5 Reasons You Should Take Online Payments

Getting payment in cash is always good, however, taking online payments should be your preferred method of payment for your clients.

Here are a few questions to consider when deciding how your business will receive payment:

  1. Is your office or home within 25 miles (or 25 minutes) from your client?
  2. Do you want to take the time to travel to pick up a check from your client?
  3. Do you have a dedicated work mailing address?
  4. Do you want to have the flexibility of traveling with your business?
  5. Do you have an accounts payable system in place?
  6. Do you have a business account set up at a bank?

Your business must be equipped to handle multiple payment options.

  • Cash is great for taking payments, however, the transaction must always occur in person
  • Checks can be mailed or taken electronically (if you have a your client’s routing and account number number and their permission for the transaction)
  • Electronic Debit/Credit works well in person, over the internet on your website or through a link sent directly to your client

Here are 5 reasons you should consider online payments

  1. People are not carrying as much cash. Studies show that “forty percent of consumers hold less than $20 in cash at a given time” (Source: BankRate)
  2. Increase your reach. Taking payments online expands your business beyond where you live or operate your business. If someone from another state or even country wants your services and products, why not make it easier for them to pay you.
  3. Adds credibility to your business. Nearly all major business players are accepting payments online. With the recent sale of Whole Foods to Amazon, the retail online ecommerce game is definitely changing. Who would have thought just a few years ago that we could buy groceries online?
  4. Save time and make bookkeeping simpler. With just click of a button, you can send an invoice through the many online accounting solutions such as Freshbooks or Paypal. This is a time saver and your accountant will love you for it. With all payments recorded digitally and balance sheets updated, all you need to do is print a report.
  5. Improve cash flow. You receive your money quicker with online payments.

Things to consider before accepting online payments.

  • How much money do you receive in a month of payments
  • Who will integrate your payment option on your website
  • How you will let your clients know.

Options to add online payments to your website

  • Add a Paypal button on your website. Paypal lets users create custom buttons (with code) on the Paypal website that a user can embed onto most website platform.
  • Add a store such as Woocommerce to sell products and services. This is for WordPress self-hosted websites.

In Conclusion

Taking payments online on your website can help increase sales, save you time, make bookkeeping simpler, improve cash flow and add credibility to your business.

*  Please note this post contains affiliate links. Image credit is Shuttershock)

How to Spring Clean Your Website & Hosting

Spring cleaning your business website is definitely NOT the FUN part of what you do. It will be easier to just forget it, but that isn’t the smart choice.

However, it has to be done either by you or someone who know how to do it. Either way, I believe you can handle it with ease and grace.

So let’s do a little Spring Cleaning of our website domain and hosting stuff, shall we?

Here’s what you’ll want to do in five SIMPLE steps.

1. Check on your contact details for your website domain and hosting

Even if someone set it up for you, it’s always good to go in periodically and update any email and mailing addresses that might have changed. Your website hosting company will send you periodic emails about your account, when it’s due or expired. You can update your contact details in your host provider.

For example:  If you purchased your domain and hosting through Godaddy, they have a helpful guide on how and where to change your domain.

If you’re not sure where your host company is, you can check thru the WhoIS directory.

2. Be sure your information is updated in the WhoIS directory > https://whois.icann.org/en/using-whois>>>

What is the Whois Directory? The Whois database is an online repository of information associated with registered domain names. It stores and publicly displays domain name information, such creation and expiration dates, the registrar of record, and its various contacts (registrant, billing, administrative, and technical). This information is generally controlled where you purchased the domain. If you forgot where you purchased your domain, you can go to whois.icann.org to find out.

3. Keep your payment details updated with your website domain and website hosting provider.

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This ensures that your website hosting doesn’t get interrupted with your host provider. Sometimes host companies will charge a fee to re-install any deleted hosting information. However, some may not keep your website files after your hosting is discontinued.

4. Review your current hosting plan

I’ve been with the same hosting company for 7 years, however, over time, I’ve updated my plan according to the needs of my business. So do you need more online space? Do you need more emails? Do you want to pay less? Do you want to add another website to your account? Do you want to close your account? These are good questions to ask.

5. Back up all your website information at least once a month or weekly (depending on how often you update your website)

WordPress users have options for website backup plugins. Choose the one that works best for you.

Check with your host company to see what their policy is for auto backups of your website data.

In conclusion

Spring cleaning isn’t always fun, however, it must be done to ensure that the digital side of your business doesn’t fall apart. If you don’t have the time or energy to work on it yourself, consider outsourcing it to a local tech person or someone you trust.

And you can do it all with ease and grace.

How to Make Over Your Resume

Resumes need makeovers, too! It’s important to makeover or update your resume when you are looking to apply for a job. It’s not a fun task to do, but when you are wanting to change jobs or careers, it’s a necessary evil. Your resume is your way of showing your value to a potential employer. I’ve recently updated my resume, and have researched a few tips that have helped me to do so.

There are various formats that you can use for your resume, however, most will require the following updates:

1. Update the Your Contact information. Include your current contact information such as your mailing address, phone number, and email address. If you don’t feel comfortable including your home address, use a PO Box.

2. Update your profile summary to reflect the position you are applying for. This section might be the hardest to write because it is a summary of who you are. It is your PITCH statement to prospective employers as to WHO you are. Make it shine with powerful keywords that speak to what you want to do. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, you can say, “I am a personable marketing consultant with experience in web development, graphic design and account management.”

3. Update your job description with the latest job position. Use powerful key words describing your duties in your position, and list any accomplishments while on the job. For example, did you increase sales by 50% or mange X number of employees or increased website traffic by 30%? Putting a number on what you did can add value to your job description.

4. Update your list of skills. Today’s resumes are all about using key words that reference the skills needed for the position you are applying for. If you are looking for a web developer position, list the programming software that you use to develop websites. If you are seeking an administrative position, list the programs (such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Sharepoint, etc.) that you are experienced in using as administrator. Employers use computer programs to quickly search resumes for the skills they are looking for. Basically, if you don’t have the skills, your resume will be discarded and overlooked.

resume-template-traditional-2

Traditional Resume Template from LiveCareer.com

If you need help with updating your resume, consider using the free templates available in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, UptoWork, or Canva.

Canva Resume Template

Online job search companies such as Career Builder or LiveCareer.com, also have features that allow you to upload your current resume and make adjustments to it. By the way, also consider posting your work history on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the social networking site that is all about making business connections. Your past and current employers and job mates can recommend you by providing testimonials about how you work. Testimonials add value to your expertise. Also, employers are using LinkedIn to post job listings. This is an excellent resource if you are looking to relocate.

So, is it time for you to makeover your resume? Are you looking for a career change? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

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Creating a Social Media Content Plan and Schedule

What can you do to ease the overwhelm of creating content for your social media sites?  Managing multiple social media accounts for yourself can get a little be overwhelming, however, breathe easy because there is a better way.  In today’s post, I’ll share my tips on how you can  ease the overwhelm in creating your content and scheduling it.

Clarify your “why”. Write it down. What is the reason you are doing all of this anyway. What will working on your business or posting to your Facebook page mean for you?

Clarify who you are selling to? Write it down. Knowing who you are wanting to reach will help you define your message. The needs of teens are different from the needs of mothers, fathers and grandparents.

Clarify how your services are helping to solve a problem for others? Write it down. Getting clarity on how your services help solve a problem, will help you promote it better.

Clarify your message. Write it down. What are you really trying to say? If someone asked you today, what would you say? Is it clear? Does it make sense to you? Don’t be afraid to get help putting your message into words that appeals to those you are trying to serve.

On paper create a schedule for the next week that speaks to your audience, inspires them and helps them using your services. Your posts can be photos, text or both.

Use Canva.com to create your graphics. (How to Create Flyers and Graphics Using Canva.com– Instead of recreating the wheel, use templates that work.

Use a scheduler tool like the Buffer app to schedule your posts. Batching your posts for the week can save you hours of time. Having your core posts scheduled will give you time to work on other areas of your business. If you want to jump in “live” on certain days, schedule that time, too.

As you create a system for marketing your business online, you will start to feel more productive. Being productive helps you stay organized and focused on what’s important. Good systems in your business will come in handy when you need to bring on additional help.

So, what systems do you have in place for your online marketing?

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The Best Social Media Management Tools That Save You Time

The best way to save time on social media and use it productively is to schedule  your posts ahead of time. Scheduling your posts helps ease the overwhelm of knowing what you are going to post. This is especially essential when you are a solopreneur or have a limited staff.
At some point, we’ve all been trapped into looking at the cutest of kitten videos. However, this doesn’t do much for my productivity during normal working time. Sure we can kid ourselves and say that we are going to ONLY post a few updates to our Facebook business page, but how can anyone resist the CUTEST puppy video that comes across the screen.

Source: http://kitten-gif.tumblr.com/post/120529437045

Or panda videos.

Why should you create a schedule? Why not live in the moment?

  • Scheduling your posts helps you keep focus on your company’s branding message. Since you’ve thought out your post ahead of time, you are more organized and on message.
  • Scheduling your posts frees up your time to focus on other daily essentials of your business such as calling customers.
  • Scheduling your posts allows for a consistent stream of content on your social media accounts.

Tip: There will be times when you want to have a spontaneous tweet during a tv show, game or event. Use these posts as extra content.

My recommendation: There are many social media schedulers available on the market. My preference has been to use Buffer and Hootsuite because of ease of use (and I’m used to using them). Other social media scheduling tools you might want to check out are IFTT or Sprout Social.

Buffer

The Buffer app allows a user to post the same social media content across multiple site at various ‘buffered’ optimal times based on your time zone. Pricing starts at zero for individuals then rises to about $399 /month for teams and agencies.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite allows users to do bulk-posting. The side-by-side dashboard allows you to see all your social posts, view a feed based on keywords from other accounts, and analyze your posts across the board. There are free plans for individuals with up to 3 social media accounts.  However, the pricing goes up to $99.99/month for agencies and teams who manage up to 50 social profiles.

IFTTT

IFTTT helps you do more with the services you love. Connect Amazon Alexa, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Fitbit, Slack, Skype, and hundreds more. If you create a post in Facebook and would like to Tweet that same post, IFTTT allows you to do that. If you wan to save all your Instagram photos to your Dropbox account, IFTTT lets you do that.

Sprout Social

This is for those who manage a lot of social media accounts for clients.  Manage all your social media platforms from one website.

Final Thoughts

If you’re just starting out your business and want to manage a few social profiles, Buffer will work for you.

 

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How to Boost Bookings Using the Bookly Plugin on Your website

 

Using a scheduling calendar on my website has saved me time and headache from booking clients. I can use the scheduler to make appointments, take payments, send out email and text reminders to clients, and the calendar syncs with my Google calendar. I absolutely LOVE using it!

In this post I will share with you how using the Bookly Booking Plugin – Responsive Appointment Booking and Scheduling plugin on your WordPress website will help boost bookings for you.  Please note there are affiliate links in this post and I am paid a commission when you click and purchase using the links.

Bookly Booking Plugin

The Bookly Booking Plugin – Responsive Appointment Booking and Scheduling for WordPress has several features that help ease the overwhelm of scheduling appointments on your website.

Why I like it:

  • It’s easy to install
  • It integrates with my Google calendar
  • I can charge for services booked
  • It looks great on a phone, tablet or desktop computer
  • I can customize my messages to clients about their appointments
  • It can be customized with your brand colors and your logo.
  • There is a one-time fee costs $59 (but I tried it for free first with a limited version)

How having a calendar boosts bookings

All that sounds great, but how does having an appointment scheduler on your website boost bookings? Well, before I had the plugin, I would need to call everyone. If anyone came to the website, I only had a simple contact form. Contact forms are great especially when used to build your email list. However, adding the ideal next step of a booking calendar is like adding a call center to your business (sort of).  Also, I can now include a booking calendar link in my emails and on my social media posts.

  1. If a prospect wants to work with you, they will want to know HOW and WHEN. The booking calendar will show your availability and let them decide based on their schedule.
  2. Clients can book multiple appointments with you at one time.
  3. It acts as your virtual assistant when you are not able to answer the phone.
  4. You can pre-qualify serious inquiries by adding a payment (either the full amount or a deposit) to book exclusive appointments with you.
 
Where should the booking calendar go on the website?
I like to have it on every page that I’d like to get a booking from. So I have the calendar in multiple places on the my website, such as my CONTACT page and the 15-minute consult page.

Who is the booking plugin ideal for?

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Dentists
  • Hair Stylists
  • Solopreneurs
  • Consultants
  • Fitness Coaches

How Customers Use the Plugin

Costs
There is a free (lite) version available thru the WordPress plugin directory and a premium version available thru Codecanyon.
Final Thoughts
I used to get overwhelmed with scheduling appointments with clients for tech support or consultations. However, since creating a ‘work flow’ system and implementing a booking calendar on my website, the overwhelm is eased. When I work with clients on their website, I highly recommend they add this feature to their contact page.
So did you find this information helpful? Do you currently use a booking calendar on your website? Do you have another version that you prefer? I’d like to know. Leave a comment below.
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Three Lessons I Learned in 2016 About Life and Makeup

2016 was a year with good days and not so good days. There were days I was intensely focused on my personal and professional goals, then there were days I was just burned out from life. Sometimes my cup runneth over with joy, and then there are times when I was running on empty. Nevertheless, I am thankful for all the lessons that I was able to learn so that I could step into 2017 with clarity.

Here are a few lessons I learned in 2016.

Sometimes your eye makeup will break if you drop it. 

Things happen. It’s ok. No one’s perfect. We will have setbacks if you drop the ball. I’ve dropped the ball a few times this year. It was disappointing, but I have been able to move past the setbacks and forward. (BTW, there are a 1000 ways to repair broken makeup on Pinterest.)

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Your makeup will smear if you put it on when you are sleepy.

Learn to rest when you need to. It’s ok to take a break to recharge. I burned out physically and emotionally mid year and learned my lesson. I’m scheduling a few breaks thru out the year. (BTW, I stayed in a treehouse this year for the first time and it was very relaxing and perfect.)

Sometimes all you need is one good lipstick color and lip balm.

This year I began the process of simplifying and decluttering my life. I was reminded that I needed to let go of unnecessary baggage that was holding me back, such as debt, negative feelings of my self-worth and stuff that didn’t bring me joy. The simpler I keep my life, the happier I feel. (BTW, here are a few ways to begin decluttering your life via Pinterest.)

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Thanks for joining me on this journey and letting me share with you. I look forward to sharing more lessons I learn along the way.

A video posted by Ebony Looney (@ebonylooney) on

Five Steps to Update Your WordPress Website

wordpress

Updating your WordPress self-hosted website doesn’t have to be a chore if you don’t have a webmaster to do it for you. The WordPress website has provided a checklist to help you keep your website update and running smoothly. Here are few of the steps from the WordPress website documentation site to help you keep your WordPress website updated.

Here’s a link to the video if you prefer visuals

1. Upgrade WordPress

If a new release of WordPress is out, we recommend that you upgrade. These new releases often include new and improved features and fixes. You don’t have to install a new release the very day it comes out. You can wait. It is recommended to check in with WordPress for updates and upgrades at least every three months, six months at the most. Check WordPress or WordPress Downloads for latest version available.

2. Upgrade Plugins

Every three to six months, check for the latest plugin version. This is easy to do from the Administration > Plugin Panel. If an update is available, WordPress will notify you with a banner below the plugin. Just click the “upgrade automatically” link, or click the “Download” link if you would prefer to upgrade manually.

Delete Old or Unwanted Plugins

To uninstall a WordPress Plugin:

  1. Go to Plugins screen.
  2. Find the Plugin you wish to deactivate and uninstall.
  3. Click Deactivate.

The Plugin will initiate the deactivation.

Most WordPress Plugins have an option to completely uninstall themselves, though not all. If you wish to remove a WordPress Plugin permanently:

 

 Plugins admin screen

Plugin Admin Screen

  1. Check the WordPress Plugin instructions in the Details readme file on how to properly uninstall the Plugin.
  2. If the WordPress Plugin required the addition of code to the WordPress Theme, manually edit the Theme files to remove it.
  3. Deactivate the Plugin and remove it manually through your FTP program.
    1. Login to the site via your FTP Program.
    2. Go to the Plugin directory and find where the Plugin is installed.
    3. Delete the WordPress Plugin folder and/or files from your server.

New Plugins

WordPress plugins are being added constantly. Maybe there is a new plugin that will do what one of your older plugins do, but better? Maybe there is a plugin out there that will add functionality that will benefit your WordPress site?

Every three to six months search the Internet or visit the WordPress plugin sites to see if there are any new plugins available that will improve your site. If they replace the functions of a plugin you already have installed, be sure and follow the plugin author’s instructions for removal or the tips in the Delete Old or Unwanted Plugins section in this article.

3. Delete Themes You Are Not Using

Please note that you should never delete the default WordPress theme.

Just like plugins, many users love test driving all the different WordPress Themes available. Some users might have twenty or more Themes in their theme list. If you aren’t using them, why not do a little housekeeping on your themes?

 

 Wordpress themes screen

Appearance Panel

To remove a theme from your WordPress site:

  1. Log in to the WordPress Administration Panel.
  2. Select the Appearance panel, then Themes.
  3. Select Theme Details for the theme you want to remove.
  4. Select Delete near the bottom-right corner.

 

4. Delete Unwanted Images

Many users upload a lot of graphics to their site that they end up never using. If you find yourself with a lot of unused graphics and images, consider going through them and cleaning house by deleting them.

If you aren’t sure you will never need them again, but you aren’t using them now and want to remove them from your site if server site space is limited, move them to a folder in your hard drive WordPress folder called backupimages or something similar and store them there, just in case.

5. Database Optimization

Over time, your WordPress database can generate what’s called “overhead.” This condition is similar to a defragmented hard drive. Use this plugin to optimize your database.

You can find a more detailed list on the WordPress website at https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Housekeeping

How to Post on Facebook As a Boss

How do you show leadership using your social media channels? For entrepreneurs that lead a team or small businesses that have a staff, having a social media policy in place can build team spirit or break it. Does your social media policy need a makeover?

Don’t use social media to vent about your family drama.

Do create excitement about and build buzz with your team about your company’s campaign. Encourage the team to share the company’s blog posts.

Don’t post that you don’t like your team. That is just poor taste and not professional. Your team will not respect a leader that doesn’t like them.

Do own up to your mistakes. Apologize and work to correct it.

Sometimes we don’t get it right all the time, however, it’s never too late to clean up your personal and professional brand on social media.

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How to Increase TRAFFIC to Your Website with YouTube

Ok, so now you have your website and YouTube channel set up. Now what? I’ve learned from James Wedmore that it’s super easy to increase traffic to my website by using my YouTube channel. I initially started blogging and creating videos as a way to share helpful beauty tips with my clients. This was great, however, I wanted a little more, so a fellow blogger suggested that I follow video expert James Wedmore. His advice is simple and his approach is fun! You don’t have be a technical camera genius to implement his advice. I know I’m not.

In today’s post, I’ll share with you a few of his videos that have helped me. And no this isn’t a sponsored post, I just want to share what I’ve learned because it’s been so helpful to me.

How to Increase TRAFFIC to Your Blog (or Website) with YouTube (7 Tips)

(Video length 7:20)

 

Did you find this information helpful? If show, feel free to share it with someone you know it will help.