runs around town -they’ve now been entered into my Outlook contacts list, with notes on who the person is and how I met them. I’ve also edited my list of categories in Outlook, so they’re more effective.
I also make notes in any appropriate fields in Outlook – if I only know that the business manager’s name is Jim, I enter that, sorting the contact to list it under only the business name, but I also add a task to find out a little more about Jim- last name, hobbies, etc. Then if I think he’ll make a good source of assistance to someone else, I list him in that category, too. If I can get several of his business cards, I’ll pass them along to folks who can use his help. I’ll make any notes I can in in the miscellaneous field.
I’m not trying to sell you on Outlook; I love it and use it as much as possible, even looking for new ways to use it. But you might have a different system that works for you. The point is to use it for all it’s worth.
Besides Outlook on my computers, I also use the Franklin Covey paper system (2 pages per day and sometimes that’s not enough!); my cell phone is a Palm Centro which syncs to Outlook and keeps as much information as possible on it.
One other suggestion- no matter what your system, make sure you keep it safe. If it’s a paper system, make sure you keep your planner with you; if you’re using a computer-based program, back it up often. I speak from experience: several years ago I bought an external hard drive that I keep all my documents and files on and it’s backed up onto another computer. However, I failed to back up my Outlook files, and when my system crashed, I lost all my emails, and even worse, my notes and contacts. Thankfully I had printed my contacts list to a pdf file, but the notes I had are gone. Some I could recreate, but not all.
Remember, if it’s important enough to you to save in the first place, make a back up!

Author: Beth R - Categories: time and money

A few years ago I was offered a short-term position as a radio ad salesperson; to prepare for that job I visited my favorite bookstore and found a copy of the book “The Accidental Salesperson” by Chris Lytle. It’s been one of the best investments I ever made for my career.
Lytle uses unorthodox methods to make his points, including suggestions for movies to watch on how to NOT be a successful salesperson. And like a good preacher, he finds lessons in all kinds of situations, including an airport shoe shine man.
Make sure you read all the way to the end of the book – there’s a special section on Chris’ website that is accessible only to readers of the book.
And if you’re thinking “But I’m not a salesperson”, remember, everybody is a salesperson in some part of their life. While the book is geared towards advertising sales, it can be translated to other types of marketing.
This is a great system, and Chris also offers marketing emails several times a week, that are also helpful.
If you need a good boost in your sales career, find this book and buy it. At about $18, it’s worth every penny. Buy it, read and study it, and get the system in gear. You’ll be glad you did.

Author: Beth R - Categories: marketing,time and money
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