Posted by: Erin | November 20, 2008

Check out BetterWorldBooks.com

Everytime I go to the internet to buy a book I feel that I get trapped by Amazon.com.  I search for my title hoping for a different outcome, but Amazon is what I find. This morning… the same. I go to the internet to specifically purchase two books: The Great Game of Business and The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I think to myself… ughhh- Amazon. Then, a gimmer of hope… I can buy from the discounted used book selection. I’m happy… I can buy The Great Game of Business for me and my Dad for only $.90 each. Wow. Then, I realize that the shipping costs is $3.99.  Okay… $3.99 isn’t too bad for one. But, it then gets complicated because I can’t buy 2 from the same vendor so I have to pay $3.99 twice… and unfortunately, it has to be shipped twice. yuck. not very good on our environment. So, after finding my second book selection which is only offered in new for $10+ and which qualifies for the Free SuperSaver Shipping on purchases of $25 or more… leaves me wondering why I don’t just buy 1 copy of the first book and I can get free shipping on everything and all three books can be shipped together. I gave up this morning.

All this to say… that’s why I get frustrated with Amazon.

This evening when I got home… I stumbled across Better World Books by searching google for used books for sale. What a change from Amazon… I just bought 3 books from Better World Books for what I felt was a fair price, supported carbon-free shipping, and most importantly… in a small way helped to improve the quality of life for people through literacy. Check out their impact thus far.

Check out these impressive stats..

Funds Raised for Global Literacy: $4,785,956.7
Books Saved From Landfills: 13,461,784

Here’s the BWB blog.

Posted by: Erin | September 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

I love the little birdies that hang out and make our front porch their home!

Posted by: Erin | August 29, 2008

End of Summer… School’s a Bummer!

I will have to say that this coming weekend has gotten me through the summer at times. We’re renting a houseboat on Dale Hollow Lake tomorrow and returning on Monday. Pretty much all summer I’ve felt like this weekend was only 2 weeks away… too bad it was like an untouchable reoccurring dream at times. But, it’s her eand I’m ready to sleep in, sun, kayak, and read!

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful, relaxing Labor Day weekend. Celebrate something! I’m celebrating a great summer… and a great fall ahead!

Posted by: Erin | August 25, 2008

Beliefs: Church & Work & Life

Today in Sunday School we started a new study on the Apostle’s Creed. Much of the discussion revolved around faith & works and belief & actions. Yes, the ever popular discussion of faith verses works came up again, but it’s pretty evident (in the Methodist Church) at least that faith and works are inseparable. What was more of a discussion was do our beliefs affect our actions or do actions affect beliefs.

I would think a good case would be made for each side… and a good cause could be made for inseparability. However, I don’t think that as a general rule we give enough credit to the power of beliefs. I remember a powerful story of a lady who overcame an obsessive, isolating overeating problem when a friend gave her a laptop and access to the Internet. Through conversations with others and fostering relationships on the Internet… she began to believe that she was smart, witty, and someone that others cared to talk to. This shattered her current belief system that held her hostage and gave her the courage to change her actions and start eating healthy and eventually exercising. Though this is an extreme example… I know that other beliefs which may be blatant in our personal lives or subtle can make just as big of an impact. It’s sometimes the subtle beliefs that can make the biggest difference.

In my sales training classes we place a lot of emphasis on beliefs and really try and uncover what beliefs we hold and how it affects our actions. We like to call it “mind trash.” It’s this mind trash that holds us back in life and keeps us from being everything we are designed to be.

Behind every successful person… there always seems to be a story of a powerful mentor that believed in that person. And, when I think of people that are struggling in life with low self-esteem and self-sabotaging behavior… many times you uncover stories of people who hurt them, abuse them, and feed them stories of negative beliefs.

To find true change in behavior… I believe you have to change your beliefs. Get rid of your mind trash. I think there are different levels of belief… there is the shallow level of cerebral belief. Maybe you want to belief or you know you should believe… but it resides in your mind. This is where prayer and meditation come in… the discipline and repetition of positive beliefs and talk will gradually begin to live within you and replace the untrue beliefs held. As beliefs and actions begin to live together and enforce each other… you move to more of a practicing level. And, then, finally, the practicing changes who you are… the practicing becomes who you are and you are free. Free from something you may have not even known was suffocating you.

What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?

How would you treat people if you knew they could only love in return?

Posted by: Erin | August 24, 2008

Carolina Girls!

The competition has begun! We have divided into teams and the will to win is as strong as ever. For the second year in a row, I’m on the green team! Today the schedule of events consisted of introductions, team building, session 1 with John Jactsch, a blogging team activity, a reception, and a lego creation task. Not our normal day, but it was fun!

Here are my notes from John Jactsch’s, Duct Tape Marketing, session:

Marketing= getting someone that has a need to know, like and trust you. (This has, is, and will forever be the definition of marketing… what has changed is how we get someone to know, like and trust us.)

The 4 P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion) are long gone. Marketing now consists of 4 C’s: Content, Context, Connection, and Community.

As a small business, we have to harness the internet and move beyond brochure-ware.

Our new tools consist of… interactive content, blogs/podcasts, RSS, social news/bookmark, social/local searches, social network. There is a heirarchy to these tools with blogging being the most fundamental and social networking being the most actualized (I disagree with this).

Podcasts can give a small business journalistic credibility.

Try not to think about how everyone else is using new media. Think of new ways to use is to attract and grow new business.

Search engines love blogs

How to get started blogging… 1) Monitor other blogs 2) Comment on other blogs 3) Start Blogging

Best Practices of Blogging… 1) Read blogs 2) Post often 3) Network with quality bloggers 4) encourage community 5) link out

What is a quality blog… 1) Post often 2) have a topic focus 3) generate comments 4) length of blogging 5) Links out to other blog

Create keyword rich headlines

PR web helps small businesses distribute news

Posted by: Erin | July 17, 2008

How to you connect with the customer of tomorrow?

I just arrived in Phoenix, AZ for NPMA’s Academy ’08.  At Academy this year, we will be breaking into teams, competing, and exploring “How to connect with the customer of tomorrow?”  Interesting topic. I reviewed the schedule of events and on the surface it’s seems that we will dive into 5 main topics: Internet Marketing, Social Responsibility, Customer Advisory Boards, Online Videos, and Blogs.  These topics are enough to scare many small business owners.  It sure seems like the world is rapidly changing and it’s difficult to keep up.  However, beneath this jargon lies what the customer of tomorrow is really looking for.

Here are may pre-conference thoughts:

Internet Marketing – While maybe the ins and outs of Internet marketing aren’t clear and easily defined. If a small business commits to 4 things, I believe they will be successful.  1. Accept technology 2. Learn technology 3. Use technology 4. Live technology  Our education sure didn’t end with high school or college or even a master’s degree… we might actually have to learn from our children these days.  And, do you know why children and youth know so much about technology… why?  They accept it, learn it, use it, and live it.

Social Responsibility - This isn’t hard either.  It all boils down to Respect.  I believe if you live your life with respect for others and your surroundings… and you run your business with respect for others and your surroundings, you are a company that will attract and grow new business. You don’t have to be a tree hugging, Al Gore fan… just live your life and run your business with concern.

Customer Advisory Boards – This comes down to 5 things: 1. Don’t make assumptions 2. Listen 3. Really listen 3. Make Changes 4. Communicate the changes.  Max Carey reminded me last week to remember what business I’m in.  If I can remember that I’m in the business of providing a healthy, happy environment for my customers rather than the pest control business, then… I will be more open to continuous improvements, new service lines, dramatic shifts that could drastically grow by business by meeting the customers true needs.  Max gave a great example of the Rail Road industry… he said that if the rail road industry (one of the most powerful industries of it’s time) had remembered that it was in the transportation business rather than the rail road car business, they would have been positioned correctly to prosper as America grew and changed.

Online Videos & Blogs – Whatever the media… I believe that the customer of tomorrow desires transparency, authenticity, honesty. They want to hear our voices and see our faces.  No more hiding behind an expensive marketing department.

So whether or not these newer forms of media seem daunting or scary to you as a small business owner… I believe that if you remove the facade, talk to your customer, be accessible and be responsible… you can connect to the customer of tomorrow… and attract new business!

Posted by: Erin | July 15, 2008

Vacation…


Posted by: Erin | June 11, 2008

Colleen Barrett

I’m actually really, really excited about tomorrow’s Cable meeting. I rarely get excited about a speaker- but I LUV Southwest and what they stand for. I’m looking forward to getting a glimpse of who Colleen is and what she has to say!. Plus, we’re celebrating Cable’s 30th anniversary!

Posted by: Erin | June 6, 2008

…the last 24 days

First of all, I have much respect for bloggers. It’s not as easy as it would seem.  I figured I would start this blog and just “see where it takes me.”  Wow!  It’s quite the commitment to post something regularly.  And, it’s like exercising… when you get out of the routine- it’s hard to get the momentum to start again! I’m a little embarrassed that I barely made it 1 month before I slacked off.

We’ll I’m proud to announce that one project that I have been working on for months now is up and running. All-American has a new website- and it’s quite a upgrade from the last one.  This website represents a lot of the continuous improvements we have been working on at All-American.  It’s a great feeling to have it up and running.  Take a look!

I have been intrigued with bloggers who make lists… so, I’m going to give a shot at making a list of the 24 things I’ve been doing in the last 24 days…. no drum roll needed.

24. Started with a personal trainer. love it.

23. Gained 5 pounds. Lost 4.

22. Went on a cruise. very relaxing.

21. Missed Kelsey’s graduation. can’t complain. on a cruise.

20. Ate at the greatest mexican restaurant ever! really great.

19. Turned 29. not too bad.

18. Launched our new website. hurray.

17. Skin Dr. says I have pre-cancerous cells. yikes.

16. Started wearing more suncreen. oh well.

15. Learned Shawn may have to go back.

14. Worked on my first acquisition. learned a lot.

13. Acquisition fell through. maybe next time.

12. Parents left for Italy. finally. :)

11. Hired my brother to work in the business. he’ll do great.

10. Grandmother has back surgery. she’s a trooper.

9. Great birthday dinner. love the fam.

8. Got recognized for 40 under 40 in the Pest Control Industry. surprising.

7. Had a tooth filled. not too bad.

6. Didn’t get pregnant. okay.

5. Learned that Colleen Barrett is going to speak at Cable. Cool.

4. Asked to read at a dear friend’s wedding. very cool.

3. Reading A New Earth. no strong opinion.

2. Made the final payment for our vacation. more fun with family.

1. Started blogging again. for now.

So that’s what has been going on…  not too terribly exciting. not too boring. just me.

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