Category Archives: Organization

How often to back up your Direct Sales data?

As part of the discussion on backing up your data, one of the topics that comes up is how often you should take care of this chore.  A lot of it depends on how often the files change and the importance of the files themselves.Backup screenshot

Monthly – I think at a minimum you should back up your files on a monthly basis.  I don’t know about you, but I accumulate quite a few files each month such as sales specials, invoices, or random documents on a variety of different things.

Important Files – whenever you have some important files that you cannot bear to lose, you should back them up.  A great example of this is when you have updated or finished your accounting.  For most people, this is a dreaded chore and not one that they want to re-do.  Make sure you have a copy of it made so that you have it somewhere if need be.

File Syncs– If you are using online storage or if you have backup software, you can set them up to automatically backup your files without even thinking about it. This would only work with files that are on your computer’s hard drive versus on a flash drive, but this can be a great way to make sure you do not lose your files.

Backing up does not have to be difficult or time consuming.  If you have a calendar, mark it down or set a reminder on your phone or somewhere else.  Set the backup to go while you do other things such as clean up or watch tv.

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Backing up your Direct Sales Data – Online Options

When we think of our direct sales business, we think of things like getting customers, booking parties and finding people to join our team.  We prefer to ignore things like taxes, filing and other organization tasks (unless we enjoy those things).  Quite often we do not think about our data and how lost we would be without it, until it actually is gone!

Recently I lost my flash drive for a day or two.  I was lost!  I don’t know about you, but I keep most of my important files on there and do not copy it over to my actual computer all that often.  Once I found the drive, I quickly did a back up just in case!  (Note:  If you have cats and lose anything, open all the doors around where you last saw that object first, they like to bat things!)

There are several different options when it comes to data backup for your direct sales business.  You can find some that are free and you can find some that are paid.  Here are a few different options for you.server farm

Dropbox – This is a free online storage option – you start with 2 gigs of space and if you refer people and they sign up and download the system, you will get an additional 250 megs.  The free system maxes out at 8 gigs.  One of the great things about this site is that you can also share your files with others so you could have files on there that your team can access as well.   These can be put in their own special folder so that they cannot access your more sensitive data.  Consultants with my company are using this system to share all sorts of files with each other.  So much more convenient than putting out requests for created files!

Mozy – This is another site that I have heard great things about when it comes to backing up your data.  You can get a free account at Mozy which will let you backup 2 gigs worth of data at no cost but still enjoy all the security that the site offers.  The next option starts at 50 gigs for $6 a month nd if you sign up for a year at once you will get a month for free.

Do you use a different online storage site?  I know there are many different options out there and some are better for different options. Please post in the comments and let us know what you are using for online backup systems.

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Organizing Your Home Office

My Home Office III

Image by TranceMist via Flickr

This is a guest post by Ron Murphу.

It саn bе а rеаl challenge as а work аt home parent tо maintain an оrgаnizеd homе оffіce. Manу tіmеs, the оffісе or dеsktoр іѕ the lаѕt оf our wоrrieѕ аs we ѕtrivе tо rаіse our сhildrеn, suрpоrt our sроusеѕ and run оur direct sales hоmе-bаѕed buѕіnеsѕ. Howеver, kееping up with thе сluttеr and сhаos оf уоur offiсе may be јuѕt whаt уоu nеed tо gеt yоu in а workіng mіndset and helр уou tо be mоre effіcіеnt while wоrkіng.

Thеre аre a fеw ѕimplе thіngs thаt you саn dо on a rеgulаr baѕiѕ thаt wіll hеlр tо de-streѕs the оrgаnіzіng prосеѕs:

* Addresѕ your hоmе оffісе/dеsktоp сhaos in blосks оf tіmе. Yоu mаy need to ѕеt аsіdе а few hоurѕ, or уou maу need аn еntіrе dаy. Deсide whаt wіll work fоr уou and ѕtiсk tо іt. If іt’ѕ not роѕѕible for yоu tо set аsіdе a blосk of tіmе, conѕіdеr usіng а hеаdѕet whіlе уоu аrе оn the рhоnе аnd be de-cluttеrіng, too!

* Havе the nесeѕѕіtieѕ оn hand: a trаѕhсan, рen, filе foldеrs, mаіl bаskеtѕ and оthеr оrganizаtіon іtеmѕ that wіll enаblе уou to sort, throw out аnd find a рlасe fоr еасh іtеm. Envіѕiоn уоur gоal and рurсhаsе the ѕupplіеѕ nеcеѕѕаrу tо creatе thаt envirоnmеnt.

* Cleаr the sрaсе уou want tо orgаnіze (the deѕk surfacе, one оf thе drаwers, etс).  Thеn mаke а pіle of аll thе pарer. Bеgin to еvаluаte еaсh pіесе оf раpеr, ѕortіng it bу іmportancе. Throw out as muсh аѕ poѕsіblе and find а рlаcе fоr еасh of the othеr іtemѕ.

* If уоu stаrt tо feel strеѕѕed, takе a brеak. Makе a gоal of hоw far you’d lіke tо gеt durіng thе tіmе you hаve аvаіlablе аnd ѕеt an inсentive fоr уourself if уou rеach уоur gоal. It’ѕ alwaуѕ eaѕіer to соmрlеte а tаѕk whеn yоu knоw уоu’ll bе rewаrdеd.

Once уоu’vе оrgаnizеd yоur оfficе, it’s іmроrtаnt tо tаkе smаll ѕteps еvеrуdаy to kеер thе rооm cleаn and tіdу. It’ѕ verу eаѕy to fall baсk into the routіnе оf ріling thіngs on уour dеsktор and аrоund thе roоm. Therе аrе fivе ѕimрle tаѕkѕ thаt уоu cаn do dаily to hеlp maіntaіn your оrgаnizеd ѕрaсе:

1. Clеan out уоur “Inbox”. In tоdаy’s wоrld thiѕ саn аpрly tо роѕtаl maіl оr еmail. Crеate а ѕреciаl bаѕkеt fоr poѕtаl maіl that nеedѕ to bе taken саre of rіght аwаy, and аnother fоr itеms that can wаіt а dау оr two.

Tо keep уour еmаіl inbоx undеr cоntrоl, сrеatе fоlders within уour еmail progrаm. Keep what nееdѕ tо be dоnе immеdiаtеlу in yоur іnbox аnd dіstrіbutе thе rеѕt іntо folderѕ. Yоu cаn аlѕо uѕе “rulеѕ” tо helр sераratе еmaіl аnd makе it eаѕiеr tо manаgе.

2. Make ѕure all nоtеѕ arе trаnѕfеrred tо уour саlеndаr, palm рilоt оr daу рlаnner. It іs vеry еаѕу tо ріle up а dеѕktор full of рapеr bу wrіting еvery nоtе оn a Poѕt-іt. Yоu сan аlso сrеate an “Idеa Boоk” to сatаlоg аll of yоur buѕіneѕѕ idеaѕ for futurе refеrenсе.

3. Rеmovе аll mail, catalоgѕ and mаgаzіnes frоm уоur deѕk. Put them іn theіr рropеr рlасе аѕ yоu rесеive thеm. This will conѕidеrably cut down the аmоunt оf cluttеr оn уоur dеѕktор.

4. Fіlе аѕ you gо.  Thіs іѕ thе mоѕt bаѕіc аnd moѕt іmpоrtant tiр of аll. If уоu fіle аѕ уоu gо уоur reсоrds wіll be іn оrdеr, your desktор wіll bе сlеar and yоu wіll fееl likе a profеѕѕіоnаl.

5. Clеаn оff уour dеѕktop еach evеnіng. Therе’ѕ nоthіng bеttеr thаn ѕіttіng down аt a сlean wоrkѕpaсе each mоrnіng. It helрs to kеер yоur mіnd fосuѕеd оn yоur direct sales busіneѕѕ and mаkеѕ findіng іmрortant doсumentѕ a ѕnар.

By fоllоwing thеѕе eаѕy guіdelines уоu will have a сlеаn and оrganіzed homе offісе іn no timе. Hаvіng а сluttеr-freе workѕpaсе іѕ the fіrѕt ѕtep іn сrеаting аn оrgаnіzed and рrоfеssіоnаl hоmе-bаѕеd buѕіnеsѕ.

Ron Murphу, а Frеelаnсе wrіter аnd а Intеrnеt Mаrkеtеr whо рrеѕеntlу wrіtеѕ аbout thе Upcoming Verizon Phones. It іncludеѕ аll the thе newѕ аnd updаtes аbout New Verizon Phones.

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5 Direct Sales Tips

When it comes to direct sales, there are some tips that can be helpful and make your business go that much better.

Tip 1 – Advertising.  Make sure you are always advertising.  Wear company clothing, carry a bag with your company name on it, and carry samples that you can give away to people that stop and talk to you.

Tip 2- Don’t give up!  Chances are, your business is not going to make the income you want within the first month or two.  Keep working your direct sales business and it will eventually end up where you want it.

Tip 3 – Separate money!  Keep your business money separate from your personal accounts.  While this sound like more work, when it comes to tax time, you will find that you will be glad the two are separate.  And heaven forbid, if you get audited, it will save your butt!

Tip 4 – Believe in your product.  If you cannot believe in and promote the product you are selling in a positive way, you are going to have a hard time selling it to others.

Tip 5 – Do not undervalue yourself or your product.  Many people discount their product to make sales.  All this does is tell people that you do not believe that your product is worth the price that it is listed for.  If you want to give benefits, offer a free product or gift which helps to grow your direct sales business.

 

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Finding Time for Direct Sales Parties

My iCal synced with Google Calendar

Image by guccio@文房具社 via Flickr

When it comes to finding the time to work your direct sales business and finding time for direct sales parties, it can be difficult if you have a lot of commitments in your life.  But where there is a will there is a way, and it can be done with a bit of effort.

Calendar

The first thing I recommend is making a copy of a page from a calendar that is big enough to allow you to write items into the boxes.  Or maybe you prefer a planner where you have the day outlined in hours, whichever you prefer is what you need to find.

Commitments

Mark in any commitments that you already have.  This may be things such as kid’s activities, your day job, dentist appointments or anything else that is already planned in your life.  If you have a reoccurring appointment that you do not want to miss, such as a social event, then mark that in as well.

Check the Blanks

Now you know what time is taken and what time is available.  You want to book up those available times.  You need to determine how much you can realistically do.  For some people, they want every minute of their time scheduled; for others, they only want to do direct sales parties twice per week.  Pick the days you want to book and then go book them!

There are a variety of things you can do to get the parties booked, but that is another topic for another day.  Finding when you are available to work your direct sales business is important though.

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Office Supplies

Office supplies of blue

Image by Lady-bug via Flickr

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for office supplies – I love them, especially pens!  But a person needs more than just pens to keep their office and business running smoothly and productive.   If you are just starting out or you have been in this for a while, but are trying to get organized, here are some basics you will need for your office.

Holders – I have one for all those pretty pens.  I also keep my box cutter in it with the blade covered.  If you don’t have pens floating around your house, you may need to purchase some.

Paperclips – These are great for temporarily keeping things together.  You can buy something nice to put them in, but if you are trying to save money, re-use something you already have.  I use a pill bottle.

Stapler and staples – Great for keeping things together once they are ready to be filed.  I also take mine to my parties and staple my business cards onto the receipt.

Folders/Envelopes – Use for storing various papers from bookkeeping or other paper you need to keep organized.  These also work great for creating hostess and recruit packages.

Organizers – I mentioned last week that I have a three tier sorter that I use for my paperwork before I have dealt with it.  This is not something you need but something that may come in handy.  I believe I paid 3 bucks a tier at the dollar store.

Other items you may want – Binders, A marker, Rubber bands.

Some of these items are great to buy at your dollar store, but sometimes, you can actually get a better deal elsewhere.  For instance, I got my envelopes at Costco for about $10 which makes them 5 cents each.  At the dollar store, you get 10 for $1, which makes them 10 cents each.

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Organizing your Workspace

Typical rolltop desk

Image via Wikipedia

They say a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind, but it is also usually the sign of an organized person, which is important when you are running your own business.  If you have a customer call you and they can’t remember what they ordered last time but they want the same thing, the easier you can find their order, the happier you will both be.  Not to mention, when you are working on your accounting, it will be easier.  I know I have lost some receipts due to not being organized enough.

Set up a Space – Set up a space that all paperwork goes into until you have time to deal with it.  I bought a couple bins that go together in a little tower that I have set on a filing cabinet I have.  The top bin is for paper to deal with, the middle bin is paper that is dealt with but needing filing, and the bottom one is a bit of a catch all for other things.

Keep Things Tidy – This sounds like a no brainer, but it isn’t that easy to do.  I have a pen caddy on my desk which the pens do stay in but other things clutter up my desk.  It does make it harder to sit down and work at my desk as it feels clutter-y and I get distracted by the mess.

Systems – Most people find that setting up a system works best for them.  What that system is only you know.  But set yourself up to make this as easy as you can.  Maybe it is a system for how you organize your contacts on your computer and an easy way to find what they last ordered.  Maybe it is a system to help you get your accounting done in a timely manner and the most efficient way possible.  Whatever it is, if it works for you, stick to it!

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How can I keep up with leads?

3 ring binder (opened)

Image via Wikipedia

Organization is not a strong suit for a lot of us, so you are not alone.  Take a deep breath and we will get you on the right track.

You are going to need your old orders or contact cards or whatever you have with these people’s information on them.

You will need a lead sheet as well which I am going to talk about next.

A lead sheet is full of information.  It is an entire 8 ½ by 11 sheet that you fill out when you are talking to people on the phone.  These are the people who are interested in something.  Whether they are looking for a certain product, to do a party, or to join your team, you want to keep track of them.

You may want to create a generic lead sheet that incorporates all these elements as you never know when someone may escalate from one area to the next.

Start your lead sheet with their contact information – name, address, phone, email, preferred contact method, preferred time of day.

Next, you are going to want to record other information.  I like to record where I have met them so you may want to leave a line or two blank here and call it “How we met” or something else similar.

From here, you want to get to the purpose of this sheet.  How you organize the data is up to you and what makes the most sense to you.  You may want to set up the following categories and then different checks after them.

  • Looking for Product
  • Wanting to Host
  • Considering Joining

Regardless, make sure you leave a spot to put general notes.  For instance, I have had people that want to host a party three months down the road because they are moving next month.  I will put a note “moving in Sept, call in Oct for Nov booking”.  This way, when I get in touch I can ask them how the move went.  This typically will get people talking and more receptive to your idea.  Or in this situation, you can ask if they were still considering having a party and giving it an open house theme for people to come over and check out the new place.

As to how to organize these, I put the “Wanting to Host” in tabs for each month.  They get filed in the month I need to call them.  I have seen people put multiple potential hostesses on a page, but then it gets messy when they require calls in different months.

When you are talking to a “Considering Joining” you can ask them at the end of the call when they want you to call again.  If they are putting it off due to a life event, as permission to call them after that event (if there is a date for it) and file the same as “Wanting to Host”.

I would set up a special area for the “Looking for product” people that you will check each time there is a new book to see if you have that product yet.

I hope this helps you get started.  Your company may already have some lead sheets created so that you do not have to create your own.  If you are not sure, ask your upline.

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