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Setting Up a GoFundMe

Category : Social Media

Everyday there are reports on the news that include a ‘GoFundMe’ –  a page where people try to raise money online for themselves or others.

I’ve run a few campaigns – for myself and others needs. The latest is a fundraiser-in-progress for a family in Puerto Rico.

Here’s a few basic steps to set up a GoFundMe that go beyond just ‘setting up a page’:

  • To start, you will need an email address, your bank account routing and account number, cell phone, address, phone number, and about 10 minutes to set up an account.
  • You will need to verify your email address and phone number via text message.
  • You will need to continue is 2-3 compelling paragraphs with a story that motivates to donate.
  • Once it’s all set up you will need to do many many updates on GoFundMe and Facebook, send out a slew of emails (not too many but enough), and keep posting updates on Facebook, GoFundMe, and follow up to reach your goal, hourly if the need is great enough. Unless it goes viral, GoFundMe is a way to collect money but you will still need to ask people to give. It’s important to post ‘asks’ and ‘updates’ on all social media frequently especially of no one is giving, but to also post updates every-time someone gives. Tag them so people they know see it and thank people through GoFundMe so that it appears on their walls for others to see and give. Ask donors to re-post and ask others to give. Endorsements are critical.

It’s important to keep updating your GoFundMe and be clear and concise with your story. If it is socially relevant (a fire, theft, or medical care), you may also wish to do press releases to local news stations, radio, and internet outlets.

Remember – Email People, Text People and Call People with your GoFundMe link, and Post Updates on all Social Media – every hour if necessary – that is the key to success!

Add Storage to Your Laptop

Category : Social Media

If you have one of these and a slit in your computer, you may be able to add some permanent storage to your laptop.

It may be easier than you think to add storage to your laptop. There’s one port most people overlook – the SDXC port – which most people use for camera cards. Many cameras now transfer photos via WiFi so there’s no need to swap SD cards. This leaves a port open to put a 32gb, 64gb, 128gb, 256gb, or 512gb SDXC card in for storage.

Here are a few cards:

32GB Sandisk (Lifetime Warranty)

64GB SanDisk (Lifetime Warranty)

128GB SanDisk (Lifetime Warranty)

256GB SanDisk (Lifetime Warranty) (I have this one)

512gb SanDisk (Lifetime Warranty) (I want this one!)

A few cautions:

  • You should always back up your SDXC card as there is a possibility of losing the data, although less so if you are not inserting and removing constantly.
  • You should make sure the card does not “protrude” (more on that later) because it could cause damage if it gets bumped around in your bag.
  • You should make sure the card doesn’t pop out if your slot is “spring loaded”. A simple piece of tape over the slot can ‘catch’ the card if it pops out.

If you are using a MacBook Pro that has an SD Slot, there is a twist to this:

I have always used an SDXC card as a secondary drive on my windows machine. The issue with MBP’s is it sticks out…the ports on MBP’s are shorter and they protrude so you can’t use them for permanent storage.

But they make these adapters…

A simple adapter and SDXC card can increase your MacBook Pro storage!

So you buy a micro SD – the same you would for an android phone or many new cameras, maybe 64gb or 128gb and pop the microsd (not included) into this adapter and boom…secondary drive. Why would you do this? If you’re rendering video even on an SSD you need space. So you put your OTHER files like word docs, graphics, etc on this. It’s good to back it up periodically because it IS flash storage, but otherwise it’s a great way to keep the SSD clean and ready to render video.

The adapters are different by model. Here are a few:
You will also need a MicroSD card. I suggest going to 128gb but your adapter may support 256gb:
You will need to buy an SDXC card separately but this gives you maximum flexibility and scalability.
Hope all is well in the new reality!

MagicJack as Your Office Phone

Category : Social Media

Surely you remember the MagicJack. It was a little device you plugged into the USB port of your computer and it gave you phone service, over a decade ago. Over the years it evolved – the MagicJack+, the MagicJack2014, the MagicJack app, and the MagicJack go.

I got it 10  years go as an office phone. I thought for the price, $99 for 5 years, I couldn’t lose. And I never have. I’ve found it only gets more flexible. My first magicjack was the original unit that just plugged into the computer and the phone. Now that I can can plug it directly to the router, it’s become even more powerful.

I have found it to be the most cost effective device because it has kept working. If I didn’t want to go the router-route my original see-through computer-only MagicJack would be fine. It still hooks up via USB so I can take it with me and use it on the road with my laptop – and have my office phone anywhere I go!

I keep both a regular analog phone and a nice cordless phone available for the MagicJack. The Cordless is nice because the base station sits at my desk and has speakerphone, allowing me to make calls, sit on hold, and be productive – all the luxuries of the office phone at a fraction of the cost – $99.75 for 5 years, that’s $1.66 per month!

In the era where our cell phones are everything, this is especially helpful when I need my cell phone for other things, when it’s sitting on the charger, or I need to troubleshoot it (never call from the phone you need help fixing!).

You can find out more about the MagicJack here.  This is one of my best kept secrets – the $1.66 a month deskphone plan! If you need a phone to go with it, Goodwill and other thrift stores are a great place to get something under $5, even a cordless!  But to maximize it, make sure it has a speakerphone. That will help you get the most out of the MagicJack in your office!

Your Homeschool Classroom

Category : Social Media

Homeschooling has its unique set of benefits and challenges. If you technology seems like one of the challenges, it’s time to turn it to one of your benefits. You can do this by investing in your technology the same way you would invest in homeschooling curriculum and compliance. Why should you invest in your homeschooling? Try asking some questions.

What is your education worth? What is your child’s education worth? Whether you go to university online or your kids are taking some homeschool courses online, your computer is a vital part of your education. So when you service it, it’s the same a a computer in the classroom needing service.  Yes, it’s that important. When you homeschool, you are your school’s teacher, IT Admin, custodian, cafeteria, and principal. As your homeschool’s IT Administrator, it’s important to invest in your student’s education – as a homeschooler, your child isn’t just your child, they are a student. Your homeschool is like your business now.

When you are homeschooling, you may teach certain courses yourself and you may use online curriculum and courses to either aid in your lessons or teach courses that you may determine are best learned with existing online curriculum. What can you do to invest in your homeschooling classroom?

Invest in Your Internet Connection. In many cases whether it’s library research or online courseware, your student will only be as efficient as your internet connection. Fast and reliable internet is now an educational expense for your homeschool. It’s no longer just a household luxury. We recommend a speed of 75mbp/s or greater. It’s important to make sure the router is placed away from large metal objects such as washing machines and that it’s placement is optimal to your student. We’ve seen it set up right in the student’s room so they have a ‘wired’ connection for their classroom. It’s important to have a good router / modem or router-modem combination unit and Cat 5e or Cat6 wiring to wired devices. Remember, your homeschool is like your business. It’s no longer just your household, it’s your student’s education. If you were running a school, what would you invest in for your internet? 

Invest in Your Setup: A good homeschool workstation includes a laptop that can be taken anywhere with a size that is comfortable for your student, a quality printer, a second external monitor, and a good set of speakers / headset. Homeschool students can benefit from a range of libraries and study spaces outside the home to help refresh the mind and spur creativity so a good laptop is vital. Many online curriculum use multimedia and many exercises may require that so we recommend a 13-15″ laptop with a solid graphics card and solid state drive. This may run you up to $500-$600 but it’s an investment that can last much of of your homeschool season. A quality printer may include either a good color printer or a desktop laser printer such as the HP Laserjet Pro. A second external monitor allows a student to do an assignment on one screen while doing library research on another or view a media clip on one screen while taking notes on another. The second monitor allows a student to do their work in half the time it would take ‘switching between windows’. With DisplayLink technology, a student could have 3 screens to allow even more work to be done.   Displaylink will work with MAC and PC. Check the hardware specifications for your device. What will you invest in your student’s setup? 

Invest in your Software: Your student’s software may include a homeschool curriculum suite, test taking software, and other specific needs but you may also need to invest in software such as Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Cloud. A good antivirus such as Kasperskys is also a good investment. Your student should be able to do work without switching files into many different format and should be protected from malware and virus attacks. Software updates should be done regularly. In the end, if you lose the computer use to a virus or lose a file while converting from an open source program to Microsoft format, the time you and your student spend recovering assignment after assignment could be better spent learning new lessons. Your homeschooling classroom is worth the software investment. The public school system spends tends of thousands on software licenses. Doesn’t your student deserve the same experiences as their public school counterparts when it comes to software? 

Taking the step to homeschool your student is a great investment but the investment only begins with the decision, it continues with software, hardware, curriculum, and of course, time. Whether you homeschool yourself, partner with a local homeschool business, or do a hybrid with online courses, your homeschool student station is a vital part of the education process.


Your Computer is Your Business

Category : Social Media

As a business owner you may think to yourself some really good thoughts: Why should you pay to service your computer for your business? Shouldn’t it work just fine for years? Why am I paying this guy $65 per hour?

Let me ask you some interesting questions: Do you use your computer for email with clients? Do you use Quickbooks for billing? Do you keep notes, appointments, or reminders on your computer? Or do you use your computer to help find, create, or maintain your business? If so then you’ve answered some of the those questions.

When you use a computer for business, it not only becomes, as the courts would call it, a “Tool of the Trade”, it is like a trusty employee. It’s the reliable employee that never phones in with a fake cough, or wants to leave early on a sunny day. But like any other part of your business, there’s a cost.

In New York City there’s not many parking options. UPS, FedEx and other package delivery services get parking tickets quite often. Parking tickets and the associated costs are considered part of ‘the cost of doing business’ in New York City. Likewise your computer maintenance, repair, and other costs like antivirus, office software, and anti-malware checks should be considered ‘the cost of doing business’.

Like a good employee, there are several ways you can treat it so it continues to stay healthy, works well for you, and remains a key part of your team:

Invest in a good antivirus. Free is good but paid can often be better. I often put antivirus programs in 3 tiers: Free, Paid, and Premium. Free includes Avast, AVG, Avira, and Panda. Paid includes Nortons with Comcast and McAfee with AT&T. Premium includes Kaspersky. I often recommend Paid or Premium for business. Free is good for home use but paid and premium put an extra layer of security around your device. It’s not a matter of if you can afford to, it’s ‘can you afford not to?’. Think of it as a wellness program for your computer.

Invest in a good service contract. A good service contract can help manage your desktops, advise you on the latest updates, and keep a tech around when you need one. Isn’t your time better spent focusing on your customers than re-installing your printer after Windows Update has determined your printer may not be compatible with the latest update and summarily uninstalls it? It’s like having a primary care physician for your key employees available in the health services department of your business. Big businesses like Google, TIAA-CREF, GoDaddy and many others have health services departments. You should do the same with a good service contract for your desktops. Remember, you may not always use their services every single month but for when you do use them, it often pays for the whole year.

Invest good hardware. A business class computer can often last longer than a consumer class computer. Investing in a business class machine is a great start towards having a computer that makes your business more efficient. I often tell customers that their best bet is to get connected to my Dell account executive and open up their own account. I don’t re-sell for Dell but I keep the best Dell account executive that I’ve ever met and refer all my clients to her. If you can’t afford a business class machine, then I recommend shopping at Office Depot, Office Max, or Staples before heading to Best Buy. I see more ‘Best Buy’ computers on my repair bench than any others. If you want the best hardware I recommend Dell, Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Apple.

Invest in good software. Open office is great at home. Photoshop Elements can get you by. Built in PDF converters will get the job done. But there’s nothing like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Don’t forget about Illustrator, InDesign, and other fine software like Final Cut Pro. It’s expensive sure, but you will make that money back in productivity. One or two substitutions could work but it’s difficult to substitute everything. It’s like building a house, you may get away with one or two elements out of specifications, or specs, but if every element of the house is below minimum specs, the whole house is going to be a problem. Likewise you are only as efficient as your software allows you to be.

I’ve used the term invest even though computer hardware is one of fastest items in terms of depreciation because it is one of the best things you can invest in to grow your business, revenue, and development.  Your computer is part of the cost of doing business. It’s as important as any employee, shipping partner, or service delivery channel. Invest in it as you would any other key partner in your business and it will yield a return like any other partner in your business.

Maximize Your Home Office

Category : Social Media

If you are fortunate enough to work at home some days or have a work at home job such as Amazon customer service, Apple Customer Service or many of the other industries who employ customer service representatives at home, you have special technology needs.

The number one thing to consider is that your home office is part of your ‘profit center’ – your ability to produce while at home may increase the odds of you being able to work from home on a regular basis. Working from home can be more efficient since you are not in the office environment – subject to coffee breaks, gossip, and commuting – even the walk from the office to your car, the bus, or subway can be unproductive. Working from home can be the ultimate productivity boost if done right.

Here are some tips for your home office:

Ergonomics Count: In a corporate office, it may be unknown to you but many companies make decisions about desks, chairs, keyboard trays, computer layout, and even lighting to create an optimal work environment. Ergonomics count. OSHA offers some great tips for ergonomics. Among those tips are keeping the monitor at eye level, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor.  Check the OSHA site for more tips to keep your home office as comfortable as your corporate office.

Keep an Open View: Everyone wants the office with the window. Your home office should have a window, it gives you a breeze, natural lighting, and a sense of perspective.

The Office Supply Cabinet: Just because you work from home periodically doesn’t mean you won’t need office supplies. It’s good to keep a cabinet or at least a tub with some basic office supplies like pens, pads, spare mouse, etc. That gives you the same support you have in the office.

Hardware: It’s good to duplicate the hardware you have at the office. If you have an external monitor, mouse, printer, and speakers at work it’s good to have these at home. You may even ask an IT staff member to come to your home office and review your setup. If you are doing customer service, a good landline and headset are vital. Internet, while it may not be business class, should be a vital investment, at 75mbp/s or higher.

With these tips, you can keep a productive work-at-home experience.

Take Your Office Anywhere

Category : Social Media

Mobility is vital today. In the past you would need a laptop to take your office anywhere. Now you take your tablet, phone, and laptop as a mobile office to Starbucks, shared office spaces, Panera, or even someone else’s office. What are some essentials you may need?

Remote Storage: It’s vital that you be able to access files on multiple devices. Sometimes you need to retrieve a file that may only be at home, on your desktop, on a thumb drive, etc and forward it to a business contact. That’s where Dropbox comes in. Dropbox can be accessed on a phone, a tablet, and a laptop, making it possible to access files anywhere. Microsoft OneDrive and the Icloud are also useful for accessing files across multiple platforms.

Power Strip: It’s good to carry a small power strip in your car, you can tuck it in your spare tire compartment or hide it away in the trunk. Sometimes you will be at Panera, the airport, or Starbucks and find there’s 1 outlet and 5 people nearby. This will allow you to not only service your fellow office-anywhere people but also allow you to stretch an outlet from one seat to another, i.e. if the seat in front or in back of you has an outlet, you do now too.  This also allows you to charge all your devices at any location so you can stay remote the whole day, i.e. work and charge at Panera in the morning and then change locations to a Starbucks in the afternoon with a full charge.

Spare Battery: It’s good to have extra batteries for your laptop, phone, or other devices if they are removable. This allows you to work longer if no power outlet is available.

Hot Spot: There are some places that do not have WiFi or you need a secure WiFi spot for business. You can get a low cost plan from Freedompop – I have a plan that costs $3.00 a month and rolls over unused data. You may also tether your phone into a hot spot if your wireless company and device offer that. This allows you to outrun busy places like Panera or have WiFi where no one else does.

Spare Power Adapters: It’s very efficient to have extra power adapters. It’s good to have 3: 1 at your home office, 1 in your car / laptop bag, and 1 at your most frequently visited client. This allows you to save time by not having to constantly pull your adapter out of your home office every time you leave, or constantly plug in at a client you see every week.  It’s also good to have extra adapters so you can charge while on-the-go with your power strip. Take that lunch break to charge your devices.

Spare Mouse: Nothing says prepared like having a bluetooth or wireless mouse in your bag. This means you can have a wired mouse at home and then when you pack up and go, assuming you have a spare power adapter, you simply lift your laptop out and pack it, then when you get to the remote location, unpack it, unpack your mouse that was already in your bag, and you’re ready to go! The Microsoft Arc touch Mouse and the Apple Magic Mouse both lay relatively flat, making transport easy.

Carrying Case: A good carrying case is vital because your laptop will endure ‘wear and tear’ simply by pulling it in and out of the case, setting it down, picking it up, etc. A good case will be able to hold the computer, power supply, and mouse. Make sure it’s comfortable for you to carry, not too large that it’s a burden but not too small that nothing fits!

Things Your SEO Specialist Should Be Doing

Category : Social Media

Every online marketing servicer / seo specialist has their own strengths and weaknesses but to some degree they should all be fulfilling this list as a commonality:

  • Researching good cross linking opportunities monthly
  • Reviewing page content for keyword usage
  • Reviewing page code for keyword placement
  • Reporting page performance monthly
  • Reporting website performance monthly
  • Reviewing and reporting PPC (if applicable) performance monthly
  • Reviewing and reporting Google placement / performance monthly
  • Reviewing and responding (if applicable) to social media reviews (Google, Yelp, Facebook).
  • Reviewing and responding to social media inquiries
  • Reviewing and reporting on performance for paid directory listings.
  • Reviewing and posting valuable content to your website
  • Reviewing and posting valuable content to social media / paid directories
  • Review and report on competitors websites & online activity
  • Identifying niche opportunities for online efforts
  • Identifying opportunities to grow email lists
  • Reviewing online form submissions
  • Reviewing backup schedule
  • Backing up database (if applicable)
  • Managing additional outreach email addresses
  • Reviewing and recruiting / managing content writing opportunities
  • Advising for online content prior to brick and mortar engagements
  • Reviewing membership profiles and backlinks to professional organizations
  • Reviewing and assisting in implementation of reviewing opportunities by customers
  • Reviewing the ongoing security of your website and advising / patching / updating software as needed.

Sell Products Easily on Your Website

Category : Social Media

Selling products on your website doesn’t have to be difficult. Bit o’Heaven Catering recently took orders and handled fulfillment for meals at “Symphony on the Lake”, an event in Hendersonville, TN. They were able to offer the event the following services:

  • Order Taking
  • Money Handling
  • Order Fulfillment
  • Event Promotion

All from the website.

They also now have the infrastructure and results to market this to other events in Middle Tennessee.

Their business can now grow exponentially and do value-added offerings to any event in Middle Tennessee that wants to offer individual meals to attendees!

Be willing to take a chance, try something new, and in the process, grow your business with new offerings you can make to many other customers / clients!

Networking on a Personal Level

Category : Social Media

…Building Trust for Referrals

The best networking can be just ‘hanging out’!

So, you’re a member of a networking group and expected to give referrals to someone you don’t trust and have never done business with. Maybe you’re happy with the service your current provider gives and have no reason to switch to a provider in the networking group. No matter how many “one to one” meetings you have with them, you can’t break that barrier and do not feel you know them well enough to trust your customers with or to refer customers to. What do you do?

It’s time to think outside the box. Trust is built by communicating and forming relationships. But if you do not know someone through regular business, how do you form a relationship and communicate? Why not network on a personal level? If meeting at offices, restaurants, and coffee shops isn’t doing it, why not ask about common interests and meet over those? If you have no common interests, how about just hanging out?

There was an attorney once who didn’t have an open schedule and lived in a rather isolated area of town. But what he did do is periodically invite people over to ‘shoot’ rifles in his back yard. He had quite the gun collection and targets. Business associates came over and marveled in his collection of firearms and enjoyed an afternoon of shooting, all while building relationships and trust. In short they got to know each other personally over an afternoon of sport and competition.

Knowing each other personally can be a key to building referrals where no business relationship may exist. It’s important to see your fellow networkers as people. Getting together and sharing about family, hobbies, causes, or other interests is a great way to start. Use good judgement when asking questions – respect their privacy but get to know them! Being social after hours is yet another way to build that rapport. After hours gatherings can be with individuals or groups of people.

Connecting as a group can be a very rewarding and profitable activity. If you run a networking group, consider a group outing like a live sports event or a night at the sports bar over wings and beer. Consider a group volunteer day such as Habitat for Humanity, local school career days, or other such opportunities to come together as a group outside of the networking setting.

Don’t delay, get out today! Thinking outside the box can lead to doing some great business! Get to know your business contacts outside of the office and watch your leads grow


Ron Hall has been managing my social media presentation on Facebook now for a few months. We started out with just a 30 day trial run and the results have been by far worth every bit of time, energy and money spent. Within weeks we saw an increase in customers coming in asking about product they saw posted on FB. Ron’s  comments with the posts I feel adds a special touch which engages the clients! Bob Cook, Bargain Bob’s Discount Store
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