My Work Life Balance

image of laptop on a bed

As Veracity Technologies grows, I sometimes struggle to avoid it taking up all of my free time. When I worked in the corporate world, I would average a 45-50 hour work-week. During crunch times, it often stretched to 55 hours/week and over some weekends. Owning a start-up is different. It is a big part of what I do 7 days a week. I am blessed that my husband is supportive of my endeavors! It’s good to be able to bounce ideas off of someone who has a vested interest!

Back in 2010, I wrote an article entitled Business and Family. In there, I stated our ground rules for trying to balance things out. I wanted to give you a progress report and to see how you’ve made changes.

Work-Life Goals

Goal One

Mealtimes are for family. Blackberries, PDAs, etc are not allowed at the table. We purchased an advanced home phone system (VTech C56429-4 DECT 6 Cordless Phone System) that allows our cell phones to bind to our home phone via Bluetooth. The advantage is that the cell phones stay on the clutter counter and not on the table. We can mute them and let them go to voicemail. Plus, if we really need to answer that call we can via the home phone. I will admit that the times we pick up the phone during a meal is when the caller ID indicates that its one of our parents. And this has helped cut down on interruptions!

Goal Two

Scheduling is important for the business side and for the family. In mid-2010, I switched Veracity to Google Apps for Business and switched to an Android phone. That allowed me to easily schedule and keep up with appointments and tasks. My husband has an account on the system so he can easily look at my calendar. It’s worked out nicely and I highly recommend doing a trial with Google Apps.

Goal Three

Vacations are just that… a vacation from the day-to-day. That first vacation in 2010 was tough. Everywhere we found Wi-Fi, I was checking email; making site updates for clients; working on business plans; and, everything else but enjoying the time away. I couldn’t let go. In 2011, it got a bit better. I found a couple of highly technical friends that I could depend on to cover urgent client issues. Last year, in 2012, I felt much more confident letting someone else handle the day to day issues. When one of our hosting providers had a major outage, he was on it and handled it in a most awesome manner! And finally, but most important…

Goal Four

Financial plans and business plans are transparent. This is really a no brainer. My husband and I discuss project estimates, cash flow, receivables, and expenditures. As an LLC we know it hits our personal bottom line, so we are deeply engaged in this aspect of the business.

My Results

If I were to grade my work-life balance, I would have to say I’m a solid “B.” I still struggle with letting go during vacations, but I am getting better! Leave me a note and let me know how you fare in your own work-life balance.

Using the Long Tail in Business

Today’s online marketing often turns traditional marketing plans on their proverbial head. Niche products often overtake traditional stalwarts and customer relationships become a thing of the moment. So, where am I going with this? The concept of the long tail will force you to rethink your marketing strategy if you want to be successful in today’s business climate and achieve a competitive advantage.

Back in 2006, Chris Anderson wrote a book entitled “The Long Tail.” I read it back then and packed it away. In the last six years, I’ve seen phrases like “long tail keywords” and “long tail strategy,” but never really gave it much thought on how I would leverage the concept at Veracity Technologies.

I think its difficult for any small business to gain a competitive advantage in an environment of abundance. Traditional bottlenecks (delivery times, availability, etc.) that once stood between the consumer and the retailer have all but vanished. Case in point: my husband was looking for a relief valve for our solar hot water system. He could have ordered it from the local plumbing supply and waited a week or so. Instead, he was able to quickly source it online for a fraction of the cost. While the local plumbing supply lost his business, a plumbing supply house 2 counties away got his business through their online store. That’s the business owner who modified his marketing plan to expand into online retail.

Back to my company. I’m in the process of reformulating our marketing plan and looking how to incorporate a long tail strategy into all of our offerings. Our business model is primarily centered around services: web site design and marketing, social media marketing, custom web application development, and custom software development. The majority of our customer relationships are built offline. I look forward to applying the principles of long tail marketing to both our online and offline offerings.

My questions for you are… what are your thoughts regarding long tail marketing and what role do you think this plays in your business planning strategy?

Writing for Sensible Life Online Magazine

I’m excited to announce that I will be doing a regular column for Sensible Life Online Magazine! The magazine has been online since 2004 and has a loyal readership.

I’ll be writing about how to start and maintain a business. With the economy the way it is, I hope I can provide sufficient tips and guidance for both the new and existing business owner.

The next issue is coming out soon, so be sure to check them out!