Here’s What a Home Office Could Cost You

Home office picture

A home office is a pathway to greater independence, financial freedom and improved work and life balance for some people. All it takes to design a home office at some residences is a spare bedroom, a large walk-in closet or a finished basement. That’s the space design part. Actually making a home office pay off personally, time wise and financially is not always as easy as it might seem.

 

Home office disasters are not an illusion

In fact, if you’re not fully ready to work out of a home office, working from home could prove disastrous. It could also set up a regretful situation between your children, spouse, extended family and you. That’s why clear personal goals and well defined personal and work boundaries are key to win while working out of a home office. Without clear boundaries, here are just a few disasters that could strike after you start working from a home office:

  • Falling behind in work to the point that you put your employment in jeopardy (Run too many personal errands and you could struggle to keep up with work projects.)
  • Growing utility bills (Run the air conditioner or heater all day and you could see your utility bills rise.)
  • Poor health (Working out of a home office could make it too tempting to snack or munch on unhealthy, sugary foods.)
  • Lower mental clarity (A home office could prevent you from having to worry about a supervisor standing over your shoulder watching what you’re working on – this alone could find you watching television, checking personal emails and answering the phone, all while you try to focus on work.)
  • Slower working ability (If your home office technology is outdated, it could take you longer to finish routine assignments.)
  • Less respect (Working from home could create the perception that you’re not fully invested in your work. This could affect your performance ratings. It could also tempt relatives, friends and neighbors to ask you to run their personal errands.)

Clarity of purpose is a must for home office success

Similar to how you could be excited about getting hired to work a new job only to discover that you are not a good fit for your new employer or the work that you’re now doing, you could set up a home office and find out that it was one of the worst working decisions that you’ve ever made. Clarity of purpose can help you to know if a home office is right for you.

Clear boundaries like established and clearly communicated work hours and allowed numbers of personal distractions are crucial. Boundaries need to be established and clearly communicated before you start working from home.

Without these boundaries, you could end up running errands for relatives, neighbors and friends. This is because people might assume that you’re not really working simply because you are not commuting to an offsite business location.


On your own part, you could assume that you’re able to look after your young children while you work from home if you don’t set up clear boundaries. You could also end up working 60 or more hours a week, constantly coming up with one task after another that you really ought to complete before you call it a day.

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Is Social Media Marketing Scheduling Worth It?

By Avery Baxter

social media pics

Image by Ibrahim (Wikimedia Commons)

Social media marketing may always be about numbers. Marketing, as a whole, is generally about casting a wide net. But, you can’t just cast a wide net. You have to toss your net into the right area. Additionally, for marketing, including social media marketing, to be successful, you must understand your target audience’s perceived needs.

Using social media to get to know your target audience

Understand whether members of your target audience perceive that their lives will be more comfortable, safer, enriched or advancing if they take in entertainment that makes them feel more deeply connected to their childhood, a time in their life when experiences seemed more fun and joyous. You can do this by following certain members of your target audience at their social media accounts and paying attention to what they post about most.


As an example, if your target audience feels attached to happy times from the past, you might get the most out of using social media marketing scheduling to show potential customers images of your products with symbols, song and book titles that were popular two to three decades ago. Other perceptions that you need to understand about your target audience before sending social media marketing messages include:

  • Time of day they feel they function at the highest levels
  • Whether they perceive that they are better flying solo or moving in a crowd
  • Less material belongings will lead them to greater peace
  • Books and stories that raise questions within them, the types of questions they could ponder for hours or days, are highly valuable
  • Knowing the time of day that your target audience feels they function at their highest levels will have a direct impact on your social media marketing scheduling. Instead of going with articles that tell you when is the best time to send social media marketing messages to your target audience, listen to your target audience.

Observe when key influencers who are part of your target audience send and answer questions through social media platforms. You could do this by following these influencers.

Using social media marketing schedulers to reach target audiences

Reach your target audience at scale using social media marketing scheduling and, if your messaging is effective, you should notice a spike in sales. At the very least, you should notice an increase in customer contacts.

For example, potential clients might email or call your office asking for details about your products and services. This is a time when social media marketing scheduling could truly prove worth it. Don’t just answer potential customers’ questions, find out what these consumers perceive as their greatest “right now” challenge.

Find out what they think it will take to meet or resolve these perceived great challenges. Tie your social media marketing messages to the challenges and the solutions. Just make sure that you highlight how your products and services help your target audience to enjoy the solutions.


After you get the social media messaging down (link messaging with images and sound), identify when you will send messages. Be open to changing social media marketing scheduling distribution days and times. You also might find it advantageous to work with other social media marketers, as they could help you to cast an even wider net.

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Is Social Media Marketing Scheduling Worth It?

Technology Changes are Going to Help or Hurt Your Business

By Monica Simpson

There is no way around change in this world. Get ready.

You’re going to experience and see a wealth of change as an entrepreneur, especially as a creative business owner. It’s easier when you’re the one creating the change. That’s when you know in advance what’s coming. Advance knowledge gives you more time to adjust to the impending change.


As you advance further into the new year, you’re going to experience growing change. How you respond to the changes will greatly impact your business, including your bottom line.

This message may be especially on target for you if you have dug in your heels and refuse to learn new marketing tactics, refuse to create a mobile friendly website, refuse to partner with an experienced social media marketer and more.

Could your refusal to change be stalling your business growth?

Are you skeptical about technological changes? Do you think that technology is created too much change in the world and at much too fast a pace? Could your attitude about technological change be hurting your business?

Technology is rapidly changing the way that people work. Innovation has taken workers from relying on fax machines, desktop computers and emails to communicate with clients across nations to connecting with customers on social media and using mobile devices. These changes took place between the 1990s to the early 2000s.

With these technological shifts come mind shifts. From a purely business perspective, if you don’t make mind shifts as the world changes, you could lose ground. You could needlessly expend energy on basic business initiatives, forcing yourself to put in three or more times the effort that you’d put in if you had made a mind shift and saw the benefit in learning how to use new technologies.

Step out of the old, enter the new

An example of this is how some workers continued to rely heavily on fax machines after email launched. Some workers had become so attached to faxing communications that they didn’t shift toward using emails until they accepted the fact that emails reduced the need to destroy trees to create paper to fax a message.

Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to force the world to stop changing so you can keep connecting with clients the way that you were taught when you first entered the business world? You could make it easier on yourself by entering new business strategies and by using new business tools in parts.

Steps to entering the new could include:

  • Taking an online SEO marketing training course once a month
  • Setting a budget and paying for a social media marketing campaign once a month for three months
  • Hiring or contracting with people who are on the cutting edge of new business technologies
  • Encouraging innovation at your business, even if you’re a solopreneur
  • Journaling your successes and the actions that you take to learn and master new technologies
  • Attending business expos, seminars and trade shows


    Also, continue to hone your skills. Keep examining your products and services. Search for and find new ways to improve upon the products and services that you offer clients. As your products and services get better, don’t be shocked if your confidence that your business can survive technological changes increases.
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Technology Changes are Going to Help or Hurt Your Business

How to Put Product Marketing on Buyers

By Eboni Walker

Multiple rewards can be gained when you put product marketing on buyers. Big name organizations, including for profit and nonprofit entities do it. Olympia, corporate trade shows, top beauty salons, sports organizations and regional and national book conferences, events like the BookExpo America, the Harlem Book Fair and the Miami Book Fair look to buyers to market their products.

Guilt free buyers product marketing

It’s not a rip off. Few, if any, people are going to promote your products as passionately as the people who appreciate and love your products from top to bottom. Buyers are effective with product marketing because they know the ins and outs of your products. They have used what you’re selling.


Experience using your products equips buyers to field prospect questions, even when you’re not around. The first iPhone, a multi-purpose device that marketed in 2007, a smartphone that would go on to sell more than 6 million units before it was discontinued in 2008, saw more than its fair share of product marketing by buyers.

Starbucks, Red Bull, bottled water and sports sneakers all have gained massive sales after product marketing fell to buyers. And it’s not that manufacturers of these products set out to have buyers market their products. It happened organically which is why guilt shouldn’t interfere when you put product marketing on buyers — if you do it the right way.

Right ways to put product marketing on buyers

But, what is the right way to put product marketing on buyers? To start, let buyers have all the power when it comes to choosing whether or not to get involved in product marketing. After buyers are onboard with marketing your products, make it easy for buyers to spread the word about your products. Here are some ways that you can do this:

  • T-shirts – Add product images, corporate logos and definitely your website URL on t-shirts. Also, add a catchy slogan.
  • Caps – Loyalists actually go out and look for caps. Offer caps in multiple colors and with memorable slogans.
  • Umbrellas – Who doesn’t use an umbrella from time to time?
  • Drinking mugs – These marketing products serve as reminders and marketing tools. They keep your works in people’s minds, and they introduce your works to new consumers.
  • Stamps – Peel-away and ink stamps work great, with peel-away stamps coming in multi-colors. Put stamps on bills, invoices, checks — all printed mailing materials.
  • Car magnets – As with the other product marketing tools, include product images and your website URL on car magnets.
  • Newsletters – Conduct random prize (product) giveaways that are limited to newsletter subscribers
  • Special days – Designate a special day to run free breakfasts, product giveaways, autograph sessions, Q&A sessions, book signings and other ways for buyers to engage with your executive team, manufacturers and key reps.
  • Discussion series – Host discussion series to engage buyers. Find out from buyers how you can make it easier for them to get your products. Also, use discussion series to find out how you can make it easier to put product marketing on buyers.
  • Charity events – Give away samples and other marketing products at charity events.

Quick product marketing tools

Marketing tools that you can use to put product marketing on buyers include some of the above items. Other popular product marketing tools include:

  • Sun visors
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Bookmarks
  • Mouse pads
  • Postcards
  • Brochures
  • Coupons
  • Picture frames
  • Pens and pencils
  • Jackets
  • Raincoats
  • Sweat bands
  • Wrist bands
  • Video trailers
  • Podcasts
  • Shareable images that include your product name and website URL
  • Product reviews
  • Greeting cards
  • Pillow covers
  • Seat cushions

Make it easy to put product marketing on buyers

Get creative. You could easily come up with product marketing strategies and tools that get the word out about your products to more and more consumers. These actions and tools can also keep you in touch with passionate product buyers, making it easier for buyers to market your products.

This is important because buyers who love your products want to be part of product marketing efforts. You don’t even need to ask them to tell others about your latest products, how the products work and benefits gained from using the products. Pleased buyers will do these things on their own.

You’ll get the most yardage out of this type of marketing if you make it extremely easy for buyers to spread the word about your products. Free samples, low cost products, easy social media shares and community events that attract thousands are among the ways that you can make it easy for buyers to engage in product marketing for you.

Go to the movies for product marketing

Major motion picture studios combine a few of these approaches just before a new movie release. Before the launch of the new Tom Cruise movie, American Made, video trailers, news stories, links to previous Tom Cruise movies and online and offline interviews were shared with movie goers.


Following the release of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, came a spotlight on the book, posters, art prints, drinking mugs, book bags, display kits, dolls and necklaces. These low cost products can be shared with loyal buyers and spread to larger consumer markets.

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How to Put Product Marketing on Buyers

Book Marketing Scams to Avoid

By Monica Sampson

Book marketing scams cost writers thousands of dollars. When you think about it, book marketing scams are similar to psychic scams. Stay with me. The two scams are similar from a critical focal point. Both book marketing scams and psychic scams prey on a person’s deep desires to achieve a goal.

Why book marketing scams are easy cons

In the book world, the goal could be to write a novel that earns a spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Or the goal could be to sale enough books to earn a full-time income as a writer. Winning literary book awards, securing a movie deal or building rewarding relationships with national and international book clubs are other goals that book writers have.


A person who visits or telephones a psychic, on the other hand, might have a goal of discovering the right job to accept, the right town to move to or the right relationship to invest in. It’s these achievements that can lead to inner happiness, peace and deeper life engagement.

No wonder people fall prey to these scams. But, people don’t just fall prey to book marketing scams, some people could come to believe in the scams to the point that they defend the scams. Still, other book writers might learn about the scams and start scamming other writers.

Signs to detect book marketing scams

At the core of scams is a desire to make money fast and easy. Check out these signs that you might be dealing with book marketing scams:

  • Promises that are not tied to factual analytics
  • Focus on bestselling authors, bestselling books and the growing human population – a focus that can create the belief that just because other writers have made it big and just because there are billions of people on the planet, you could sell tons of books
  • Advertising how many people have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as if being on those platforms will bring you lots of book sales if you invest in their book marketing scams
  • Broad range of book marketing without proven results
  • Gives you little to no information about their target audience’s demographics
  • Connects their book marketing scams to your deepest book dreams
  • Not hearing any writers you know mention how their book sales increased after using similar book marketing services
  • Produces more page or video views but next to no new subscriptions or book sales
  • Book review marketing scams that leave you doing the bulk of the work to contact book reviewers and try to get your book reviewed at sites like Amazon.com, especially when those very book reviews could be pulled by Amazon.com
  • Highlights their number of social media followers instead of their number of book sales
  • Low grade level writing that instills reader trust
  • Apologies from the person running the book marketing scam that she forgot to tell you that there were fees tied to services she introduced you to a day or so ago, as if she simply forgot to tell you about the fees when she first reached out to you (these apologies may go on for three to four paragraphs and be written in a way that instills trust in you – be careful)
  • Lack of legitimate book marketing references, places like major television, major radio and major magazine and newspapers
  • Slow build that leads you toward investing more and more money in the book marketing scam

Keep yourself safe from book marketing scams

A low number of book writers go big. Yet, large numbers of people convince themselves that their book is going to be a bestseller. Admittedly, the facts of just how rarely this happens can be difficult to accept, let alone digest.

If writers don’t research the book market and accept how tough it can be to rise to the top in the industry, they might turn to book marketing scams in the hopes of selling lots of books. At best, writers who deal with book marketing scams might see a very short spike in book sales.

Over the long term, these same writers could fall into the trap of believing that their books will sale using the scams if they just tweak one little thing. Maybe they tell themselves that the book marketing scams will work if they tweak their book blog, website, social media posts or travel to more book conferences.

That might be one of the biggest achievements that keeps book marketing scams going. That shared, the best way to avoid becoming prey to book marketing scams might be to accept facts. Talk with people who have reached book sales goals that you want without using scams. One or more of their strategies could prove fruitful.


Build your own book buyer contact list, accept that achieving your book sales goals might be a very slow process and gain deep value from each connection that you make with a book buyer. Above all, if you truly know that you are meant to be a writer, keep writing.

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Book Marketing Scams to Avoid

What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams?

By Monica Sampson

achieving your dreams image

Picture at Wikimedia Commons by Jeffrey Pang

Another 365 days have almost passed. What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams? Just what is holding you back?

It’s a point worth considering, especially since dreams don’t become true simply because you want them to. Think about it. This may actually be what’s keeping your dream forever in the future.

Wishing doesn’t materialize dreams

As someone said, “The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.” It’s also been said that, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Colin Powell put it this way, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Even more, “The secret to success: stop wishing, start doing.”

Could it be the action part that’s keeping you from achieving your dreams?

Examine it.

For example, what actions did you take over the last six months to manifest your dream? Also, if your dream is to start a marketing agency, over the last six months did you conduct market research?

Do you know the number of marketing agencies in the city and region where you live? How much information do you possess regarding the types of clients these marketing agencies service? Do you know the specific types of services the marketing agencies provide?


Did you visit the IRS’ official website and find out the types of taxes you are legally required to file? Furthermore, have you decided if your marketing agency is going to be a partnership, a corporation, cooperative or a sole proprietorship? What state tax, licensing or business forms do you need to submit?

If you don’t have answers to the above questions, maybe you don’t really want to own and operate a marketing agency. Or perhaps you’re stalling yourself by engaging in magical thinking. Perhaps you think that you’re dream will come true if you only think about the dream hard and long enough.

Fact is, only wishing and fantasizing about your dream will not only keep you from achieving your dreams, it will develop frustration, anger and maybe even depression in you. Here are some signs that you may believe that thought alone will manifest your dreams.

Spot excuses that put the brakes on achieving your dreams

It doesn’t feel good to admit it, but you might be telling yourself lies. You might be giving yourself excuses. Which of these excuses do you see yourself running to and hiding behind?

  • I’m too (pick anything based on your physical structure)? You might be telling yourself, “I’m too old; too short; I’m too young; too big.” Or you might tell yourself, “I’m a woman; I’m a man.”
  • My parents abused me. I’ll always struggle with the abuse and will never achieve anything significant.
  • People don’t understand me. I’m different. People will never support me or support me enough to allow achieving my dreams to become real.
  • Other people can’t be trusted. I have to do everything myself. Even more, I don’t have enough energy to do what it takes to achieve my dreams.
  • It’s wrong to outdo your parents. My mother and my father worked hard for other people all their lives. it’s arrogant of me to want to achieve more than my parents achieved.

Excuses grow like weeds

That’s just a start. Below are more excuses that you may be using to keep yourself from achieving your dreams. Aren’t you tired of telling yourself these lies?

  • Successful people lie and cheat. I’m not okay with lying and cheating, so I’ll never make it big. (Fact is that the most successful people don’t lie and cheat. I’m talking successful – not financially stacked.)
  • Government regulations are holding me back. (How do you address the fact that many people are achieving their dreams right now, despite government regulations?)
  • College is too expensive. The only way to get ahead in this world is to get a college degree.
  • When I really start achieving my dreams, my family and friends will get jealous or start asking me for money.
  • Success makes people bad. It’s not good for you.
  • If it wasn’t for my spouse or significant other, I’d be on my way. This other person is holding me back, keeping me from achieving my dreams.
  • God wants me to struggle. God knows that struggle and hurt will make me better. (Does this mean that God didn’t create you right the first time? Does this mean that God messes up, slips up and makes mistakes that have to be corrected with pain?)

Take the excuses that you use to keep yourself from achieving your dreams and examine them honestly. A good way to do this is to read history books about people who achieved their dreams and who had a similar or exact physical make-up as yours.

Attend seminars and listen to interviews given by people from a similar background as yours. Do this each week, more if possible. You’ll soon accept that excuses are lies. If you truly want to achieve your dreams, you’ll relieve yourself of excuses.


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What’s keeping you from achieving your dreams?

Why you need an electronic subscriber contact list

Don’t be fooled by social media. You need your own electronic subscriber contact list. With tools like Excel, Word and Outlook, it’s free to create a subscriber contact list. But, it’s time consuming. You have to add and remove contacts manually.

Going electronic gives you time to focus on other growth initiatives

Sure. It only takes minutes to keep a small subscriber list updated. When I started The Book Lover’s Haven (http://www.chistell.com) newsletter subscriber contact list, I used Word. Then, I moved to Excel to save time.


My subscriber list grew to the point where it was taking me more than an hour to update the list. At first, I pushed updates out from weekly to monthly. The list kept growing and became more work to maintain. Today, I use Constant Contact and let subscribers sign up to receive The Book Lover’s Haven themselves. It only takes a few seconds.

If you do use a third party subscriber contact list tool (i.e. Constant Contact, Mail Chimp), consider downloading the list once a month or once a quarter, depending on how fast your list changes. Also, make sure that you only add people to your subscriber contact list who requested to be added to the list.

Little is more aggravating than feeling as if someone forced you to do something. Adding someone to your subscriber contact list without getting the person’s approval is forceful. It’s not cool.

Benefits of owning an electronic subscriber contact list

Besides giving you control of your contacts, having your own subscriber list puts you in the driver seat. You don’t have to follow rules set by social media platform owners. You don’t have to compete with other social media platform users. You can determine the best days and times to send direct electronic mail to contacts. Other benefits of creating your own subscriber contact list include:

  • Opportunities to request contacts’ home addresses, so that you can send them printed brochures, catalogs and longer forms of direct mail
  • Send contacts custom designed greeting cards
  • Mail contacts seasonal or birthday gifts
  • Allow contacts to only view certain information (instead of giving them access to everything in your social media timeline)
  • Ship coupon books to members of your subscriber contact list
  • Add telephone numbers to contact lists, so that you can telephone contacts and sing “Happy Birthday” to them or let them know about a great sale that you’re running, etc.
  • Maintain one or more ways to communicate with supporters even if social media platforms close
  • Present marketing or advertising specials to contacts without having to pay social media platforms to get this information in front of contacts
  • Eliminate the guesswork out of whether or not you actually reached a real person. Place security measures on your subscriber list and you can keep bots from adding to your list, lending the false impression that more people are interested in your newsletter, brand or company


    Who knows when or if a social media platform will shut down. If it does, you can wave good-bye to those contacts (unless you encouraged them to subscribe to your personal contact list). Relationships that you have built are too valuable to leave to chance. Create your own electronic subscriber contact list and allow supporters to grow and evolve with you, regardless of what’s going on in the social media world.
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Why you need an electronic subscriber contact list