Tuesday Tech Tip: 3 Evernote Tips for Business

Instant Gratification: By using the slick Evernote iPhone app and unobtrusive browser plug in, you can capture images, audio and text on any device and easily find things later. Evernote even searches the text inside of pictures so it’s perfect for scanning notes or business cards.

Full Article

20130126-140545.jpgFor the uninitiated, Evernote is a simple way to keep track of your digital life. You can store notes, pictures, ideas and just about anything else. It’s absolutely free and available on any device. However, if you upload a TON of stuff, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium version for around $45 a year. I want to tell you about my three biggest uses for Evernote.

1. Store Business Cards
I’m not a fan of collecting business cards. But, because you’re a wedding entrepreneur, you’ll inevitably end up with a drawer full of business cards from photographers, DJs, planners and limo drivers. Instead of digging through the drawer when you want to find that florist you met last year, scan the cards with the Evernote iPhone app. Since Evernote has an ever-improving OCR (reading text from pictures) technology, you can search your entire collection and Evernote can find what you’re looking for, just from the words in the picture. It can even read (legible) handwritten notes. How badass is that?

2. Research
Whether I’m doing research for a blog post or trying to find someplace to live, Evernote is awesome for keeping all of the pieces organized. I can create a “notebook” to store everything for my project, which we’ll call “Jeff’s awesome new house.” As I’m walking down the street, I’ll remember that my new house simply must have space for a fireplace. I can use the iPhone app once more, but this time to record a quick audio note saying, “deal breaker: house has to have a fireplace.” *Note: I don’t think Evernote can search (the content of) audio files yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll roll this out soon. After all, the technology to transcribe voicemails has been around (even if it’s terrible) for years. All you need to do is create a title for your file and slap on a tag like “deal breakers.”

3. Stay Productive and Never Forget
Have you ever found a super interesting article online and didn’t want to lose it so you just read it, even though you meant to be working on something else? Who am I kidding, you probably did that today. In fact, you might be doing right now. Never fear. You can use the Evernote WebClipper browser extension to easily clip things from the web that you want to find later. I have a “movies to watch” tag as well as a “fun for later” tag. Anytime I need a movie to watch, I just search Evernote for anything tagged “movies to watch” and I’ve got a good list of things I want to see. I use my “fun for later” tag to store articles, websites, concepts and TED videos I want to watch later. The power in this is less in being able to find good stuff later (which is completely awesome) and more in my newfound ability to save something for later so I can stay focused on whatever I’m currently working on.

20130126-141158.jpg
Everyone has a different use for evernote. You can store meeting notes, recipes, ideas, plans and just about anything else your little heart desires. One alternative I’ve been pretty impressed with is GetPocket, but I haven’t used it enough to recommend. I’d love to hear what others are using and why they like it better than Evernote.

I’m dying to know. How are you going to use Evernote?

*I only endorse products I use and love. I don’t get paid for it. I’ll let you know if that changes. -Jeff*

Tuesday Tech Tip: Google Maps Returns to iPhone

Google Maps ScreenshotHere’s a quick run-down on Forbes.com of the new Google Maps app. I was one of the many early-adopters who jumped on the new iPhone update only to realize that Apple had swapped the near-perfect Google Maps app for Apple’s own (infamously disappointing) take on maps. Having the iPhone 4 (and not the 4S) means that I still didn’t get turn-by-turn navigation.

If you’ve been missing a decent navigation app, Google has finally delivered for the iPhone. It’s not perfect, but at the perfect price of free, this app should replace Apple Maps in your iPhone dock ASAP.

Download the new Google Maps app.

Guest Post: How I Created a Viral Blog in 4 Months

CT Designs Inc logoI am so grateful to Jeff for asking me to share the story of how I was able to dramatically increase my blog traffic… Our numbers are still climbing and I couldn’t be happier.

My blogging history was sporadic at best. I would post maybe once or twice a week if I found the time. I wanted more traffic, but always thought I was just too busy to be a consistent blogger. I read somewhere that Google search engines are friendlier to blogs who’s content is refreshed 3-4 times per week.

Well starting in September 2011, I did just that and my blog traffic went through the roof. The following are some steps I took and hopefully they can help you as well:

  • I began to produce more content for my blog. Sounds elementary right? Honestly though, while it may seem daunting, as long as you can block out some time to store up multiple blogs, you won’t fall behind.
  • I made sure that my blog titles were more search engine friendly than they were “pithy”. It is always tempting to title your blog in a witty fashion, but its not always best if you’d like for your blog to pop up during searches. Continue reading

Three Things You’re Doing To Get Bad Brides

Every wedding entrepreneur wants tons of great clients. But most of us have had a couple of rotten ones, too. If you’ve ever gotten one lousy review on Yelp, worked with a really needy bride or had somebody inexplicably demand a refund, you know what I mean. And you also know how much it sucks.

As a coach, I help point out things that wedding business owners don’t realize they’re doing. Things that are attracting exactly the wrong types of clients. Here are three things you’re doing to get bad brides:

You don’t set boundaries.
This shows up in a lot of different ways. Often, it’s making one-too-many revisions for a needy client or dropping your price way more than you should.

You break your own rules.
It’s not good enough just to have rules (rules like “no checking email after 7pm”). You actually have to stick to them (at least the good ones). When you break your own rules, you open the door to let clients walk all over you, too.
Continue reading

Time: Are you Penny Wise and Dollar Poor?

You’ve probably heard the expression penny wise and dollar poor. And you’ve heard that time is money. But time is also time, and unlike money (or any other resource) it is limited. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So you can get more money or happiness or fun, but you can’t get more time. As a wedding business coach, I help wedding entrepreneurs get a whole lot smarter about how they spend their time. It’s fascinating to me that someone who runs a successful business and understands the importance of investing money in the right places can still be somewhat foolish with how they spend their time.

Okay, let me give you an example. Most of the wedding business owners I work with think like bootstrapping entrepreneurs. When you’re starting out, you’ve got lots of time and no money. But now, they’re working with all of the brides they want (and the money is rolling in) and time is the scarce resource. The problem is that they still act as though there’s plenty of time and no money. So let’s say you’re a wedding photographer who’s now booked solid after a couple of years of hard work. Between photo editing, sales and client meetings and actually shooting the weddings you are slammed. Not to mention blogging, staying up on trends, trying to learn more about social media and everything else. You don’t delegate anything because you’re stuck in the old mindset of I-have-to-do-everything-myself.

So how do you break out of the penny-wise-dollar-poor mentality?

1. Know what you absolutely love to do (and are crazy-good at). Usually, for a wedding photographer, this is actually taking the pictures. This is where you want to spend the most time (because it makes you happy and it makes your life better).

2. Root out your time-hogs and give them to someone else. Many great photographers can outsource their photo editing to a cheap, but talented assistant. This isn’t just about saving time. If you dread doing your accounting chores each month, to the point where you are thinking about it constantly, imagine how much energy and time you’ll save by outsourcing that to a professional bookkeeper.

3. Know how you make money. Those time-hogs are sinister because they keep you from doing things that get you more business. Don’t try to do everything yourself just because you can. Outsource as much as possible so you can focus on getting more business (so you can spend more time doing what you love).

4. Love yourself. No joke. As a business coach, I don’t just give quick-fix advice (actually, I never do) – we explore why a coaching client isn’t being wise with their time. If you’re using up all your time on tasks you could outsource, ask yourself why. Chances are, there’s some fear there, or possibly the feeling that you don’t deserve to work just four days a week. It takes a strong person to love themselves and to say, “You’re worth it. You deserve to spend your life working on things that you love, instead of mind-numbing tasks.” Are you worth it?

5. Remember that this applies to money, too. I hear wedding business owners say things like “I can’t afford that” all the time in response to investments like marketing opportunities or (ahem) coaching. But what is your return on investment? If that marketing opportunity (or, ahem, coaching) will bring you ten times as much money as you pay for it, how can you afford not to? If it will save your sanity or give you ten more hours a week to spend on things you love, how can you afford not to make the investment?

It’s easy to think small and to make excuses. I do it all the time. But then I remember, there’s a better life out there for me. And for you, too. So if you are twice as productive on days when you hit the gym, can you afford not to hit the gym? I can’t.

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Where have you been penny wise and dollar poor in your life (when it comes to time or money)? More importantly, what the hell are you going to do about it?