How to Avoid Devastating Frustrations with Employees

How to avoid devastating frustrations with employees.

How to avoid devastating frustrations with employees.

During the hiring boom in Silicon Valley, I was a hiring manager at a big corporate firm. And the two biggest things the managers said to avoid? Hiring someone lazy or crazy. That was it. If you showed up and weren’t crazy, you’d have the job! By the way, you might like this article: How Diversity Attracts Valuable People to Your Startup.

Just Show Up!

Just Show Up!

Just Show Up!

Where I live now, the same advice might apply (that is, avoiding the crazy and the lazy). I call people to do a little work on the house, and half the time they don’t show up, or they call at the last minute or the following day to say they can’t make it. Are you kidding me? I’d give someone extra credit if they asked some intelligent questions and had done some homework before showing up. Forbes has a good article: Don’t Show Up to a Job Interview Without Doing This.

Showing up is at least half the battle.

Truth in Labeling

Truth in Labeling

Truth in Labeling

People put on clothes and go outside, and look pretty normal. It’s not as if everyone has a label that says I’m crazy. Wouldn’t that be helpful if they did, though? What if you could tell that a contractor wouldn’t show up? Sometimes Yelp reviews help, but not always.

The 90-day trial

The 90-day trial

The 90-Day Trial

Most people can’t fake being sane (if they’re not!) for 90 days. They will have an “incident in the parking lot,” go off on a server in a restaurant, or otherwise show their true colors within three months. Maybe a lot of places do this now. Seems like a pretty good idea!

Temp-to-Perm

Temp-to-Perm

Temp-to-Perm

If you don’t like confrontation, creating a temporary gig is wonderful. If there’s any problem, don’t renew the contract. It’s a once-only deal, and nobody expects anything. Similar to the 90-day trial, but without any expectations. If projects are late or lacking, don’t renew that contract.

Using Interns

Using Interns

Using Interns

Many companies at desirable places now have positions for interns. This seems like a good idea, too, so long as the interns are paid for their work. I’ve never been a big fan of the unpaid positions, which seem like slave labor. You might like this article Unpaid Internships: Unfair and Unethical, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

interns photo

Ask Around

Before hiring someone, I tend to ask my friends, or loose-knit groups in my area what they think of someone. For instance, there are lots of Facebook groups that cover specific geographic areas. Twitter can be helpful, too, when looking for help. And be sure to ask what someone’s strengths are so that you can focus on those.

Ask Offline

Sometimes, people don’t want to be critical of others, but if you ask what they thought of a specific person off the record, they’ll respond. Or, if you see someone who’s had some work done, you can ask what they thought of the person. For instance, one of my neighbors had a fence constructed recently, so I could simply walk over and ask. Easy peasy. Same goes for someone you might want to hire for a long-term position.

Avoided Any Hiring Mistakes?

Have you done anything special to prevent hiring mistakes? Or have you hired someone who was wonderful? Let me know in the comments! And thank you!

 

How to: Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home, Part Two

How to: Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home

How to: Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home

How’s your home office looking these days? A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the best home office upgrades, but couldn’t finish it because of no light. Ok, it was a couple of months ago, but who’s counting? Here, then, are some real upgrades.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics

So my office isn’t perfect, but it is ergonomically in the Pretty Good arena. There are lots of 90 degree angles, although I’ve had to use a book to keep my legs at the correct angle. I found this article about how to set up an ergonomic workstation helpful.

Printer and Shredder

Printer and Shredder

Printer and Shredder

Now a shredder is something I have had since my days as a professional organizer. At the time, Staples still had a lot of shredders sitting around, and I tested all of them to get the quietest one. Yes, really. Spend a little more to get a quiet one, preferably a cross-cut one.

The printer is nothing fancy: a four-in-one HP printer. Occasionally, I’ll have to stop everything and run to the store to get printer ink. Us entrepreneurs are so lucky that way.

Giant Calendar

Giant Calendar

Giant Calendar

If you do a lot of speaking or have lots of different events for your business, a giant calendar helps remind you of what you’re doing when, and whether you have too much or too little down time. Don’t forget to schedule vacations, too!

Lighting Backdrop for Chats and Video

Lighting Backdrop for Chats and Video

Lighting Backdrop for Chats and Video

Yes, I’ve got special lights for Google Hangouts, especially if they’re recorded! You might as well do the best job you can and try to look as good as possible while doing it. Unless it’s a podcast with no video, that is. In that case, you can hang out in your bathrobe and nobody will care.

 concert photo

Music – Spotify

Having some white noise or quiet music is so important for stress reduction. As an introvert, absolute quiet is good, too. By the way, if you missed this article about introverts, here you go: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.

 concert photo

What Helps You Work From Home?

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something! Does your dog sleep on your desk, for instance? Do your kids help you with office chores? Let me know in the comments! And thank you.

How to SuperCharge Your Blog Posts On Social Media 10 Easy Ways

 

How to SuperCharge Your Blog Posts On Social Media 10 Easy Ways

How to SuperCharge Your Blog Posts On Social Media 10 Easy Ways

Your company or startup is just getting started on social media. You have 72 followers after three months of pushing hard and daily posting. After a full day’s work, you have no energy to post, let alone think about social media! What to do, what to do? Here are some easy ways to get more mileage out of your posts.

Hashtags

Hashtags

Hashtags

Keep a list of the best ones for your company and add them automagically every time you post. No need to reinvent the wheel. Look at your competitors and see what they’re doing. Here’s a wonderful article about Instagram hashtags: How to Use Instagram Hashtags.

Repost Your Article with a Different Image

Repost Your Article with a Different Image

Repost Your Article with a Different Image

This is particularly easy if your post includes more than one image. Just use the second (or third one). And don’t forget–most people won’t read your wonderful writing, but some will retweet/repost it.

Repost with a New Headline

Repost with a New Headline

Repost with a New Headline

You thought about another headline while you were writing your post, didn’t you? Dig that one out and use it now! By the way, if you need help writing headlines, you might like Headline Writing: Ten Reasons It’s a Pain in the Asterisk*, by moi.

Recycle that Post

Recycle that Post

Recycle that Post

Nobody remembers that you used that post two weeks ago (at least not on Twitter!), so use it again. Try a different time. Early morning will hit the people on the east coast, and late night will bring in readers on the west coast.

Do a Quick Rewrite

Do a Quick Rewrite

Do a Quick Rewrite

If the post is a little older, why not update it and republish it? Surely not everyone can recall that post from 2009! And that includes you! You could also rewrite a blog post so it ranks higher.

Change the Voice

Change the Voice

Change the Voice

You can make that post more casual or more formal to appeal to different readers. Read it aloud and change it accordingly.

Stagger the Times You Post

Stagger the Times You Post

Stagger the Times You Post

Post it on Facebook at 9 a.m., Twitter at noon, LinkedIn at 3 p.m., Instagram at 5 p.m., Pinterest at 7 p.m., etc.

Use a Customized Post for Each Platform

Use a Customized Post for Each Platform

Use a Customized Post for Each Platform

Each social media platform has a different language. Use the language of each platform so your headline catches the most people. Here’s a post about the different social media platforms and languages of each you might like.

Include Friends in the Post

Include Friends in the Post

Include Friends in the Post

If your writing makes you think of a company or person you know, include them when you write your post. Make sure to include a link to their website or one of their posts, too. Everybody needs a few links in and links out.

Tag Your Friend When You Post

Tag Your Friend When You Post

Tag Your Friend When You Post

Tell your friend that you included them in your post. Not all your friends will read your post without your telling them, so go ahead and let them know. Most people will be flattered!

How Do You Keep Posts Alive?

Do you have any tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments! And thank you!

How to Best Work with a Social Media Manager

How to Best Work with a Social Media Manager

How to Best Work with a Social Media Manager

Maximize Your Time

How can you maximize your time so I can do my best work and get you the best return on your social media investment? Here are some ideas for you.

Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience

Is your audience young? Do they like sports? Are they in the manufacturing sector? Having a very narrow idea of who your audience is will speed up my work. And please don’t tell me that everyone is your audience! Unless you sell air or water, and even then, what kind of air or water do you sell? And here’s Rebranding for Startups, in case you missed it!

business woman photo

Speak to Your Audience

So if you have a forty-something mom who likes to drink too much coffee, I can taylor posts so that we’re talking to her. And the more specific you can be about who that person is, the better the social engagement will be. I can write blog posts or headlines for social posts. Chris Lema suggests that you understand not just who your audience is, but what their journey is.

Tell Me Your Audience’s Journey

Not everyone will buy from you when they first meet you. Some people will leave, come back, drive you crazy with questions, and so on. Bigger purchases usually require more questions, more visits to your website or social media, and more touch points.

 Engage, Engage, Engage

It’s never simply about posting and going, or scheduling. Getting onto your social accounts every day is important. And guess what? You’re running your company! So while you’re busy running your company, I can be busy running your accounts for you. By the way, here’s an entire series I wrote on engagement. Take a look!

schedule photo

Scheduling

I can schedule ahead of time for you, and if you have your own scheduler, I can use it so you can see what’s coming down the pipeline. Would you like that? Some business owners don’t want anything to do with their social, just a monthly report.

schedule photo

What Does Your Business Stand for?

You may have hobbies or charities that work with your business. For instance, my friend Beth Staub’s business, Adventure Auto Glass, donates to animal organizations when you do business with them. Or you may be a manufacturer who believes that Made in the USA is the way to go.

What Do You Look For?

What traits do you look for in a social media manager? Leave me a comment and thank you!

WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

 

The Pre-Party AKA K2 Racing

Racing with other WordPress fans? Such a fun time!

The Swag

Here are just a few of the lovely items, including the third place for racing with the other tortoises. Overheard: “I wouldn’t want to pass anyone. Someone might get hurt!” And a heartfelt thank you to host Dreamhost for sponsoring WomenWhoWP and this event.

WordCamp Swag

WordCamp Swag

The Friendly Faces

Bridget Willard and I went to our first WordCamp Orange County in 2013! It’s become a ritual for us. You might have a WordCamp buddy, too! If you’d like to read about past Orange County WordCamps, here you go:

The Volunteers

There were way more volunteers than shown in the picture, but here are a few! There were people helping everywhere, with parking, with snacks, with coffee, etc.

More Swag

This year, the swag was beautiful. In particular, I truly appreciated the gorgeous notebooks from Dreamhost!

The Generosity of Chris Lema

Chris Lema gave away his structure for how he blogs. How incredibly generous is that? Go follow him on Twitter and check out his blog!

Reconnecting with Friends

So fun to reconnect with Verious B. Smith III, Yvonne Conway, and so many others!

The Learning

Speaking of which, Yvonne Conway gave us a wonderful session on Cybersecurity, Russian hackers, and you!

The Selfies

Selfie with Bridget Willard and Amy Hall

Selfie with Bridget Willard and Amy Hall

Capturing the Selfie

Jason Tucker caught us! Pretty funny!

What Were Your Highlights?

What was your top reason for going?

Eleven Amazing Ways An Editor Can Make You Fascinating

Eleven Amazing Ways An Editor Can Make You Fascinating

Eleven Amazing Ways An Editor Can Make You Fascinating

Why use an editor at all? Many of you might ask this question every day. After all, there are about a million apps and plug-ins that help you to write. Some of them can even help you dumb down your writing to the 6th grade level so that 12-year-olds can comprehend your words. But is that really your audience? Twelve-year-olds?

Editors Are Old-School, But Then Again, No

Editors Are Old-School, But Then Again, No

Editors Are Old-School, But Then Again, No

After all, isn’t having an editor a bit old-fashioned? Like using an old-school typewriter? Well, no, not really. You see, an editor can make your work flow, especially a great editor who can do a structural edit. A structural edit looks at the big picture–see Robert Doran’s article So What Is a Structural Edit Exactly?

typing photo

Get in the Flow

Speaking of flow, a good editor can help the sentences flow from one paragraph to the next. If the style changes, if the verbs and nouns disagree or even fight each other (a terrible sight!), an editor can help.

typing photo

They Know More Words Than You

Not only that, but they know what parts of speech those words belong in. Sheesh, does that even make sense? I might have to stop and ask an editor!

typing photo

They Are Not Afeared of Semicolons

Or colons. And when to use an ellipses (…). And what an em dash is! Who the heck knows what an em dash is?! Seriously. Who does? By the way, here’s a snazzy article about punctuation, from the Living Oxford Dictionary. (I particularly like their explanation of the Oxford comma.)

new york street photo

Contrary to Popular Belief, They’re Not Meanies

Now, some people are clearly too sensitive to work with an editor. And I remember back in the day when my words were me. Do you know what I mean? But now they’re just words–doing their own thing. It’s the thoughts behind the words that really matter.

new york street photo

They Are Actually Nice

We all know that mean people suck (a bumpersticker that no editor would ever put on her Honda Civic, by the way), but editors are not people who suck. They are kind 97% of the time. The other 3% of the editors are suffering from psychological damage.

new york street photo

They Help Your Writing Soar

If you’re a perfectionist, then you are ripe for an editor. Because an editor can make your writing soar. And not in a Red Bull gives you wings kind of way, either.

They Can Remove All the Weird Bits

Everyone has a few things they always do. We all kinda sorta make mistakes that can make our writing less than good. But with the digital equivalent of the red pen, an editor can get rid of those. In other words, a good editor won’t let you embarrass yourself.

new york street photo

Make Your Writing More Concise, Editors Can

If you have the tendency to write like Yoda speaks, as do I sometimes, an editor help you can. By the way, if you don’t have the skill of writing like Yoda, you can use the Yoda Translator.  And you write yourself into a grammatical corner if also assist you an editor can. Did you see what I did there?

Your Writing Might Not Be As Good As You Think It is

Or maybe it is! But only an editor will tell you the truth. By the way, here’s an article about how to write a headline that people will want to click.

new york street photo

Editors Need Love, Too

If you don’t own a mug that says Have You Hugged An Editor Today?, then you might want to think about getting one.

Do You Love Editors?

Tell me about your love in the comments! And thank you!

How to Work Your Wonderful Strengths, Forget Your Weaknesses

How to Work Your Wonderful Strengths, Forget Your Weaknesses

How to Work Your Wonderful Strengths, Forget Your Weaknesses

Strengthfinders

By now, everyone has heard of Strengthfinders, and most people have done the test. But are you really using the advice from strengthfinders every day? I have to review mine every once in a while. (Achiever and Connectedness). Which of the 34 Strengthfinder strengths do you have?

bmw m3 race photo

Achievers and Achievement

As an Achiever, I feel as though every day starts at zero, and need to achieve every day. Even on Memorial Day, as I write these words, I need to get things done before heading off to the baseball game. To work this strength, I can partner with other hard workers. I could also take pictures for this very blog post!

bmw m3 race photo

The Gamification of Hard Work

Now that more and more of our everyday life is becoming gamified, how about gamifying your own achievements? Receive points for finishing projects, reaching milestones, and more. By the way, you might like this article: Gamification of Social Media. And, in fact, many brands use gamification to reach more people on their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. “Join our contest!” they say, and then add, “tag a friend, and you’ll be entered twice!”

MLB scout photo

Connectedness

Being connected to something larger is one of my own strengths, and maybe yours, too. Humility and gratitude come along with Connectedness because without them, there can be no Connectedness. So listening to others, and seeing deeper connections help me to focus on this strength.

Forget “Us” and “Them”

However, convincing others of the deeper connections in life would not help my connectedness, so I’d avoid that. Also, I’d avoid anyone who thinks along the lines of “us” and “them.” Oh, boy. Sounds a lot like the current political climate, doesn’t it?

Focus on Strengths Energizes

Focus on Strengths Energizes

Focus on Strengths Energizes

As Susan Peppercorn mentions in her article The Benefits of Using Your Strengths at Work,

“Strengths also energize us. Did you ever notice yourself involved in something where you lost track of time because you were so engaged? That’s an indication that you were using one or more of your strengths.” ~ Susan Peppercorn

You wouldn’t expect a pitcher to be able to hit like Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants. Even ball players focus on what their strengths are, although during the SF Giants – Nationals Game on Memorial Day, there was more fighting than runs.

Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland maybe should stick to baseball. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments! And thank you!

 

How to: Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home

How to: Ten Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home

How to: Best Upgrades You Need When You Work from Home

Who Works from Home?

Everybody works from home sometimes. The better question might be: Who doesn’t work from home?

This post was inspired by Patricia Phillips (The Aspen Stand’s) post To Work From Home or Not to Work From Home?

desk chair photo

Lighting

At first, I was going to write about my own home office, which is in a loft. And, I must admit that after looking at Patricia’s office, I became a teensy bit jealous. I mean, look at her office, in the link above. Check out the lighting. And that orange wall! More on that wall later.

Here’s where the picture of my office would be.

That is, if I could take a picture. But, you see, there isn’t enough light to take a picture! Because my office sucks. It’s as dark as a night on The Walking Dead. That is, in one of the earlier, scarier episodes where Glenn is still alive and Carl isn’t so annoying.

A small task light would help in a dark office like mine. And for computer work, well-distributed diffuse light, as recommended by OSHA, would help to prevent eye fatigue and headaches. If you suffer a dip in energy as well as a rise in depression during the darker months, a light therapy box, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic could be very helpful.

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

But in my dark, dark office, you just have to hold a flashlight with your mouth while you try to type, because that’s how it is.

jungle desk photo

Wall of Color

Back to that beautiful orange wall. In this post, the one that you are reading right now, you are not going to get a wall of color. Instead, you’re getting a wall of text, and I hope you’re okay with that.

Back to the Future

Later, maybe after there is some light that doesn’t come from a flashlight, maybe I will add a wall o’ color. Or, heck, maybe a map. Or a photo!

jungle desk photo

Desk

My desk has always been my favorite thing of the office. If you have a furry officemate (see below) who likes to step all over your keyboard just for spite, then a pull-out drawer is a must-have. When I see that little furball coming, I can push in the keyboard tray. She still likes to slap the monitor for fun, but I’ve never sent an email composed of “^%$#$%%%%%%” since getting the keyboard tray!

Do You Have a Standing Desk?

Of course now standing desks are all the rage. Do you like those? Me, too. I don’t have one, though.

 desk chair photo

Chairs

I have a chair, and I’d take a picture of it, but this office is too dark!

 

Who Owns Your Office?

Who Owns Your Office?

Officemates

If, like me, you have a furry person who shares your office with you, then you fully realize that you don’t own anything in your office. You probably have three blankets and two pillows just for your furry friend, am I right? The only “pets” you have are the dust bunnies behind the printer.

Blogjacking

Originally, I was going to write about all the swell things you could have if you upgraded your office. But then, the blog post got hijacked by the suckiness (suckitude?) of my own office. My next post will have some actual upgrades!

That’s it

It’s dark, and I’m tired. Leave me a comment if you can see well enough!

Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

Why Online Friends Make the Most Delightful Friends

By now, many of us have met people in real life whom we first got to know on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. We’ve had coffee with them, or seen them at meet-ups, or recognized them from their online profiles. Online friends really are the best friends, as Lynn Morrison outlines in this Huffington Post article: 6 Reasons Why Online Friends Are the Best!

 boss photo

There’s That Guy!

Heck, sometimes I even recognize people walking around my neighborhood from their online profile. “There’s that guy from Facebook who always posts about his dog!” I might say. Or “there’s that guy who’s always ranting!” someone says as we avert our gazes and pretend to be checking our phones for something important.

boss photo

Some People Are Far Away

We’ll never meet some of those online friends, as they are too far away, or meeting would be too inconvenient, or schedules never seem to mesh. It’s funny how some people will make space for you in their lives, and others always seem too busy. Some we promise to meet during a trip overseas, like Kittie Walker or Larry Mount (follow them on Twitter!), both in England.

boss photo

Sometimes It’s Awkward

Some people seem awkward even online, so the idea of meeting in person isn’t so compelling. And others are super easy to talk to online, but then meeting in person is awkward. In the world of extroverts and introverts, that sometimes happens. I’m not including any examples here, as I’m sure you have plenty yourself! There are ways to deal with those awkward conversations, by the way.

boss photo

Some People Aren’t Funny

That would be me. I’m way funnier online, where I can edit jokes and make them much funnier. In person? Not so funny. Oh, well. Others who aren’t funny at all online are hilarious in person. If you’re an introvert, the unfunny factor might come into play more often than if you’re an extrovert. And you might like:  Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends.

Others seem so interested in real-life meetings, that they’ll bend over backwards to so that you can meet in real life. My besties Bridget Willard (go follow her blog, by the way!) and Amy Donohue (follow her on Twitter!) both fall into that category. Others like Justine Pretorious I haven’t met, and yet she is already a good friend.

concert photo

Many Become Best Friends for Life

When you meet someone online, you can talk about what’s really going on before you ever meet them in real life. You can choose how you appear to them in order to deepen the conversation. And that leads to better friendships, in my opinion.

concert photo

Distance Becomes Irrelevant

When you’re online friends with someone, you can check in with them whenever you like. You don’t have to have an appointment. Just show up, and start tweeting, commenting, etc. And you can continue to keep in touch through the magic of social media! My friends Beth Staub and Pam Ann Aungst, though they live in different states, are that way.

boss photo

Tell Me About Someone You’ve Met Online

Have you driven conversations into the real world? Or is there someone you’d like to meet? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love that.

How to Get out of a Dismal Social Media Rut

How to Get Out of a Dismal Social Media Rut

How to Get Out of a Dismal Social Media Rut

How to Get out of a Dismal Social Media Rut

Admit You Have a Problem

Admit You Have a Problem

Admit You Have a Problem

It does sound like a self-help program, doesn’t it? Admitting you have a problem is the basis for delivering yourself out of social media ruts. And it could be a relief to admit it to yourself. Now you can work on your escape plan!

Baby Steps to the Answer

Baby Steps to the Answer

Baby Steps to the Answer

Could you spend 30 minutes brainstorming some answers? How about if you paid someone for half an hour of their time to help you brainstorm? Then you’d use that 30 minutes for sure! Now write down all the ways you could escape your rut.

Focus on Passion

Focus on Passion

Focus on Passion

Tiny Buddha has a nifty article for Getting Out of a Rut and Working on a Passion. I really like the focus on a passion as a means of getting out of a rut.

Create a Road Map

Create a Road Map

Create a Road Map

A road map doesn’t have to be a complex chart with 28 different colors and circles and arrows going all over the place. It could be three steps, or maybe eight steps that lead you to your goal. Simplicity can be elegant, as long as you know what you need to do to reach your goal. Did you know that you could do social media in as little as 60 minutes a day?

Three Examples of Road Maps

Three Examples of Road Maps

Three Examples of Road Maps

If you’ve never seen a social media marketing plan, here are three examples:

camera focus photo

Refocus

Once you have a direction or a road map, if you will, that sense of burnout will diminish. With everyone on the team working together, a clear destination will appear. And if the team is just you, then find a friend (or a pro!) to help you. Ahem! I might know of someone.

 camera focus photo

Implement

Implement your new strategy by writing down the everyday tasks you’d need to complete. Some of the tasks might be once or twice a week, and others might be daily.

 notebook photo

Get a Notebook

If you like to write things down, old-school style, get a notebook that you’ll enjoy. Here’s How to Buy a Paper Notebook That Will Bring You Joy! Personally, I like a stitched binding with ruled lines for daily tasks. What’s nice about notebooks is they’re always charged, and if you’re a tactile learner, they’re more satisfying than creating something online.

 notebook photo

How’d You Climb out of Your Rut?

If you’ve ever been in a social media rut, or experienced burnout, how did you respond? Let me know in the comments. And thank you!

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed