Category Archives: How To

Business lessons on working from abroad – Part One

What business lesson did I learn when working from abroad?

It was a chance conversation at a networking meeting.

Christine said she was supposed to be going house sitting in France but a job had come up that she couldn’t turn down. Not one to miss an opportunity (and I love France) I asked her more about it as we walked back into town afterwards.

It was the perfect place to check my systems to see if the goal I had for working from anywhere was possible.

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SnagIt – my second essential business tool

Snagit
Business Tools

I often recommend tools that help me run my business efficiently to my clients and to other people I meet. My top five are my favourite tools that I use most regularly in my business (and wouldn’t be without). I use them daily (and multiple times per day in some instances)

There are free versions of some of them and others are very reasonably priced for what they allow you to do.

  1. Bit.ly shortens links (see post here)
  2. Snagit for taking screenshots and recording videos
  3. Evernote for note taking and organizing – basically replaces sticky notes and a lot more!
  4. Hootsuite for managing and scheduling social media
  5. FreeAgent for sending invoices to clients and keeping bills and expenses and you can also submit your UK tax return

I will do a separate, detailed blog post for each tool showing you how to use it.

This is the second in my essential business tools series.

snagitSnagit

Essential for capturing anything on my computer screen. From an icon to a scrolling screen, it works on PC desktops, laptops, mobiles, and Macs. I record videos with it to walk through a step by step process.

All the images in this blog post were captured using Snagit. The main image at the top was then added to Canva (another great tool) and more text and and a logo inserted.

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Bit.ly – my number one business tool

Business Tools

I often recommend tools that help me run my business efficiently to my clients and to other people I meet. My top five are my favourite tools that I use most regularly in my business (and wouldn’t be without). I use them daily (and multiple times per day in some instances)

There are free versions of some of them and others are very reasonably priced for what they allow you to do.

  1. Bit.ly shortens links
  2. Snag It for taking screenshots and recording videos
  3. Evernote for note taking and organizing – basically replaces sticky notes and a lot more!
  4. Hootsuite for managing and scheduling social media
  5. FreeAgent for sending invoices to clients and keeping bills and expenses and you can also submit your UK tax return

I will do a separate, detailed blog post for each tool showing you how to use it.

My number one tool is

bit.ly logo

Essential for shortening links for sharing articles and posts online. It’s free to use and allows you to see how popular your links are.

Read more »

Save Favourite Tweets to Evernote

IFTTT Twitter

 

Twitter is a great resource but sometimes it can be difficult to find information from a while ago. You can Favourite a Tweet so it becomes an online filing system.

Have you ever wanted to save Favourite tweets so you can find them easily?

A recent blog post from Evernote alerted me to an easy way to do this. All you need is an Evernote account and an IFTTT account.

You may not have heard of IFTTT which stands for “if not this then that”. This is a simple tool to join two systems together. In this case I have chosen Evernote as it is one of my essential business tools for keeping random and not so random information well organized.

Step 1 – Setup your Evernote Account

  1. Go to www.evernote.com and sign up for a free account.
  2. Confirm your email address

Evernote works by saving emails, clipping webpages, audio files and lots more in easy to search notes which in turn are saved within notebooks. Each note is ‘tagged’ with one or more labels which you use to find it afterwards. It’s great for projects, planning events, writing books and lots more but this post isn’t actually about Evernote so onto the next step.

Step 2 – Setup your IFTTT Account

  1. Go to www.ifttt.com and sign up for a free account
  2. Confirm your email address
  3. Login to IFTTT

Step 3 – Connect Evernote and ITFFF

  1. Choose Channels
  2. Click on Evernote
  3. Click on Activate
  4. Grant Access
  5. You will receive a confirmation email that Evernote has allowed IFTTT to access your account

Step 4 – Create your IFTTT ‘recipe’ to save your favourite tweets

Using IFTTT this is really easy (it took me less than 5 minutes to setup my first recipe and that included connecting Evernote and Twitter)

  • Choose Create a Recipe or New personal recipe
  • Click on this (in blue) within IFTTT
  • Click on Choose Trigger and choose Twitter
  • Authorise Twitter (if not already done)
  • Click on that (in blue) within IFTTT
  • Click on Choose Trigger and choose Evernote
  • Authorise Evernote (if not already done)
  • Click on New Favorite Tweet by You
  • Say where to save the tweets (Choose a New Note or Append to a Note – I think the latter is better as everything is saved in one place)
  • Create Action when done
  • Finally click on Create Recipe
  • Test it by favouriting a tweet (and wait for around 20-30 minutes to allow for synchronization) and then check your notebook in Evernote to see it is there.

You’re done! You now know how to save favourite tweets to Evernote using IFTTT.

Your recipe should look something like this (it depends on what you called your Evernote notebook) and this is what it looks like in Evernote below.

IFTTT Recipe

IFTTT Recipe

 

The result in Evernote

The result in Evernote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share your experiences of using IFTTT with us below

Bulk scheduling posts with Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a versatile tool that you can use to post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and lots of other social media networks.

Scheduling posts with Hootsuite

Scheduling posts with Hootsuite is one of the functions that most users are unaware of. This can be really useful as it allows you to use your time efficiently by creating several posts at one time and then scheduling them to be published at intervals. For example, you could create four posts and schedule them to go out once a week on a particular day at a particular time over a four week period. So Tuesday 2, 9, 16 and 23 October at 11am.

Hootsuite allows you to upload a spreadsheet with up to 350 posts and these will then be scheduled automatically and will appear in the Publisher tab.

This is known as Bulk Scheduling

Before you create your spreadsheet  you need to be aware of the following

  • You can only schedule one post per time slot
  • Each time slot is 10 minutes
  • Each time slot has to end in 5 or 0
  • Each file can only upload to one profile at a time.
  • A maximum of 350 posts can be scheduled across all your profiles

 

 Create your spreadsheet

  1. In Excel or similar create a spreadsheet with two columns.
  2. The first column should contain the date and time.
  3. The second should contain your post
  4. The example below uses Twitter and shows a daily post at 12pm with a different LinkedIn tip in each one.

Scheduling posts with hootsuite - create your spreadsheet

Create your spreadsheet

 

 

 

 

  1. Column A – Add date/time and put ” ” around it
  2. Column B – Add post  and put ” ” around it
  3. Save As .CSV type
  4. Accept any error messages about file types as you only want to save the sheet you have created
  5. Note the location of the spreadsheet

 

Choose your upload options

  1. Within Hootsuite click on the paper dart (Publisher) tab
  2. Click on Schedule in Bulk

 

Scheduling posts with hootsuite - hootsuite publisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Next choose your file
  2. Choose your date format
  3. Choose which profile to upload to
  4. Click on submit once done

Scheduling posts with hootsuite - bulk scheduling options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results

You should then see something similar to the image below. Each post can be edited individually (click on the pencil on the right of your screen) if you notice any mistakes.

scheduling posts with Hootsuite - the results

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all there is to it. An easy way to schedule posts for the next week or month or so.

What do you schedule on Hootsuite?

 

 

 

 

Are you breaking the LinkedIn terms of service?

linkedin terms of service re names

I’ve been looking at the LinkedIn terms of service recently and they are a lot stricter than most people are aware of.

User Agreement

The LinkedIn User Agreement is quite explicit in what can and cannot be put into your profile. It is worthwhile reading this to ensure you know that you comply with the Linkedin terms of service guidelines.

linkedin terms of service re names

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve done a survey of all my connections (1053 as of August 2013) and 68 of them have something other than their name in the First and Last Name fields.

This ranges from someone who has put

  • some of their qualifications, e.g. an MBA or similar
  • or their company name,
  • or a phone number,
  • or their website
  • or a general description which should be in their headline
  • to someone who has put both their first and last names into the first name field and
  • someone who has put their headline into their first name field and first and last names into their last name field.

linkedin terms of service name infringements

 

Any of these examples could lead to LinkedIn suspending or closing your account.

 

 

 

 

 

That represents 6% of my connections who could technically have their LinkedIn account closed by LinkedIn. In practice LinkedIn are unlikely to do this but will contact you first (via email) and ask you to change it.

I will admit I was guilty of this a while ago. I thought that it would help to say that I was a LinkedIn trainer in the Last Name field. And I think it possibly did boost my search rankings for a while. However, I then logged a call for a problem I was having with another part of LinkedIn and I got an email back saying I needed to remove it or my account would be suspended. Now as training on LinkedIn is my business you can imagine it would be rather inconvenient to not be able to access it so it was changed extremely rapidly!

 Your LinkedIn profile photo

You also may not realise that LinkedIn requires a headshot photo of you. This means you cannot put the company logo or an illustration. Photographs of you together with anyone else are not allowed.

profile photo limitations

 

Check and update your profile

So once you’ve read this post, take a look at your LinkedIn profile and if you have anything other than your first and last name in those fields, click on Edit and remove the extra information so you comply with the LinkedIn terms of service. Add it to your Headline if relevant. Also check your profile photograph complies.

Have LinkedIn ever contacted you to ask you to change your profile or warned you they may suspend your account?

 

 

Effective LinkedIn ¦ how to access the new LinkedIn contacts

 
contacts.linkedin.comLinkedIn recently opened up the new version of contacts to everybody but there hasn’t been any publicity so you may not be aware of it. It is a great improvement on the old system and I recommend that everyone upgrade to it. The image on the right will take you to the site but you may want to read the rest of this post first!

 

LinkedIn CRM

The new version acts more like a CRM (customer relationship management) system and allows you to put notes, multiple tags, reminders, where you met your contact and who introduced you. It also shows any messages the contact has sent you.

example contact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To access the new LinkedIn contacts

To get access to the system go to contacts.linkedin.com and click on Get Started. This will then upgrade your version of contacts. (It may take a few minutes depending upon the number of contacts you have)

You also have the option to import contact details from your email client such as Microsoft Outlook.

I would be interested to hear what you think of the new version. I personally think it is a clearer display and the extra options help me be more organised. What about you?

 

Effective LinkedIn ¦ What is a LinkedIn Endorsement?

What is a LinkedIn endorsement?

LinkedIn endorsements are a new feature released over the last month or so and this article gives you some background information on what they are and how they work. Every time you look at a profile on LinkedIn nowadays a box appears and asks whether you want to endorse the person for a particular skill.

  • An endorsement is a quick way to endorse a particular skill rather than spending time crafting a recommendation.
  • Any endorsements you receive then appear in your status updates and LinkedIn notify you via email.
  • Anyone can suggest a skill and endorse you for it and you can choose whether or not to display it

How do I endorse someone?

endorsements for sliderIt is simple to endorse someone and LinkedIn actively promotes endorsements by displaying a ‘Does this person have this skills?’ box at the top of the screen and suggests skills to endorse.

The easiest way to endorse someone is to go to Skills & Expertise on their public profile and click on the + symbol next to the skill you wish to endorse. Your LinkedIn profile photo will then appear next to that skill to show you have endorsed them (if it is a recognised skill) and if you hover over the skill LinkedIn will tell you how popular it is. Or you can use the suggestions LinkedIn provides and click on the suggestions.

Although search does not include endorsements of a skill at present I believe that LinkedIn will be adding this feature in future so if someone had more endorsements they would appear higher in the results list.

Why should I endorse someone?

  • If you endorse someone then your profile photograph appears next to the endorsement and anyone who hovers over this picture will see more information about you so it’s another way to promote yourself.
  • Most people will reciprocate.

Why should I have endorsements on my profile?

  • It’s another way to demonstrate your expertise. The higher the number next to the endorsement means that people really believe you an expert in that particular skill.
  • Everyone is doing it so you don’t want to be left out!
Some points to note:
  1. You need to have Skills and Expertise showing on your profile.
  2. You do not have to accept endorsements (For some reason LinkedIn keeps suggesting MS Project is one of my skills and lots of people keep endorsing me. Whilst this is something I have done in the past, I do not wish to attract new clients for this so I have chosen to hide the skill so that is is not displayed otherwise it would have become my top skill. I have asked LinkedIn if they can stop suggesting it to other people but they tell me that they will suggest it to the developers and it ‘may’ happen ‘at some point’. So I keep ignoring the suggestions)
  3. You do not have any control over the order in which they are displayed other than the popularity of the endorsement.
  4. You can choose to delete an endorsement but once deleted it cannot be added again tThis does not apply to a skill simply the individual endorsement)
If you would like to know more about endorsements or how to use LinkedIn effectively then I run personalised training courses and workshops. Please contact me for further details.
I would love to hear how you are using endorsements so feel free to add some comments below.

Effective LinkedIn | How and who to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile adds credibility to your online and offline presence whether you are looking for a new job or for new clients. An extremely important part of this is having recommendations to demonstrate your expertise.  This article shows you how (and who) to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the 12th most popular website in the world today with 2 new people joining every second and over 175 million users worldwide. (Thanks to Business Insider for these statistics. If you want to read the whole article it is available here).  I was recently at a local networking meeting and one of the people I met said he went to Manchester for a meeting with a potential client and they had printed out a copy of his LinkedIn public profile and had it in front of them at the meeting (he had also printed a copy of the client’s profile).  It is becoming increasingly common to hear this story. If you want to know how to print a copy of your or someone else’s LinkedIn profile take a look at this blog post)

Your public profile contains your working history, skills, experience and recommendations.

Why have recommendations?

A recommendation gives a brief description (as that is all it needs to be) of how you performed when doing a particular role or providing a service to someone.

It shows your potential clients or new employers that you are:

  • Professional
  • Competent
  • Worth employing

 

Who to ask for a recommendation?

If you are employed: Your boss (current and previous), colleagues and suppliers. For example if you have worked on a project you could ask the Project Manager or the Project Sponsor.

If you run your own business providing services to others: your existing clients and suppliers.

 

Requesting a recommendation

The easiest way to do this is to click on Profile and then Recommendations and then Request Recommendation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose which job (add the role if it is not already on your profile), Type the name of the person you are sending it to and then personalise the message itself.

I recommend highlighting the areas you wish to be recommended for (e.g. I am updating my LinkedIn profile and it would be really helpful if you could provide a recommendation for me when I worked on x project with (or for) you at x company in x year) rather than the bland default given.

If someone send you back a recommendation and it isn’t quite right then it is fine to go back to them and ask them to revise it for you.

Be generous and give recommendations to others especially when you have received good service from them or they have particularly impressed you.

Who do you know who could give you a good recommendation that you would be proud to display? Why not comment below?

If you would like assistance with updating your LinkedIn profile we can update it for you or show you how to update it yourself. More details are available at https://coxconsultancy.org.uk/LinkedIn.html.

 

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