Now that Canada and the US are finished with their respective national celebrations, it’s time for us to get back on track. So let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?
In a previous post, we talked about social networking for the self-employed, and how it can be a huge boon to your business. Today we’re going to extrapolate on that a little further, and show you a few more ways you can stay connected not only with your potential consumers, but with your business associates and contacts as well. Be forewarned, some of these will require an investment on your part, but the pros will far outweigh the financial cons in the end.
Get A Smart Phone: In this day and age, this one should be a no-brainer. Pretty much everyone owns one now, be it an iPhone, Android or Blackberry. But if you don’t, now is the time to invest in one. Never mind all the cool applications you can get for them, their multiple functionality as phone, MP3 player, media player, GPS, and all sorts of other cool gadgets included in them. The important things here are that you can have all of your work e-mails forwarded directly to your phone, so that now matter where you are, you can get them. If you miss a call, it’s the work of a minute or two for your co-worker or client to fire off a text message or e-mail, keeping you in the loop. This is far more effective than voice mail, which requires an extra step to check. Also, almost all of the social networking services we mentioned previously that you should be using to stay connected and broaden your online visibility, can be controlled from a smart phone. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you name it, there’s an application for it. This allows you to keep your online followers updated on the goings on of your business wherever you go, with a few simple clicks of a button. It is extremely fast and convenient, and beneficial to you. And for those times when you really just want some piece and quiet? You’re a button press away from disconnecting yourself from the world for a little while while you go about your free time in peace.
Get a Laptop Computer: Sometimes a phone, smart as it may be, just doesn’t cut it. You may have an e-mail that’s far too big to receive on a phone, or have to type up something that requires actual word processing software over the memo pad included with every smart phone. This is where a solid laptop can come in. I am in no way to go drop ten thousand dollars on a top of the line computer (although if you’re doing extremely well for yourself at this stage in the game, by all means, feel free). A simple laptop, even a netbook, will provide the functionality you need on the go. Netbooks are an especially a good choice as while the screen size is somewhat small, they’re exactly powerful enough to do everything but the most intensive graphic design (or if you’re so inclined, gaming). And with free wi-fi available in coffee shops, restaurants, airports, and many other places, getting online to get the important stuff out of the way that requires a bit more pizazz than a phone can provide is easy as pie. The baked kind, of course. Though making sure you’re staying connected at all times will certainly help increase your Personal Independent Earnings.
Stay Up To Date: There is far more going on out there in the world than just what’s directly going on internally in your ventures, and much of it can have a direct effect on your business. Do you really want to be the last person to find out? Heck no you don’t. This is why staying connected via the items I have mentioned above, and the services I have mentioned in previous posts are so important. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the world of business and trying to figure out which way the winds are going to blow next (I know, I’m mixing metaphors, but they fit) can help you decide your next move, and plan accordingly. Learning this skill will take time and practice, but eventually you’ll pick it up, and you’ll be much better off for it.
Stay Connected To Your Co-Workers: I’m just going to come right out and say it. I hate the word “employees”, and will be doing my best to avoid using it in the future (in fact, that may just be a future blog post). Even if you’re the one taking the lead on a project, those working with you are still your co-workers, not your employees. They’re self-employed just like you. With that little mini-rant out of the way, it is important that you make yourself available to those with whom you are working at all reasonable hours of the day should something go wrong. I’m not saying have your phone on beside your bed at all hours of the night, as that in many ways is even worse than the 9-5 world you left behind, but you should ensure that your co-workers have access to you when they need it. A proper phone and laptop computer can certainly help with this, but so can something as simple as being approachable and friendly with the team you worked so hard to build. And if you can’t be available all the time, make sure you have someone in place you can trust who can make important decisions on your behalf.
As with several of our posts here, there are so many more points we could touch on, but that’s best saved for another time. Just remember, stay connected to your co-workers, and the world both inside and outside your business, and you’ll find your path to PIE will be just that much wider.