Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Exciting Updates!

Flickr CC Robert Couse-Baker
It's been a while since my last post, and I've had a lot of positive change in my life. Recently, I accepted a new job as a research specialist for a local robotics firm. It's brought a whole new world of challenges and responsibilities, and I'm very happy to learn a new skill set. While I miss the public library and my awesome coworkers, it's been great to learn the inner workings of a small startup company.

I have also been thinking of changing the scope and focus of this blog. Please stay tuned for more developments by early next week!

Until then, I leave you with my all-time favorite quote:
"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living with Intent: 31x31

Flickr CC edenpictures
Many of my friends and family know that I'm an extreme planner, and am always looking for a new project. Several of us have started lists of tasks to do before our next birthday. I'm turning 31 at the end of the year, and have written a list of 31 Things to Do Before 31. I've been a little lazy on this list so far (I've done one) but have found my motivation returning...

Up next? A worm bin! I've got the supplies, now I just need to plug in the power drill. Ready or not, here they come! Now, I just need to get that square foot garden in place. Compost tea, anyone?

I've been wasting a lot of time getting to know my new iPhone. I'm in love! I balked at paying the data charges forever, but I've decided a smart phone is a good investment towards becoming a busy little indiepreneur/superwoman. Let me know what apps to use!

Have a lovely day!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lessons from My Meet-Up

Flickr CC futureshape
I organized an informal meet-up last night for local indiepreneurs. It was a great event, with a lot of meaningful discussion. However, I learned a few lessons that will help me organize an event better next time, and I hope that they’ll help you as you plan future events.

Make sure to strategically target attendees, and use your network to garner connections with targeted invitees. It’s also about quality over quantity. Last night, I was able to develop solid connections with attendees, and I value that over meeting a dozen new folks.

Ensure that your attendees know what to expect from the meeting. What’s the purpose of getting together? What do you hope to achieve? Who’s invited? I assumed that the ability to see invitees and RSVPs would be enough to prompt interest and great attendance. Let them know your agenda and guest list ahead of time.

Make personal connections. Facebook has great reach, but approaching a new connection with an invite on Facebook is not as compelling as connecting in person. Your effort will be rewarded. Again, quality, not quantity!

Follow up. Thank the venue (Thanks, Tall Pauls!), connect with the attendees, and let those who didn’t attend know they were missed (and what they missed!).

It won’t be perfect the first time! Use what you learned from a past event, edit your approach, and keep moving forward!

I hope this helps. Good luck with all of your endeavors this week!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Everyone Needs an Editor

Flickr CC Horia Varlan
Alachua County residents have access to a fantastic (and little known) resource. The Adult Learning Center provides access to a service that offers free proofreading for documents. And you'll get a response within 24 hours!
I've personally received feedback on all sorts of materials - blog posts, articles, web content, essays for job applications, resumes, and cover letters. It's a fantastic service, and it's free! Documents cannot be larger than 1400 KB, but my 450 word article was only 19 KB, for some perspective.

I think this service could help busy indiepreneurs who need a second set of eyes. Non-profits may benefit from sending grant proposals for proofreading.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you use the service.

I'm taking a long weekend to visit my sister, so my work week is ending today. Happy Thriday!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Grab the Popcorn, It's Movie Time!

One of my personal goals this year is to watch the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films. I'm currently on number four, Singing in the Rain. I'm not typically a fan of campy musicals, but you've got to agree that there's something wonderful about this movie. I can't believe that people could dance like that! I really wish I had fulfilled my adolescent dream and purchased tap shoes. It's never too late, right?

I'm thinking that I'll work on this routine tonight. :)

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Toot Your Own Horn!

Flickr CC olga.belobaba

I am fascinated with the idea of creating a personal brand. As indiepreneurs, we may shy away from corporate jargon, but the concepts behind self marketing will help any new entrepreneur create name recognition and establish expertise.

Currently, I’m reading Self Marketing Power, and will review it soon. In the meantime, here’s a short ‘net roundup for those of you who lack the time for leisure reading. Print these puppies out (or not, save a tree!) and peruse while waiting in line at the market:

Personal Branding 101 offers ten tangible tasks that you can accomplish within a specific timeframe.

10 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand offers well-known and unique tips from seasoned self-marketers.

Women and The Art of Self-Marketing helps to reframe the social stigma women often use to equate self-promotion with lack of humility.

What steps have you taken towards personal branding so far?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post: Green Your Small Business

Today's post comes from Gainesville native Emily Rodriguez, M.S. - Plant Ecologist and Environmental Activist.

From Flickr User
When thinking about how to incorporate green practices into your small business, consider the phrase, “People, Planet, Profit.” You probably already have a good idea of how your business serves people and generates a profit, but what about the planet? Sometimes it’s possible to save money while helping people and the planet, but other times, you make a personal sacrifice or spend money specifically to be more environmentally friendly. Exactly how to partition your resources among the three Ps is up to you, but here’s some information to help you make those decisions:

Before the environmental movement of the 1970s, point source pollution was one of the biggest environmental problems we faced. That is, businesses used to literally discharge toxic materials from their premises into the environment. These days, non-point source pollution is a leading cause of environmental degradation. Hardly anyone is intentionally dumping pollutants generated by their business, but low levels of pollution are still being emitted by enough people, that it’s causing problems on a large scale. Examples of non-point source pollution include storm-water run-off, fertilizer run-off and vehicle exhaust fumes. This type of pollution has contributed to global warming, a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and algae blooms in our springs, to name a few effects.

So, the number one change you can make to become a greener small business, is to reduce your non-point source pollution. Around the physical location of your business (and home), plant attractive native plants and discontinue or minimize fertilizer and irrigation. Wherever possible, minimize your indoor concrete footprint – and outside, use permeable surfaces such as mulch, pavers, or pervious pavement. Minimize the amount of gasoline you consume by cutting down on driving and flying or switching to alternative fuel vehicles. If you cannot cut-down on your own exhaust pollution, you can purchase carbon-offsets, which pay for projects such as tree plantings.

Of course, we all know “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.” Consider participating in local recycling programs. Consumable items that you need for your business can be made out of recycled or renewable materials. Partnering with other ventures may help you become part of a recycled waste stream – think creatively and ask around. Be flexible in setting employee work hours, since using electricity during off-peak times is more efficient. Remember that technology can be a powerful tool in minimizing our impact on the environment. There are investments large and small that you can make in water and energy saving technologies for your business. It is possible to maintain a healthy natural environment and to thrive as a small business, as long as you take care of the three Ps: “People, Planet, Profit.”

Have you taken steps to green your small business?

Consider the following resources:
Green Guide for New Businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration