Archive for July, 2007

The Green Office: Other Tips

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A few months ago, in my blog entry The Green Home Office: Duplex Printing, I talked about how you can save paper by printing double-sided (duplex) and how printing to a PDF file, instead of paper, can save you reams of paper each year.

I’ve got a few more “green home office” tips for you:

  • Whether you work in an office or from home, consider making small changes to the temperature in your office in order to save fuel. For instance, lowering your thermostat in the winter (and wearing a sweater and socks) or raising your air conditioning temperature in the summer (and using an electric fan or ceiling fan) can significantly. We lowered our electric bill by 10 percent by using our air conditioning less.
  • Use compact fluorescent (CF) light bulb. The older type CF bulbs use to flicker and had a weird color tone to them, making them practically impossible to use in an office setting. However, the new CF bulbs have a pleasant warm tone (especially the GE Soft White CF bulbs) and no longer flicker. We reduced our electric bill by 25 percent by changing all the light bulbs and turning off lights when we were leaving a room.
  • After you’re done using paper in the office, you can recycle it. If your local garbage collection company does not have a recycling program, check with your city or township office, they may have one.
  • If you can’t recycle paper, re-use the blank side for notes and to jot down information.
  • Buy recycled products and supplies for your home office. For suggestions, visit The Green Office.
  • Working from home can really impact the environment in a positive way. My husband and I bought new cars within a few months of each other. My car has 25 percent less mileage on it than his car, and he drives 250 miles a week as compared by my 45 miles (and that includes grocery shopping, post office, and other “errand” miles on my car). Just group all your errands together and make one long trip that includes the bank and post office, instead of separate, short trips.

I know global warming seems practically impossible to fix on a personal level, but every little bit helps. If you have other green home office tips, I’d love to hear them!

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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New Blog Looks and Feel!

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I took today off from work to update the look and feel of this blog. What do you think?

(Talk about Shiny Object Syndrome!)

To subscribe to this blog, use one of the buttons to the right, or open your favorite newsreader (such as My Yahoo, Google, Newsgator, etc.) and paste this URL to add our blog to your newsreader:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSelfEmploymentBlogForSmallBusinessOwners

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Category: Passion For Business News
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Which Internet Marketing Techniques Work?

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Small business owners often ask me which internet marketing techniques work best. The answer is, “it depends on your audience.” Knowing your target audience and testing to see which techniques they respond to should be your #1 priority in your internet marketing plan.

With that said, MarketingSherpa did a survey recently with these results:

BEST internet marketing results:

  • 49% of survey respondents said “paid search ads”
  • 47% said their own in-house mailing list
  • 45% said search engine optimization (SEO)

WORST results:

  • 56% said rented mailing lists gave them the WORST results
  • 45% said pop-ups and pop-unders

MarketingSherpa.com is a wealth of information, especially surveys and studies. Here are some good reports. If you sign up for their mailing list, you get most of their reports and articles for free (if you access them within a week of the email broadcast; after that, there is a fee):

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Website Planning
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What To Look For in a Digital Recorder

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Many people have asked me how I record my teleclasses. I use a digital recorder, connected to my telephone line. Some teleconference companies will allow you to record your call through their service. However, since I also record all my live speeches and workshops, a digital recorder was the way to go for me.

As for digital recorders, I have an Olympus DS-40. Here’s what to look for when buying a digital recorder:

1. That the recorder can be connected to your PC for downloading files easily. I’m not sure if they work with a Mac, so if you have a Mac, you’ll have to research the options available here.

2. Removable storage. This means the recordings are stored on a flash card. By having removable storage you can always buy more flash cards to store more audio if you’re going to record a one- or two-day live workshop (where you can’t get back to your PC to download the recording then remove it off the flash card).

3. That it can store files in MP3 format. This way, you don’t have to do a lot of fiddling with file conversions: MP3 can be uploaded “as is” to your website.

4. That it has both a SP (standard play) and an LP (long play) mode. SP modes give you higher quality audio recording, but reduced the length of available recording because the file size is larger.

5. Long record times: If you’re teaching a full day, 8-hour live workshop, you need to know that your recorder can record the whole day in SP mode.

6. It must have a microphone jack so that you can plug it into your telephone.

Good luck in your search!

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Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes
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Hotel Alert: Have You Heard of “Guest Gouging?”

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I’ve stayed in many a hotel room while traveling on business, and I’m here to witness to the growing trend of “guest gouging” — charging you for every little thing in order to make a few extra dollars. I mean, really, is it necessary to charge $3.95 per day for high-speed internet access? Can that $3.95 truly have that much effect on your bottom line, as compared to keeping your customers happy — and loyal?

And the weird thing is, it’s the high-end hotels charging for these items. Budget hotels are not. For instance, charging for internet connection: 60% of high-end hotels do, while only 10% of budget hotels do.

And it’s not just internet connections. They’re also charging fees to use the pool or fitness center, for your “free” newspaper, etc., even if you don’t use them. Why not just charge me extra to take the elevator instead of the stairs and be done with it?

Next time you travel on business, pay attention to the extra costs before making your decision where to stay. These might be listed as “resort fees,” so read carefully before saying Yes.

Here’s an interesting article on the topic:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19421602/

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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Business Week Profiles Women Entrepreneurs

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Business Week has a great article profiling women who have successfully moved from “corporate America” to start and build their own businesses. Not only does the article tell their stories, but it shares insights from these women about the pros and cons of leaving the corporate world for the entrepreneurial world.

See related article: “This Time It’s Mine.”

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Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business
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