Posts Tagged ‘online’

Tobi TV: How to Move Color Through Your Home

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Using color in one room is enough of a challenge, but using color cohesively throughout the home can be a tough proposition for most people!

I love to move color through a home, and I’m going to show you my best tip for doing that AND making each room work together in my farmhouse project that was just featured in Traditional Home. Let’s take a look:

See? It isn’t as hard as you think to have bold color throughout your entire house! Let’s look at how those colors worked together again:

  • First, the master bedroom has rich shades of brown and green.
  • As we move to the dining room, the brown tags along.
  • Then the aqua in the dining room pairs perfectly with the same color in the formal living room.
  • That’s where we picked up the cobalt that then goes into the kitchen, where it’s paired with red.
  • That bold red moves upstairs into the kids’ playroom and their individual bedrooms, too!

Each room works together to create a cohesive color story! Let me know what you think about this bright idea in the comments section below! And don’t miss me talking all about color this month in my Transformation column in Traditional Home in their annual color issue. My column is all about my own home renovation and the way I used color at home for my own family. Click here to see more!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

4 Tips for Falling in Love with Your Business

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Feeling burned out? If you are constantly giving to everyone but yourself, you can start to feel resentment. Believe me, I’ve been there – several times! And over the years I’ve also discovered that there is one sure-fire method to make you fall in love with what you do again. But it may not be what you think.

Because to rediscover that spark, that thing that gives you the passion for what you do, you have to step away. Yep, you read that right. But if you try these 4 steps, I promise you’ll come back to work ready to take it on with new gusto!

  1. Go away. And I mean AWAY. One day could help, but for me to really unwind, it typically takes several days. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, then at least check out of business mode. Go drive in the country with your windows down and breathe in the fresh air. Take a spin through a museum or a walk in the park. Plan a long weekend at the beach or the lake. Just get out of your office and turn your phone off. Studies show that if you don’t give yourself a break, you’ll never be as creative and effective as you need to be. You really need to recharge your batteries and you can only do that if you step away from your office.  And for me if there is a component of nature involved, my relaxation goes up tremendously!
  2. Breathe deep. You need to relax and get your mojo back, and one of the best ways to do that is through meditation and deep breathing. Don’t believe me? Well the American Medical Association is now talking about big benefits from deep breathing, like elevating your mood, releasing tension, bringing clarity to your thinking, and boosting your immune system. That’s perfect for burnout! Add in meditation to reduce stress and improve concentration and you have a winning combination. And I combine these with yin yoga so not only my mind feels relaxed, but my body feels better too!
  3. Treat yourself well. You are your company’s most important asset, so you should be treating yourself like gold. That means it is critical for you to take time out of your day to exercise – look at it as an investment in your long-term performance. But for you to get the best benefits, find the type of exercise you really like. If you dread it, you are unlikely to keep it up. Plus, you need to take in the right fuel to keep you running like a well-oiled machine. And we are all different with what foods work for our bodies. At the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I have been trained as a health and wellness coach, they call this bio-individuality. It’s the idea that one person’s food is another person’s poison. So learn which foods and vitamins make you feel best and make them a priority. Taking care of yourself isn’t some new age mumbo-jumbo – a Forbes study showed that CEOs who took time out of their day to exercise and eat right were 30% more inspired and effective at work. So take care of YOU and your take care of your company.
  4. Rethink your priority. That’s right, just one. The idea of priorities (plural) is a somewhat recent change to this word that was made in the US in the 1940s. This word originally meant the ONE most important thing, because you really can’t focus on more than one thing at a time right? So what is your priority? I talked a few weeks ago about the fabulous book Essentialism. To find out what’s most important to you, write down everything you are doing as a function of your job and then really start thinking about what is critical and what is really nonessential. And I mean cut it down to the bone. Multitasking is a myth, so what do you really want to focus on? Getting that clarity, and ridding yourself of things that are holding you back or tying you down will truly make you free! Your passion won’t be pulled in 20 directions, and instead you will get fired up and ready to focus on that one thing that will make the biggest difference.

I’m in my sweet spot of really concentrating on these 4 core ideas right now – and it’s been paying off in a BIG way! I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I am really feeling the fire again, but not for business as usual. It’s for a new and improved version of my business – one that feeds my family and my soul.

So what do you think? Where have you made changes this year to give you a better, more productive, and happier business and life? And if you haven’t made changes yet, what’s your plan? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

3 Tips for Protecting Your Brand Online

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ruin

It’s a sign of the times that you can provide top-notch services and the best customer experience, and yet have a very different reputation online. One stray comment or one misstep on your part, and suddenly your brand could have a serious problem. So what’s a small business owner to do?

It’s so important to protect your brand in the online world, just as you do in your own city and state. Here are 3 tips for keeping your brand in good shape in the world WILD web:

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1. Google yourself. No really, go do that now. You want to enter your name and your company’s name, and for both searches include your city so it will help narrow down the search. Be sure that you look at links further back than just the first page or two of results. You need to be sure that what you find is positive, that you’re getting credit for your own work, and that you’re actually coming up in the first page! Look for comments, posts, and anything else that might be an issue for you. It’s good to do this every month or so, just as a check-in.

2. Watch for comments and questions. Have you noticed that Facebook now ranks your business page based on how quickly you respond to comments? There’s a reason that it’s called SOCIAL media – it’s meant to be a conversation. So any time you don’t respond, it’s as if someone walked up to say hello to you, and you turned your back on them. However, you have to weigh that against the time you have – I know that better than most! I try to answer questions on Facebook and my blog, “like” retweets and thank people for great tweets on Twitter, and respond to serious requests on Houzz. But I can’t answer every single “what paint color is that” question that I get – no matter how much I may want to! There just aren’t enough hours in the day. So that leads me to…

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3. Head off not-so-nice feedback. On Houzz, I tend to put info like paint colors right into the captions so people don’t have to send me as many questions. That helps the online viewer and me, and it avoids posts from irritated DIYers! And then there are the “ugly” comments or less-than-stellar reviews. Some people think it’s okay to delete all of those, but I believe it’s a great opportunity to show that you care enough to respond and try to address whatever the issue is. In fact, my friends at Houzz said they encourage people to respond if they ever get a “poor” review. It gives you a chance to showcase your amazing customer service! And yes, I get those more “wacko” comments on social media, too. If they are really abusive and weird, I will delete those.

Keeping an eye on your online brand, and being responsive to your “tribe,” is the way to protect yourself from angry potential customers and keep your reputation in good standing. Let me know how you keep up with your online brand in the comments section below!

xo,

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4 Ways to Rethink Your Work Team

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try

I’m asked all the time when a small business owner should hire employees – and there’s really no easy one-size-fits-all answer. You have to determine that for yourself based on your income and overhead. But I will tell you that I have completely revamped how I work with team members, and you can too! Let’s take a look at 4 ways to create a lean-and-mean productive team:

1. Make a list of all your tasks and jobs required in your company. Remember what I always say: You should spend 80% of your time on the thoughts and activities that will produce the most results (aka MONEY) for your business. So look at that list and mark the things you need to do to make your company money or that require your skills. If an activity doesn’t give you a strong return on investment, then you should not be the one doing it. You have to assign tasks that you should not be performing to other people. That’s going to make your company more productive. After all, if you are the most important asset your company has, can you really afford to be the one taking out the trash or cleaning your office? Making that list will help you focus on where you need help.

2. Once you know you have job duties that you should pass on to someone else, it’s time to decide what type of person can handle them for you: an outsourced hire or an employee. The advantages of outsourcing include: getting specialized experts for a fraction of the cost. You also don’t have to pay for insurance, retirement, payroll taxes, office supplies, a workstation or a computer. In most cases, you pay when the work is complete. And you don’t have to manage anyone in-house. I outsource things in my company like bookkeeping, web design, IT help, graphic design and more.

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There are advantages to having an employee, of course. You have someone to work with you and to bounce ideas off of. They are on-call immediately and can help when there’s an issue. Once they’re trained, they know the “ins and outs” of the business and can help make decisions without your guidance, which comes in handy when you need to take time off. Once you really think about the pros and cons of outsourcing versus having an employee, you need to do a cost/benefit analysis to determine which type of employee makes the most sense for your budget and your needs. You may want to use a hybrid, like I do, with employees handling some jobs, and other things being outsourced.

3. Think global rather than just local. In today’s world, your team doesn’t even need to be in the same place – you can hire the right person for the job, regardless of where they’re based. As many of you know, I have full-time team members in different states, and my outsourced people are in other states, too. Because of today’s technology, we stay in touch and work together just as if we were all in the same office. Having a virtual team allows you to get the best and brightest in the field and not settle for less just because that’s all you can find in your area.

4. Get connected. We are so lucky to have so many tools available to us today that let us connect with people around the world. They also help keep a hybrid work team connected and productive. Some of the tools we use are Studio Webware, Asana, Dropbox, Skype, Google calendars, Time Tracker, and more. It creates a seamless work system that feels as if we’re all working in the same office.

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You’ll also have to meet and check in with your team a little more often just because you aren’t sharing the same office space and you don’t have the luxury of gathering around the water cooler or break room and casually discussing topics. Organize time when your team can socialize and get to know each other and build a relationship that will last.

Building a team, like building a company, takes some work and time but if you put these ideas into place, you should end up with a more productive and smoother-running company in the long run. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

xo,

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