Agents, beware! We all know children are darn cute…but they can do more damage than a Claymore mine. They are lurking everywhere, ready to set off small explosions while flashing irresistible, angelic grins. Be especially vigilant at open houses, or YOU may be the poor sucker who ends up on a milk carton. I offer you this report as proof:
The Clock Was Ticking
Marcia is a dedicated real estate agent who tries very hard to balance her roles as mother and business woman. We all know that sometimes the real estate Gods are MIA or out playing eighteen holes, so sometimes the juggling becomes precarious. Thus was the plight of our friend, Marcia.
Marcia was packing her van for a Brokers Open when the nanny called to say she could not make it. Marcia immediately called her husband, but he was on the golf course – apparently fraternizing with the irresponsible real estate gods – so he didn’t answer. Unable to rouse anyone else, she gathered up her adorable three year old son, Liam, and went off to show her listing.
Marcia was setting out a luncheon and warming quiches when Liam decided the crayons in his pocket would improve the minimalist design of the kitchen walls. Upon discovering Liam’s bold mural, Marcia’s voice went from zero to sixty as she reprimanded the young artist (freedom of expression for younguns be damned) and told him to eighty-six the crayons. She then grabbed the cleanser and attempted to repair the wall. As distracted Marcia tried to remove the wax road map before her, the compliant child ditched his weapons. Unfortunately, he disposed of the crayons in the sink. Clever little guy.
Beware the Silence
Believing (foolishly) that disaster had been averted, Marcia went back to her prep work, peeling cucumbers and piling the peels in the sink. Liam played with a toy that was loud enough to rouse the dead…but nothing was rousing Daddy. As “go” time was closing in, she ran the garbage disposal and checked the quiche. The disposal churned for a moment or two, and then it did a Hail Mary and decided to lie down and die. Marcia had no idea what had caused the contraption to expire until she noticed a Crayola paper amongst the remaining garbage.
Ever the patient mom, Marcia pressed her throbbing veins back into her temples. She dialed hubby again while instructing Liam that “Mommy really needs your help.” Hubby was still AWOL, and the real estate gods must have been doing shooters in the bar, because someone was concocting a disaster that could rival an Italian soccer match.
Marcia hung up and frantically tried to clean up the septic hole that had once been a sink. Unable to find a straight jacket for herself or a cage for her child, she distracted Liam by telling him to watch out the window and tell her when any big people arrived at the scene.
Be Careful What You Wish For
The little fellow tried to help – he really did, but a three year old has different criteria for helping than us adult types do. For instance, did you know that if you spit on a window and then draw in the spit, you can make pictures? And if you wipe the slobber off, you can then make the window clean? Perhaps you didn’t know that one should not use the owner’s sofa pillow to wipe off the spit. It’s true. Drool pillows are only popular in retirement homes.
Marcia, flabbergasted at this point, yanked her little darling off the couch and gave him a serious lecture. Many tears later, while looking over her shoulder, little Van Gogh spotted the caravan arrivals and yelled, “Mommy, it’s time!” As luck would have it, it was PAST time for the quiches.
Marcia’s consciousness finally made room for the smell of burnt food in the kitchen. She ran to the rescue, only to discover that actual flames were coming out of the sides of the oven door. It seems Van Gogh also had delusions of growing up to be Emeril, because he had “helped” Mommy by turning up the oven knob to 450 degrees. Ah, what a cute little kid.
A Sprinkle of This…A Sprinkle of That…
Marcia pushed Liam to safety and yanked open the oven door. A cloud of smoke and flames licked the air like dragon’s breath. Marcia jumped back and reached for the sprayer from the sink. That’s when she first became aware of a feature in the house she had not noticed before. The house had a sprinkler system, thank you very much.
When the first agents arrived, they abruptly recoiled. The house was raining inside, smoke was rolling out of the oven, and Marcia had her kid in a choke hold. The visitors stepped aside in unison as Marcia ran toward the door with the little beast in tow and tears streaming down her face. Or was it just the unplanned shower that had left its liquid trails on her flushed cheeks?
According to Marcia, one heroic agent ran into the rain storm and duly put out the fire, while another called the fire department. Marcia thrust her delinquent child at an agent from her office and told the nonplussed agent to corral the kid before Mommy dismembered him. Marcia then sat down on the patio for a good cry just as her phone began to ring. Hubby was finally calling, but no words were ever exchanged. Instead, she threw the phone across the yard and waited for a hunky fireman to show up to relieve her of her misery, her husband, her kid and her life.
When the Dust Finally Settled:
The sellers were very understanding, in spite of the crayons still stuck in the sink. Insurance covered most of the damage, but I don’t believe it covered the anti-psychotic medicine Marcia considered taking, the new set of golf clubs to replace the ones Marcia threatened to break over hubby’s skull, or the reform schools she was researching when last contacted.
Moral of the story:
You are better off taking a panther to an open house than a three year old. Panthers don’t have opposable thumbs, so they cannot use crayons or turn up oven knobs. Panthers do not draw pictures in spit. And your odds of survival are probably better – you can shoot a panther.
10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners
(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.
As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.
From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.
This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.
How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.
Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.
The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.
The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.
StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.
If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.
The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.
One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.
Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.
Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.
Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.
One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.
The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.
Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.
This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.
This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.
The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.
This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.
Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.
Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]
(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…
The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?
Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.
One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.
Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?
At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.
Families’ roles are complex.
You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.
What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.
Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.
Market your side hustle with these 6 tips
(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.
Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.
Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:
- Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
- Start Where You Are
Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
- Gather Positive Reviews
If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
- Be Strategic With Social
It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
- Give Paid Marketing A Shot
Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
- Go Local
Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.
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