Branding, Business and too Many Choices

These days Realtors want to get their license and launch their businesses properly; and yet their options to get set up are like the maze of aisles and the mind-boggling quantity of the same type of product at the grocery store.

Agents need to navigate the aisles of colours, fonts, website choices, graphic designers, sign companies, database Contact Management tools and photographers – both portrait and property – and generally – those are not the same person.

One of my favourite meetings are the ones that manifest in a brilliant combination of design, images and flow that becomes the brand for a client.

Those meetings generally flow into their need for products, marketing and systems where they will be represented by their brand. Keeping in mind that Brand isn’t just colour and font – it is what you represent, it’s how your words flow across all platforms and conversations.

Are you a no-nonsense realtor?
Do you enjoy modern clean lines?
Are you the image of elegance and luxury?
Are you quirky, flashy or easy-going?

These elements should be displayed in your brand in such a way that attracts your ideal client. For some realtors, that could be anybody and everybody; for others, they’ll only work with clients within a certain price range or with certain personalities.

Often, Realtors don’t settle on a niche in their business until several years into their practice – they may want to focus on the condominium market, but their true abilities are with moving-up families or seniors moving-down. Many Realtors never choose a niche, though they’ll often talk about their preference when asked. This preference can become a core part of their brand.

Whether it’s simple or stylish, colourful or classy, your brand should be an image of you.

What’s your brand?

Introducing: Workflowy

Like most Realtors, Round 2 it uses a lot of tools in our work environment to get our jobs done.

After looking for years for a product that allows break-down lists that is portable, organized, and on-line, in walks Workflowy.

Workflowy is a program that behaves a lot like your favourite lined desk-pad or lined notebook; however, Workflowy allows you to add new items to a list, sub-list, even sub-sub-list as needed. You can also Mark Done your tasks, hashtag important or common items, or duplicate a task or list.

I started using this product this weekend by starting with lists for Work and Home. I added Personal, Blogs and a few other sections. From there, everything expanded.

Getting started with Workflowy

Getting started with Workflowy

As you can see, there are multiple ways to track your tasks and processes. Some bullets have grey circles. This indicates a list that contains more items.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll provide you with feedback on the daily use of this product versus other favourites like a lined notebook, desk blotter, and even Real Estate oriented applications like Top Producer.

Do you have a favourite product to get you round 2 what you do best?

Social Media Spam and Managing your Privacy

There is a post floating around Facebook. It comes up in my feed almost as often as Facebook announces updated Privacy settings.

You can find more information on Snopes.com, but this post on www.urbanlegends.com puts it far better than I can.

Friends and family please follow….For the next little bit weeks I will be posting this and please once you have done it please post done, because those of you who do not keep my information from going out to the public I will have to DELETE YOU: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. I post shots of my family that I don’t want strangers to have access to!!! However, with the recent changes in FB, the “public” can now see activities on ANY wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment” ~ automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we can not change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “LIFE EVENTS” “STATUS UPDATES” “PHOTOS” and “COMMENTS & LIKES”. By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public. Now, copy and paste this on your wall. Once I see this posted on your page I will do the same.

In short, update your privacy settings so your posts can only seen by friends, put your friends in Groups/Lists so you can be sure only specific friends can see and act on your posts, and by all means, avoid doing everything in the italicized text above, and tell your friends to please remove it before people stop interacting with their posts entirely.

Technology, Security and Social Media

The number of articles starting to show up in my newsfeed about Instagram’s policy changes coming January 16th, 2013 is starting to get mind-boggling.

Security ChainsConcerned?

Most of us don’t have a legal background, so we tend to trust what we hear, see and read throughout the internet. Most of us update our security settings on our social media accounts the first chance we get.

But when I see a quote like the one below, the first thing to do is close your Instagram account.

Edit: This just came up in my newsfeed: How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Delete your Account

“It’s asking people to agree to unspecified future commercial use of their photos,” says Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “That makes it challenging for someone to give informed consent to that deal.”

However, I’ve had a Blackberry for years, and there never was an Instagram app for that.

If you have an Android or an i-Phone, and you use Instagram, take note. Those photos you snapped while on a vacation of your kids playing could end up as a spread in a travel magazine. And you wouldn’t be able to collect one red cent. Nor would you be able to sue.

You may also want to check other privacy settings. On Facebook, who can see your posts, photos, pages and activity. You can put friends into groups and create posts that only they can see. In fact, you may also want to limit Facebook’s access to your phone’s address book and calendar.

Using applications like Selective Tweets can prevent conversations on Twitter from flooding your friends’ Newsfeeds. Add the app in Facebook and connect it to your personal and/or Page profiles. Next time you tweet and want it to show up on Facebook, add the #fb hashtag to your tweet. Your Facebook posts from your Page will automatically be aggregated to Twitter.

Check your settings folks. Be safe this Holiday season.

Goal Setting for 2013

I find it interesting that the first two images that come up in my clip-art search for “goal” are pictures of money; the rest are the usual goal posts, soccer nets etcetera. After poking around, I realized that the best on-target image I could find is simply this:

I do actually have a picture of myself taking a shot, but it’s not suited to a business website.

Are you setting goals for 2013? 2014? Business goals, personal goals, family goals, household goals.

There are all kinds of tools and products on the web and the market that are built to help you get there. Whether you need a daily reminder, a visual designer, there is something out there for you. I found three tools this year; neither were for me.

  • Goals on Track is a paid goal management organization system. It helps you to keep on track, add new goals and break things down into edible chunks.
  • I can’t recall the name of another product. I looked at it, played with it and discarded it. I’m technical, but not THAT technical.
  • There is a product offered by MindMovies that helps you create a vision board video. Enter your goals, select some music and MindMovies will help you build with images and sound.

If you are artistic and prefer to cut and paste, perhaps a Vision Board is more your style. Grab a piece of bristol board, collect magazines or photos printed from the internet, grab some words that help you to aim, and VOILA!

Spend 2 minutes per day studying your vision and your goals. It may just help you to get where you want to be.

What’s the real key?

BELIEVE

 

Holiday Greetings from ‘Round 2 it!

2011 and 2012 were interesting years full of new experiences, new technology, training and changes.

I moved from the cubicle I had rented for the last 8 years to working at home, my son, now 4, started school this year, and I’m finally able to settle down and work on some courses I signed up for over the last two years.

So far, I haven’t managed to find a business coach who 1) I can afford and 2) love passionately. However, my biggest gratitude goes to Therese Skelly and her group of fantastic business people on Facebook who contribute so much to the small business community. They are supportive and knowledgeable in so many fields and make a fantastic resource when I need feedback or support.

I’m working more with WordPress websites and picking up a few clients who need simple websites that won’t cost thousands of dollars to get a presence on the internet.

The list of tools I share with you during conversations changes regularly, though there are a few standards which still includes Evernote and Hootsuite.

When it comes to real estate, a realtor can’t go wrong with a business management tool as solid as Top Producer ~ yes it can be complicated, but only until you realize how much of Top Producer looks like a spider web – with your clients in the middle. In fact, if you are considering a Top Producer website to go hand in hand with your database, please contact Jesse Fleming. If you mention my name, he will give you a fantastic deal: $59.95 for both products. You can reach him at 1-800-444-8570 extension 8409 or Jesse.Fleming@topproducersystems.com . Jesse is my go-to-guy for all things Top Producer.

And finally, my business is going through a re-write so I can serve small businesses better. With 10 years of experience serving realtors, and following techology and social media I’ve developed a knack for providing simple easy-to-follow solutions to every day business needs. Feel free to contact me any time to discuss where you need to get ’round 2 it.

This December, I wish you all the best wishes, greatest gratitude and deepest blessings for the holiday season.

Merry Christmas

Blessed Yule

Happy Holidays

Favourite Tools to Get Round 2 it

Everyone has tools they love to use to make them more efficient getting the job done.

It isn’t always about the tools though. It is about how you use them effectively.

Rockmelt.logo

Your browser, for example, regardless of which one you use, have similar features. Safari, Internet Explorer and RockMelt all offer Tabbed Browsing. The most effective use of this feature is to have your browser open all your favourite websites every time you start the software.

For Realtors, Top Producer is a popular choice. At it’s heart, Top Producer is a rolodex; a fancy phone book; but, the core purpose of Top Producer is as a Business Manager. If you set it up as soon as you sign up with any action plans and communications, plan your purpose in advance, then Top Producer can be a complete management tool.

If you are a fan of social media, whether you are using it for business, or personal connections, there are plenty of tools you may be interested in.

  • RockMelt – the Browser with the Feed Ribbon
  • TweetDeck – Manage your twitter stream, Mentions, Direct Messages and Chat; and, allows you to cross post tweets to your Business Page.
  • Evernote – One of my favourite tools – Whether you hand write notes on Post-Its, a note pad, a napkin, or open Microsoft Word, Evernote would be a fantastic addition to your repertoire. You can add notes to Evernote with the Mobile software and the snapshot feature. The photos become searchable. You can also use Evernote to create checklists. The best part of this software: Install it on all your computers and your mobile phone – and if you aren’t on your own machine, you can access your notes via web.

What Tools do you use to help you Get ‘Round 2 it?

Are you Note-Able?

Most realtors that I’ve worked with in my years in the real estate industry are Note-able – that is, they tend to scribble notes on napkins, the nearest Post-It or scrap of paper.

Goodness knows I’m notorious for doing the same.

Recently I came across a free product called Evernote. What this product allows you to do is either type a quick note into the software, add title and tags that can be recalled using the search engine; or, you can snag a whole, or parts of, a website in which you have found interesting information. You can even add photographs to your Evernote database.

As usual, I spent a good hour checking out the reviews and uses of this product before signing up. I typically look for how I can use it for my business, for personal use, and to see if any of my clients might be able to make use of it.

What I love most is the ability to have many notebooks for different content. Separate your Business notes, concepts, to-dos and ideas from your personal notes, books to read, grocery list, recipes, etc. You get the idea.

How does this apply to you, my real estate fans?

  • There is an Evernote App for iPhone, Android and Blackberry
  • There is an Evernote App to install on your computer
  • There is a “capture” feature 1-click to add a website to your notebooks
  • Take a photo of a hand-written note, and Evernote will identify the words written on your note, and make them search-able.
  • The web version of Evernote automatically synchronizes with the Desktop and Mobile application.

The best point yet, is that your notes follow you where ever you go – whether you are on the road, at your office, working at home, or on your laptop in your favourite coffee shop, you always have access to your notes.

How can you be more Note-Able?

Get Round 2 it… with kids

Does it get easier when they get older? I think so…

My son is two-and-a-half years old.
Round 2 it Business Services is 9 years old.

How do I Get Round 2 it with my son?

My partner and I take turns staying at home with him. We are both self-employed, and are able to arrange our schedules so we can split the work-week, share time with our little man, and have a chance to leave the house for meetings, appointments and social engagements.

When it is my turn at home, I either sit at the computer working and leave Alex to his own devices, or I sit on the floor and play with him and let email take care of itself.

I’ve been working since early 2010 to transform ‘Round 2 it Business Services into a business I can manage as my schedule allows, within the reasonable timelines of my clients. In fact, as Alex gets older, I will involve him in some of my tasks (like mail-outs) or the housework.

Have you ever seen a 2 year old fold laundry?

Has running the business gotten easier since he was born? Yes, I think so. My organization, processes and scheduling have changed, and communication with my spouse and clients has improved. I don’t need to be “on” 24/7 anymore because he can play on his own for a short while, and he still takes 3 hour naps – time that I optimize while I have a chance to focus.

2011 might be the year that my son sees the inside of more babysitter’s homes, and I see more work time at the office I rent from Keller Williams Ottawa Realty.

I will still do my best to Get Round 2 doing what I do best…. for you.

A Business Transformation

How often do you look at your business and wonder how you can improve your knowledge, your pricing, and your services to your clients?

Over the past 12 months that is exactly what I’ve been doing with ‘Round 2 it Business Services. I’ve followed several virtual assistant blogs and Twitter posts, reading, attending webinars when my schedule allows. After all these activities, I decided to create packages of varying levels to better serve my clients.

After reading an interesting article on packaged vs. hourly services by Business Services Etc, I concluded that a part of my business will be packaged services rather than hourly services.

So far, the packages I have come up with include:

  • Website updates and syndication
  • List to Expiry
  • List to Close
  • Deal to Close

What kind of services would you like to see bundled?

I’m also considering offering brainstorming sessions, database management and group training sessions for software programs for single rates; especially if I need to travel.

Over the next several months, stay tuned for a change in pricing and packaging.

I hope you will find the package and service that you need to help you get round 2 doing what you do best.