Great Tips for Road Warriors!

TorontoPlanning a wedding when you’re out of town for work most days of the week isn’t what most brides-to-be would envision.

But Theresa Donnelly, 28, a manager for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, has figured out how to deal with it while she also handles her work at a hotel in Toronto, where she lives four or five days a week.

She communicates with caterers, vendors, bridesmaids, her mother and future mother-in-law through e-mail. She makes sure to talk each day to her fiance through Skype or FaceTime. She also tries to have daily contact with other friends and family.

Her work, which involves advising clients on how to comply with financial regulations, leaves her little time for breaks. So she has to depend on electronic communications.

“If a vendor doesn’t use e-mail, I don’t use them, since I don’t have time to take calls during the day,” she says.

Although she’s been living on the road for work for only five years, Donnelly is a pro at it. She’s adept at using electronic media to keep her house in order even when she’s not in her house in Philadelphia. She traverses airline, airport and hotel schedules and rates for the best travel times and prices. She’s learned to pack all she needs within minutes.

And perhaps most important, she’s learned how to balance everything without going crazy.

Yes, she says of life on the road as a young person, “It’s tough. Obviously, you don’t want to have to be away from your loved ones.”

But it’s a sacrifice Donnelly is willing to make for her career. As a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she interned with Deloitte. So she knew what she was getting herself into.

“Even though the travel can be difficult at times,” she says, “I find the job rewarding, and I don’t mind the travel as much.”

To make the travel less difficult, she’s developed some strategies. Among them:

Packing

“I’ve become ridiculously efficient at packing,” Donnelly says.

She only does a carry-on bag. She advises those who decide to check their bags to make sure they have one set of clothing in their carry-on in the off-chance a bag is lost or delayed.

Her other must-have carry-on items? Granola bars, so she can avoid buying unhealthy snacks at airports, an iPod to drown out the noise on the airplane, her Kindle or a book for inevitable delays, her running shoes, phone charger, laptop and travel-size toiletries.

The consummate professional, she also always has business cards ready to hand out. “You never know who you will meet on a plane or waiting at the airport,” she says.

Choosing flights

Donnelly is picky about scheduling flights. She tries to choose ones that won’t require her to get to the airport during rush hour. She tries to avoid busy ones, such as those departing on Monday mornings. If she can’t avoid the busy ones, she prepares herself for having a seatmate and for waiting in a long line.

That’s why she leaves for the airport way ahead of time.

“The worst thing you can do is be running and sweating to get to your gate,” she says. “Then you’re agitated and uncomfortable for the whole flight.”

If she has to travel overseas, she tries to take an overnight flight so she can sleep.

Normally, she chooses an aisle seat, but on overnight flights, she chooses a window seat so she won’t be disturbed while sleeping. “To have people climbing over you, it can be a little uncomfortable,” she says.

She never leaves home without her headphones to drown out the noise of people around her when she tries to sleep.

Choosing a hotel

Donnelly used to bounce around different hotels, depending on price and availability. Now that she goes to the same city all the time, she’s found that she can get better deals by being loyal to one hotel.

If she knows she’s going to stay at a hotel several days, she’ll call and ask to speak to the corporate sales representative. She’s been able to negotiate better rates and accommodations.

Even when the hotel has had no availability or blackouts online, she’s been able to finagle a room.

“If you make them aware that you are there, they treat you well,” she says. “It’s really in their best interest … to have someone like me, a long-term business traveler, rather than have 20 different people for a couple of days and have a room empty here or there.”

Staying healthy

Donnelly tries to maintain the routines she keeps at home. That means going to the gym regularly.

She usually picks hotels with 24-hour access to gyms so she can hit it at any time.

Trying to eat in a healthy manner is her biggest challenge on the road. “You’re really eating out three meals a day, and it becomes difficult to know what you’re putting in your body,” she says.

To maintain some consistency, she sometimes asks the hotel for an empty fridge to keep some healthy food in her room.

She also looks for salad bars or chains that she knows use fresh ingredients.

“I do online research to find places that are nearby and get the lay of the land ahead of time so I’m not settling for whatever I find,” she says.

Enjoying the travel

Donnelly thinks it’s a mistake to never see the city you’re visiting. So during her downtime, she tries to get out and explore.

Before she lands in a new place, she reads up on its landmarks. Once there, she walks or takes public transportation to them.

“I think it’s good to get familiar and comfortable with a city so you can feel safe,” she says. “It’s silly to go to a new different city and not learn anything about it.”

And she doesn’t keep to herself just because she’s a solo traveler.

Some hotels, she says, will have social hours so that long-term guests can meet each other. She also tries to get together with co-workers for coffee or dinner so she’s not always eating alone.

“You spend a lot of time together on the road,” she says. “You tend to become quite friendly with each other.”

She also gets to enjoy some perks thanks to her frequent travel.

She’s accumulated so many airline frequent-flier miles and hotel loyalty points that her vacations are often paid for. “The frequent travel comes with some side benefits,” she says.

Her wedding is scheduled for September. Her honeymoon will be in Hawaii. The airfare and hotel all came courtesy of her miles and points.

Top tips

1. Leave for the airport early, even if it means having to sit around the airport reading or doing work.

2. Try to avoid flights that you know are going to be too crowded or that require you to travel to the airport during rush hour.

3. Try to have only your carry-on bag. If you do check a bag, pack an extra outfit in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets delayed.

4. If you know you’re going to spend several days at a hotel, call the hotel ahead of time and try to negotiate a better rate or better accommodations.

5. Get out of the immediate area surrounding your hotel or office. Take advantage of the fact that you’re in a new place and try to schedule some sightseeing.

 

 

 

Source: Nancy Trejos, USA Today

The 4 Marketing Messages That Cheapskates Are Powerless To Resist

Penny

 

Sales is is the Life-Blood of all Companies. Here are a few Marketing Messages to help you maximize your Sales! 

Trust
If your doctor tells you need a new liver, you’re going to believe him, right? You’re not going to go home, mull it over, make a pros and cons list (I’m sure the old one has at least a few more years in it!), sleep on it, are you? No, you’re going to put your name on the transplant list ASAP. Your doctor is trained in these sort of things and knows what he’s talking about. If he says you’re in bad shape, you’re going to accept that and follow his advice to make it better. If you want to get a reluctant spender to spend, they have to trust you and your offer. In my case, I’m not buying into a diagnosis from my MD, I’m investing in, let’s say, a tap dancing workshop. And it’s the city’s preeminent tap teacher who has recommended that I attend. She knows my skill and ability level, knows the kind of dancer I am and when she says I’ll get a great benefit from this workshop, I trust her assessment and the 30 years of tapping behind it enough to buy in. But what if you don’t have 30 years of step-ball-change under your belt? How do you gain the trust of your buyers without impeccable and long-earned credentials? You win that kind of trust and assert that credibility by being able to speak knowledgeably and empathetically to customers about their pain points and demonstrate the thought you’ve given in making sure that your product or service is designed to meet them. For example, I regularly consult with companies that market to Millennials, because they understand what a fickle audience they’re dealing with and realize they need someone with insider intelligence and the ability to create relatable, authentic messaging that will attract this target demo rather than earn their apathetic eye-rolls over how out-of-touch a given brand is.

Permission
Reluctant buyers may have issues around parting with their cash that go deeper than just the desire to save it for a rainy day. If you’re selling something with a hefty price tag, you have to do the heavy lifting on not only justifying its value, but also granting would-be buyers the permission to spend that kind of money on something that isn’t a home appliance. You need to take a page from L’Oreal’s book and convince buyers “you’re worth it.” Your sales pitch (whether in person, on the screen or in print) shouldn’t downplay the cost, but it should play up that the buyer can afford this product or service, that the purchase will make them happy and not anxious and that only good things will come from spending. If you’ve ever seen HGTV’s Property Virgins, you’ve seen the host cannily convince first-time home buyers that they can actually up their budget that extra $10K and that having their dream home and all of the emotions attached to it is worth a few bucks more on their monthly mortgage payment. She gives them permission to spend beyond their comfort zone, which, when you’re taking about a miser, is pretty narrow in the first place.

Expertise
What you’re selling has to be positioned as something that your reluctant customer can’t do, learn or achieve for themselves or can’t do it as efficiently as you can. How many of us sew our own clothes? Build our own homes? Heck, even do our own oil changes? If there’s a way for your hesitant buyer to easily do what it is you do or create or to easily learn how to do or create it, they probably will. You need to define how what you’re providing is superior to what their own efforts would yield. And that superiority has to be according to metrics that matter to your customer. The fact that your restaurant’s $85 steak special tastes better than anything a frugal home cook could whip up is not going to open any cinched-shut wallets. Create and market a unique dining experience that cannot be replicated outside your restaurant and is only available for a limited time and to a limited number of customers and you might stand a chance. Maybe.

Savings
I’m not talking discounts here. Will what you’re offering save your customer time or money in the long run? If so, do the math for them. In my case, I could take a two-day tap dancing workshop that would increase my skills to the level they would be after six months of weekly lessons. If the workshop costs $500 and weekly lesson cost $25 + an hour of my time for the lesson itself and another 30 minutes in travel, I’m saving myself $100 and six months of my time by investing the $500. This bargain become even more attractive if I can start earning money from my skills sooner. Say that workshop was about Photoshop and not tap dancing and in two days I pick up enough knowledge to hire myself out as a photo retoucher for local actors, yearbook photographers and real estate agents. Instead of gleaning the requisite knowledge over a six-month period, I learn it all in one shot, save time and money and begin earning an ROI immediately.

*When I talk about penny pinchers and cheapskates I’m referring to reluctant and infrequent spenders who will shill out under exactly the right circumstances, not folks who reuse tea bags and tip a generous 10% for outstanding service. You don’t want to cater to nickel and dimers like that. The effort it takes to get their business is not worth the headache of retaining it.

 

Source: J. Maureen Henderson

Why we procrastinate, and how to stop it. NOW.

 procrastination2

Stop Procrastination. NOW.

We all procrastinate from time to time. Sometimes it’s those mundane things – like sorting through old files, reconciling accounts, or tidying the linen cupboard. But often it’s the bigger things that require more time, more commitment, and put us at more risk of failing, looking foolish or feeling emotionally bruised.  Things like updating our resume to look for a new job, confronting a situation that weighs us down, or pursuing a long held aspiration.

Of course people come up with all sorts of creative reasons why now, today, just isn’t the right time. Too busy. Too broke. Too stressed. Too risky. Too uncertain. Too inexperienced. Too old. Too young. Too disruptive. Occasionally those reasons are valid. But more often they are simply excuses for doing the real work and experiencing the emotional discomfort inherent in making meaningful changes in our work and lives.

At the core of that discomfort is fear.  That potent and instinctive emotion whose reason for being is to protect us from pain (including the emotional variety) and urge us away from anything it perceives might threaten our sense of self, injure our pride, or rattle our world. However, left unchecked, those fears can drive us to cling on to the hope that if we procrastinate long enough, our situation will improve, or our misgivings will magically evaporate and be replaced with new found clarity and courage. We tell ourselves that ‘one day’ we will be ready to make a change, or take a chance; that ‘one day’ the timing will be better, our confidence stronger, our circumstances easier.

Unfortunately the reverse is generally true. As the days roll steadily by, our fears grow larger, not smaller, until they eventually lead to a burial ground for unfulfilled dreams and untapped potential.  All the time, our procrastination can exact a steep toll on our finances, career, business, relationships and health. We are loath to admit it, but in electing to put off today what can be done tomorrow, we inadvertently sell out on our happiness – both today, and in the many tomorrows that comprise our future. Philosopher William James was not understating the impact of procrastination when he said, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an unfulfilled goal.”

images (70)

 

The 7 strategies below will help you step through worn out excuses and into the bold actions needed to enjoy more of what you want in your life. Read them now. Apply them now. Delay grows increasingly expensive.

 

 

7 Strategies to End Procrastination and Start Into Action

  1. Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline. A goal without a deadline can be put off indefinitely.
  2. Break your goal into small pieces. The bigger your goal or the change you want to make, the more quickly it can send you into overwhelm. So if your goal feels daunting, break it into manageable, bite-sized steps. Remember, you don’t have to know every step of the way; just the next few steps immediately ahead.
 Your next steps will become obvious as you move along.
  3. Visualize the future you want. Imagine the emotions you will feel.  Picture yourself in a favorite place celebrating what you’ve accomplished. Imagine those who love you most celebrating your success.
  4. Harness fear.  Fear is a powerful emotion that can keep us mired in excuses. Yet, by focusing on what you don’t want, you can harness it in your favor. So write down how you will feel a year from now if you do nothing. Be brave and really honest with yourself about the cost of continued inaction. After all, if nothing changes, nothing changes!
  5. Build accountability.  Enlist a support team or an accountability partner or, as I suggested in Stop Playing safe, recruit your own Personal Board of Advisers to help keep you focused and on track. Set up a time to check-in regularly and let them know ways in which they can help. For instance, to remind you of past accomplishments, and why you set about making these changes in the first place.
  6. Reward progress. Set up a reward system to ensure you celebrate progress and small successes as you go along.  Whether a fun activity with friends, or a treat for yourself, make it something that acknowledges your progress and effort.
  7. Act bravely daily. Starting today.  Building momentum is crucial as you start out. So commit to stepping out of your comfort zone at least once per day.  Beginning today – before your fear-laden excuses, disguised as sheer laziness, kick in again.  It can be something really small. After all, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going, so long as you are stepping forward in a direction that inspires you. So take that first step, then another, then another… after all – life rewards action!

 

 

 

Margie Warrell, Contributor

5 Trends You Will Want to Pay Attention to in 2013

Leaders are often easy to pick out from a crowd — they’re charismatic, driven people who simply stand out from the rest. However, there’s much more to leadership than taking charge and giving orders. The strategy involved in excellent leadership is tricky, and it’s always changing. To that end, here are a few up-and-coming trends to consider

1.     We will witness the continued rise of women leaders and groups.

It wasn’t too long ago that a woman CEO was atypical. Now, I always expect to meet wfemale company leaders when I go to conferences and other events. The coolest way this trend is growing so quickly is found within the groups that support and promote women as CEOs, COOs, and other top executives. Organizations like the Women’s Information Network,Center for Women in BusinessGirls in Tech, and a variety of others are providing incredible platforms to connect. When you combine these groups with the passion women leaders have to help others, it’s easy to see that this trend will continue to grow exponentially. It’s important for male executives to recognize and support these efforts — and not let pride or antiquated views get in the way of company growth.

2.     Thought leadership will be crucial, but increasingly difficult.
Thought leadership has been a buzzword, especially in the last year or so, but it’s never been more important than right now. People like to throw the phrase around and might not 1123933understand exactly what it means, but it’s essentially this: conveying your expertise and thoughts in the media to build your credibility. The problem is that the cat’s out of the bag — people are realizing that thought leadership is one of the best ways to differentiate and build credibility around a company. People want to work for and with the best, so the more you can position yourself and your company as industry leaders, the more quickly your business will grow. With companies putting massive budgets toward thought leadership, the playing field is about to get incredibly crowded. Publications will have pipelines full of expert contributors, so it will be more difficult to get content published in the right places.

3.     Combining social good with your business model will become expected.

It’s natural to want to buy from a company if you feel that your purchase will help society in a meaningful way. Businesses are quickly catching on. What they’re doing is not just admirable — it’s also very profitable. Companies like ONEHOPE Wine determined that they could combine the passion of wine with giving back to the community. Fifty percent of the profits from all wine sales go to one of their charity partners. It clearly differentiates them as a company that cares, and at the same time, they’re able to grow in a remarkable way. Look at your core business and think about how you can include social good in the business model. You don’t need to go out and attempt to save the entire world at once, but a simple and relevant cause tied to your business can draw attention in a natural, positive way.

4.     People will start high-growth businesses from anywhere.

Ten years ago, you’d have had to move to Silicon Valley, New York, or another “big” city toimages (39) join or start a high-growth company. Now, small business incubators, accelerators, and other resources are sprouting up all over the place — not just major cities. You can start a successful business anywhere, and much more easily, now that we’re all connected through technology. You could get your startup off the ground in your pajamas from a trailer park if you wanted to. It’s interesting to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them my company is based in Columbia, Mo. — it’s like they thought we didn’t even have Internet connections. With one of the best journalism schools in the country in our backyard, we are able to get top talent without big-city overhead. Keep an eye out for opportunities outside of the major cities in 2013, and don’t miss out on a potential job or investment opportunity just because you don’t recognize the town’s name.

5.     Marketing strategies are becoming more closely related to high-quality content.

The value of high-quality content will become even clearer in 2013. Companies are starting to see that a content marketing strategy can be a great catalyst for other marketing strategies. It will provide a method to reengage your audience through social or marketing materials. Quality content will gain you authority links on credible sites, and those can be extremely helpful in building your online search rankings and reputation. Most importantly, it will help you get information out about the type of company you are and build the story behind your products or services. Creating a content marketing budget line item could save you a substantial amount of money on other line items that have eaten up your budget in the past.

Being a leader is about more than your take-charge attitude or your engaging charm — it’s also about the choices you make each day. Consider whether one of these trends might impact your company in 2013; it could be the best leadership move you make all year.

 

 

Source: John Hall, CEO of Digital Talent Agents

10 Great Do’s and Don’ts to Help you Connect and Profit.

Tell only your best friends!

Tell only your best friends!

Your Presence and Demeanor control many of the experiences and opportunities that come your way.

Here are a few things to consider today….

1. Never sit with your Arms Crossed.

In the next few days notice people that sit or stand with their arms crossed. What do you see? No matter what they are actually thinking or doing they appear closed and appear to be putting up a road block to you and those around you. Make it an objective to never cross your arms. This will allow more people to open up to you and interact with you.

2. When looking around, don’t look out of the Corner of your Eyes.young business man doubt at office

This seems kind of funny when you think about it, but I believe it is the difference between coming across Very Confident or Insecure. By turning your head and looking straight at someone you are saying “I am here, and I am looking at you” By looking out of the corner of your eyes you are saying “I hope you don’t notice that I am looking at you” Turning your head where you are looking is the powerful way to go. Watch others glance out of the corners of their eyes and let me know what you think.

3. Use great eye contact in everything you do.

Eye contact is incredibly important in everything you do. This takes work if you have neglected this part of your presence. When engaging others or simply passing by in the mall keep your head up, shoulders back and look those around you in the eye with a smile. People will notice a great presence from you and know you are a confident individual. If you are interested in reading more about this topic see Mastering Your People Skills from an earlier post.

                             A few ideas regarding dress code….

4. Avoid wearing tennis shoes with slacks or jeans when going out.Tennisshoes

I know! Some of you are yelling C’mon!! Save the sneakers for athletic shorts. There are so many great looking shoes that will dress your jeans up instead of making them look shabby. This is especially important when traveling abroad. Most of the rest of the World wouldn’t even consider sneakers when not out for a run or on the gym floor! Before you say “I’m skipping this one,” Get a full length mirror and check out each look and make the decision.

5. Never wear a Tie with a Short Sleeve Shirt.Tie

This look screams Dwight from “The Office”. Just don’t do it. If the event requires a tie it also requires a long sleeve shirt.

6. No Jeans or Jean Shorts on the Golf Course.

Ok, This is a new one for me! Read Golf Attire and you will see why I no longer wear jeans on the golf course. I freely admit, that when it was cool outside I used to wear jeans on the golf course and didn’t give it a second thought. I’m not going to do that again.

7. Suit and Tie ONLY at Funerals and Weddings.

tie1The two Dressiest Events that you will ever attend in your life are Funerals and Weddings. Wear the best stuff you have to these two events. No sport coats and no open collars for the guys.

8. When coming across and individual in a business you are calling on (or other situations) assume that person is the owner.

It’s much better to say “Hi, are you the owner? I’m looking for Fred Smith” rather than “Hi, are you the shipping and receiving clerk? I am looking for Fred Smith” The point is, an error in asking if they are the owner is a great compliment. An error when talking with the owner is uncomfortable for all involved. This may seem like a small thing, but every little bit helps!

9. When leaving a group early after eating or drinking on a group tab, leave more tipmoney than you think you should and don’t ask for a broken out check just for you.

Whether at a business outing or with a group of friends everyone there will really appreciate your being generous and leaving more than you should. Remember, you are leaving Tax and Tip too (as much as 30% more than what you ate and drank)! The opposite is not very pleasant. Nobody appreciates the cheap person leaving early before the check is delivered!

10. Treat your children as adults when speaking with them or helping them with childrendecisions as early as 5 years old.

I did this with my son Tyler and it has paid dividends ever since. When you do this, you empower them to make their own decisions and to become their own boss. Helping them make the right decision is so much more powerful than making the decision for them. You can use this strategy in everything they do.

Put some thought into these things and decide which ones you want to consider. I think you will find them useful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Cities For New College Grads In 2013

colorado-fans-hot_display_image_display_imageWe’ve all heard the stories or experienced them first-hand. The 24-year-old with a political science degree working as a barista at Starbucks. The math major waiting tables at the diner. The English B.A. living with her parents because she can’t find a teaching job.

To be sure, your prospects are even worse if you only have a high school diploma. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for high school grads age 20 to 24 with no college under their belts was 17.9% in 2012, compared to 7.7% for those with college degrees. But it’s still rough out there for college grads, and student debt burdens continue to rise. Those who graduated in 2011 are carrying an average of $26,600 in debt, according to the non-profitProject on Student Debt. That’s up from $25,000 the previous year. Meantime, though wages for new grads ticked up in the last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, over the long run pay has come down. According to a 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute, the hourly wage for new college grads fell over the last decade by 11% for men, to $21.68 and 6.7% for women, to $18.80.

With those challenging statistics in mind, in some cities it easier for new college grads to find both a job and affordable rental housing. A new ranking from Rent.com, a rental housing listing site, looks at the top 25 markets with the most rental listings, and then compares figures for unemployment, cost of living and annual mean wages. The research relies on information from the BLS, the Census Bureau and Rent.com’s own apartment rental database.  From those numbers, Rent.com came up with a list of ten cities where young grads would be most likely to find housing, work and a reasonable paycheck. Rent.com gave double weight to the unemployment rate. Here are Rent.com’s top ten cities for college graduates, with unemployment and wage figures from the BLS. These are the top ten cities, in no particular order:

Atlanta, Ga.
Mean annual income: $46,600
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 8.4%

Boston, Mass.
Mean annual income: $57,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,590
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Houston, Texas
Mean annual income: $47,500
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 6%

Denver, Colo.
Mean annual income: $50,300
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $970
Unemployment rate: 7.4%

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
Mean annual income: $49,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.1%

Seattle, Wash.
Mean annual income: $54,800
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,300
Unemployment rate: 6.7%

Dallas, Texas
Mean annual income: $46,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $900
Unemployment rate: 5.9%

Raleigh, N.C.
Mean annual income: $45,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
Unemployment rate: 7.5%

Washington, D.C.
Mean annual income: $62,900
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,600
Unemployment rate: 5.2%

St. Louis, Mo.
Mean annual income: $44,200
Median price for a one-bedroom apartment: $960
Unemployment rate: 7%

 

 

Source: Susan Adams, Forbes