Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Tame Those Pesky Details – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

TTPD – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

Cha-ching!

Ah, the joy of waking in the morning to discover that money was deposited into your account while you were off in dream land.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape. March is the month for Passive Income, the ability to make money while you sleep. As the Internet pervades our lives more each year, options for passive income become more readily available. Of course, it’s not as easy as waving a magic wand; there is much prep work to be done, but once you’ve put in the effort, you can reap financial rewards for some time to come.

I think it’s the ultimate goal of many online entrepreneurs to be able to work as few hours as possible while making as much money as they can. That’s not the only goal, mind you, but by creating a steady online income, you can do anything from quit your full-time job to plan extravagant vacations or donate to your favorite charity. Even if you have some other source of income that you’re content with, earning extra money online is still a good thing. It’s always great to have multiple streams of income.

So, where do you begin? Here are four options to help you build your bank account in your sleep.

  1. Affiliate links. Everyone has them. Why not you? If you reference any products in your blog posts, YouTube videos or elsewhere, it’s easy to direct people to the item you’re referring to by including an affiliate link. Your commission will vary depending on the agreement the company offers. Be sure to disclose your use of affiliate links, and check for broken links on your site on a regular basis. Broken links result in lost commission and can even impact your search engine ranking.
  2. Books. As a writer, this is one of my favorite ways to find money in my account! With POD (print on demand) and ebooks, there’s no inventory or shipping required. If you have a shop on your site, you can even include the books there, avoiding sharing the commission. Choose a topic – or three – that relate to your business and pound away on the keyboard. Of course, the book will need to be well-written and properly priced, but there are many ways to build a lasting income through the written word.
  3. Classes on demand. If you have an area of expertise, or if you can produce training classes that show how to use your products, then online classes might be a good option for you. You might need some technical guidance to put this all together, but once you’ve mastered the process, you can create one or two new classes each year to build your offerings. I’ve seen classes for free (particularly when purchasing a product) or for a wide variety of prices, from $19 to several hundred dollars.
  4. Online shop. Can you create digital downloads that complement your blog content, books or classes? Post them in your online shop. People are online 24/7 and a digital download is readily accessible with an easy shopping cart. It might even be the way to find customers for your other products – a digital download could lead to a book or class sale. Be sure to have a secure checkout and capture the buyer’s info to build your email list. One thing leads to another…

Don’t feel you have to do everything at once. Choose one method of passive income, make sure it works properly, then add another to the mix. Evaluate your income streams on an annual basis. If it requires too much work to maintain for too little return, consider dropping the stream or item and add or enhance another. Things are constantly changing on the Internet, so what works this year might be passé the next.

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

What are your favorite sources of passive income? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Tame Those Pesky Details – February – How well can your business run without you?

TTPD – February – How well can your business run without you?

If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, chances are you’re focused on growing your business. Or, at the very least, maintaining a smooth operation. A good mindset to have, but what happens when – Heaven forbid – something unexpected occurs and you’re unable to helm the day-to-day activities of your company?

If you were part of a large organization, there would be multiple people at the ready to take over in your absence. But, if you’re a one-person show, it’s very possible that no one else has a complete understanding of how your business is run. Every business has so many different facets that it’s more than just leaving passwords, mission statements and banking information for your temporary CEO; contracts, trademarks and even fonts and colors of your logo are all crucial information.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape, February is Legalities and it covers a wide-range of issues. Having a way to provide a temporary – or even permanent – means of understanding and operating your business will bring peace of mind.

I’ve been busy updating a lot of personal and business items lately, and although I have binders and electronic and paper files filled with the proper data, I realized that it would take a concerted effort for someone to step into my shoes should that unexpected need arise. I also discovered that I was missing some crucial information because my business has been operating for so long and I’ve moved so many times, some things have gotten misplaced.

I also think in terms of emergency preparedness. I keep hearing stories of people who had to leave their homes with moments’ notice and left behind some key business info because they were unprepared and were worried about saving their lives, which, of course, is most important.

In addition, I’m looking forward to expanding my business in the foreseeable future. Parts of this data collection can easily be organized into an employee reference manual. A little extra work up front will pay big dividends down the line. Again, this is all normal in a larger organization, but smaller businesses might not view this as a high priority. I’m all about having a solid foundation to build upon so this data collection and coordination will benefit me greatly as I move forward. Having all my info at the ready will save me time and frustration and enable me to easily update any changes. Whew!

While you’re organizing your business, think about vendors or employees who perform key tasks that you personally don’t know how to do, for example, adding/deleting items from your online store. This may seem like a small item but your inability to make these simple changes can have an impact. That employee or vendor can disappear on a moment’s notice and your ability to run your business smoothly will be hampered until you either learn how to do it or find someone new to work with.

Aside from determining the safest place to keep this info, my next decision is whom to share it with. And, I’m even thinking about a permanent succession plan for down the road. If there’s someone in my family I’d like to groom to take over the business, one can never start the process too early!

It will take a couple of months to pull this all together, I suspect, but once I’ve completed it, I’ll post a free checklist in my store. I might even do another blog post with more details. So, keep your eyes on all my social media so you can access the information as soon as possible.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

How do you organize your business data? Do you have a plan for someone to take over in case of emergency? Have you ever experienced the need to have someone step in your shoes? I’d love to hear all about it. Please leave details in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Writing Life – February 2017

My Writing Life – February 2017

So many people ask me what it’s like to be a writer and, honestly, the journey is different for everyone. A writer, like any other business owner, has to balance both business and personal expectations while feeding that all-important muse! So, I’ve decided at least for this year, I will aim to provide monthly updates to give you more insight into my business.

Everyone’s situation is different and, as I take care of my Mom full time, I never know what the day will bring when the sun comes up. Some months are extremely productive business-wise, while others I hardly achieve a thing. Still, as long as I continue to move forward, I’m happy.

Sometime over the last year or so, I saw a band’s website where they listed their top 100 goals to success and identified key milestones along the way, sharing their celebrations of each. I love that idea, but I have more than 100 goals on that list so I’ll just take it a little at a time. I’ll let you know when I’m celebrating a milestone!

Without further ado, here is my recap for February 2017.

Business

Social media. My goal this year is to blog three times a week, along with Instagram posts as I see fit and hopefully YouTube somewhere down the road. In February, I was only able to blog twice the entire month! Mom needed a lot of attention and there just wasn’t the time to focus on my blog. I’ll try to up the numbers in March, but Mom still needs a lot of help. I also want to get to the point where I have a backlog of unpublished posts so I can maintain consistency when my time is limited.

Books. I finally sent Destiny Drop off to the printer. Yay!!! I’ve ordered copies and will post on Instagram when they arrive. I made some edits to the print book, so now we’re tweaking the ebook so the two match. I hope to complete that within the week. I also sent the sequel, Destiny Dollars, off for print layout. It’s a longer book which will require even more reading to double check everything. It’s a brand-new book, never before released, so we’re starting with a clean slate. I expect it will be available late March or early April, followed by the ebook release. Stay tuned!

Online Image. I’m still aiming to at least start this in March. I purchased the WordPress template and SSL certificates. I also ordered the print copies of my first novel, so I can begin taking some photos. As I said last month, this will be a time-consuming process.

Writing. My goal is to write somewhere between 1,000-2,000 words each day. I didn’t even come close this month. Mom is my number one priority, so I just take it day by day. My plan was to complete the text of a new novel by the end of March, but we’ll see. It’s about 50 percent done. I have a feeling it will be a tossup between redoing my website versus finishing the book. I’ll update you next month.

Self-Care

Steps. I only hit my step goal 10/28 days in February. Not happy, but I’ll work harder in March.

Sleep. Surprisingly, in spite of the crazy month, I managed to hit my sleep goal of seven hours a night on seven nights! I haven’t done that in a long time. Mom’s schedule changed, so I’ve been able to get more complete sleep at night and I catch a nap whenever possible. I’m not sure what her schedule will be like in March.

Goals for March

I really want to focus on my books and blogging as much as possible. I will aim to average twice a week on my blog, post to Instagram weekly, finalize the Destiny Drop ebook, finalize the Destiny Dollars print book and make some headway on the new novel. If I’m up to it, I will lovingly focus on updating my website and opening my online store. This has been on my mind for a while, but it took me a long time to decide how I wanted things to look. Now I know so I can move forward. I also have operations items that I want to address. Those haven’t gone away! We’ll see how the month goes. Mom is priority number one!

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’!

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Writing Life – January 2017

My Writing Life – January 2017

So many people ask me what it’s like to be a writer and, honestly, the journey is different for everyone. A writer, like any other business owner, has to balance both business and personal expectations while feeding that all-important muse! So, I’ve decided at least for this year, I will aim to provide monthly updates to give you more insight into my business.

Everyone’s situation is different and, as I take care of my Mom full time, I never know what the day will bring when the sun comes up. Some months are extremely productive business-wise, while others I hardly achieve a thing. Still, as long as I continue to move forward, I’m happy.

Sometime over the last year or so, I saw a band’s website where they listed their top 100 goals to success and identified key milestones along the ways, sharing their celebrations of each. I love that idea, but I have more than 100 goals on that list so I’ll just take it a little at a time. I’ll let you know when I’m celebrating a milestone!

Without further ado, here is my recap for January 2017.

Business

Social media. My goal this year is to blog three times a week, along with Instagram posts as I see fit and hopefully YouTube somewhere down the road. In january, I was consistent with blogging twice a week. I’m OK with that for now.

Books. When I released this last batch of books, it seemed the engine was on ebooks. The idea of publishing in print was considered no longer relevant. Since then, the tables have turned and more and more people are telling me that although they do read ebooks, they still enjoy touching the paper. In fact, I have met several folks who refuse to read ebooks. So, I’ve set about getting the layout done on my books for print. My goal was to have four of them completed this month. Well…the first one is done but i’m still doing a final read-through. Every time you make a change in format, it’s important to do a complete read-through lest things get missed.

Online Image. January for me was to be a complete redo of my online image. However, I want to have print copies of my books for photos, so at this rate, it looks like it will be March or so before I’ll be able to do it. I’ve selected the new template for my website and online store, and pretty much know exactly what I want. It will just be a time-consuming process.

Writing. My goal is to write somewhere between 1,000-2,000 words each day. Well, if I add up all the blog posts and notes I’ve written, I’m not too far off. However, if I look simply at credible output on a new book, it was just over a few thousand. With plans to release a new book around the end of March, I’d better get writing!

Self-Care

Steps. This month, I hit or exceeded my step goal 26/31 days. I’m happy!

Sleep. My goal is seven hours a night, but since I take care of my Mom, it works out to be about six hours of broken sleep plus an occasional nap. Still working on this.

Goals for February

As we’re already into the month, I can say that Mom has needed a lot of extra care so far, and will continue for at least a few more weeks. That being said, I plan to get one book to the printer, start the layout on the second, blog an average of twice a week and work on my March book. There are some items regarding operations and my websites that I’d also like to accomplish. We’ll see how the month goes. Mom is priority number one!

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: Fashion vs. Comfort – What to wear to your home office

Fashion versus comfort – What to wear to your home office

Working from home definitely has its advantages, but there are a steady stream of challenges as well. Surprisingly, one issue that crops up time and again is what to wear to your home office!

In general, corporate office attire has become more casual over the decades although some companies still require strict adherence to a formal suit and tie dress code. Casual clothing in the workplace has swung so far away from professional attire that some people opt to up their game in the fashion department because they realize dressing well for work makes them feel better and co-workers give them more respect. Your physical appearance, after all, is the first way people form an opinion of you.

Regardless of how you dressed when you actually left the house for a job, once you work from home you have total control over your wardrobe selections. And, depending on your circumstances, it can vary widely from day to day and may change significantly over time.

I know many people who work from home and their daily fashion habits run the gamut from rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and working in their pajamas to full-on hair, makeup and business casual outfit. The current trend of athleisure wear lies somewhere between pajamas and casual dress, so if you truly get to stay home all day, you can look a bit more together in your hoodie and compression capris. However, at some point you will encounter the outside world. Ask yourself, if you have to open the door for a delivery or run out for coffee, do you want to be known as the lady in the pink pajamas?

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Dress casually. If you have an opportunity to have one or two really casual days of just sitting in your office to work, then enjoy yourself. How casual you go depends on your circumstances. If you live alone, it’s your option. If you’re married or have children, you’ll probably at least need to get dressed lest you encounter negative comments from your spouse or kids.
  2. Dress fashionably. If you are a social media devotee, you’ll probably have to do hair and makeup on a daily basis. If you’re a fashion blogger, I suspect you look forward to it! Also, if you do video webinars or meetings, not only will you need to look good but all the surroundings that appear on screen will need to entice as well.
  3. Dress professionally. If you attend a number of meetings outside of your home, I would suggest dressing professionally unless that’s deemed taboo in your industry. Professional dress shines a positive light on you, and your main purpose for being a business owner is to make money and be successful.
  4. Dress for you. If it makes you feel good to always look your best, it doesn’t matter what others are doing in their home offices, it just matters how you feel.

Your relationship with your personal work environment and wardrobe will likely evolve as you define yourself as a business owner. Whatever makes you feel your good will reflect in your business.

How do you like to dress for your home office?

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home – 3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

No doubt about it, traveling for business it tough! Whenever you can find small items that will make a huge difference in your travel experience, it’s worth it to find the precious space in your luggage to bring them along. Here are three items that will definitely help to ease the travel pain. Links are at the bottom of the post.

  1. Hunter Personal Humidifier. This thing is awesome! The air is always so dry on airplanes and in hotel rooms, this little baby solves that problem. It’s only about four inches high and uses regular tap water in a one liter water bottle. Just flip it upside down and turn it on. It runs quite a few hours on one bottle so you could get a whole night’s sleep before you need to refill. It also works well in an office or dorm room, or even a hospital room. During my mom’s last hospital stay, I put it near her bed and it took all that dry, static air away. I couldn’t believe the difference! This is worth every penny.
  2. Personal air purifier. I’m a big fan of Joy Mangano, so these next two items are from her. This little machine is a workhorse! It not only purifies the room but it also infuses it with one of her Forever Fragrances. Great on the road or at home.
  3. My Little Steamer Go Mini. Joy is the queen of steam! This steamer has great power considering its size. No need to pay the hotel to have your clothing pressed. Just a few minutes with this little machine and you’ll be ready to go. It’s often sold in sets of two, with a larger steamer for home and this one for travel. It takes up about the same amount of space as a hair dryer but can save you a ton of money in pressing charges. As all Joy Mangano products do, it comes in a wide variety of colors.

I purchased all three of these from HSN.com but they are available at a variety of retailers. I’ve included links to Amazon and HSN below for your convenience. Some of these links are affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

What are your favorite travel must-haves? I’ll share more favorites in the future!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Amazon links:
Hunter QLS03-RD Ultrasonic Personal Air Humidifier, Red

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer Go Mini Hand Steamer in White

Joy Mangano Forever Fragrant Odor-Eliminating AirFLO Purifier – Meadow Green by Joy Mangano

HSN Links:
Hunter Personal  Humidifier

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer

Joy Mangano AirFLO Purifier

 

Tame Those Pesky Details – January – It’s Time for a Corporate Image Makeover!

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape, January is the month for Corporate Image. Your goals were set in December; part of achieving them will be to make sure you have the appropriate corporate image for your business.

This month, I’m going to use myself as a prime example. Toward the end of last year, I felt I finally had the vision I had been searching for regarding my online presence. And, I also knew that would require a lot of work!

I immediately looked at my website and all my social media accounts. It was time for a major makeover! My logos had been updated recently, so I was comfortable there, but my overall look didn’t scream ME!

The Internet has become more and more a place of images, so I concentrated on learning to take the right kind of photos. I spent hours scouring sites and bookmarking those whose photos really drew me in. I also took a wonderful online photography course through StrangeCharmed.com. It was extremely helpful to get my mind going in the right direction.

As for my website update, again I spent a ton of time looking at blogs I enjoyed. Usually at the bottom of the home page is a link to the company that designed the theme for the blog. There you can view the multitude of themes that company offers, generally for a reasonable price. I’d already decided I didn’t want to use a free WordPress theme for my update as they wouldn’t have the design elements I knew I needed. There are a surprising number of options available for paid themes.

I still wasn’t totally sure what I wanted my site to look like until one of my favorite blogs updated their site. Wow! I loved it!, It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I at least had an idea. I continued to view company theme offerings until I found a similar one that was a perfect fit.

Once my website is updated, my social media accounts will follow. Will I finish all of this in January? Probably not. I’m currently in the process of getting all my ebooks ready for print and releasing a new novel. I want to have the print books for photos so I’m expecting to wait until I have copies in hand, sometime in February. However, I will purchase the theme and get done whatever I can, including setting up the store which is a whole new element for my site. Some other tweaks will have to wait a few months but those should be secondary.

I’ll do a new blog post once I’ve launched everything. In the meantime, I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

What corporate image challenges do you face online and what are your plans to fix them? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Planning – 3 Business Rules for 2017 and Beyond

Normally, once Saturday Night Live is over, I’m busy doing something. As a night owl, I’m often off the sofa and into my office to work on my lengthy to-do list. But, a few weeks ago, I was a bit tired and didn’t get up before the next program began. And, I’m very glad!

Immediately following SNL, at least in this market (Las Vegas), is Your Move with Andy Stanley. Now, I’d only seen the program a couple of times, but that night’s talk really hit home, with one slight twist. Stanley was addressing viewers to make changes in their personal lives. However, I had my business hat on that day and before he spoke a word, once I saw the bullet points on the screen, I immediately went into entrepreneur mode.

Stanley wanted you to look deep inside you to make the changes necessary to become the person you’re desiring to sit across the table from you, the perfect mate. If viewed from the other’s perspective with your checklist, do you match up? I’d heard this advice before, but my business brain was running a mile a minute on his bullet points. So let’s take a look.

Here are Andy Stanley’s Three Rules:

  1. Get out of debt
  2. Stay out of bed
  3. Clean out your closet

Now, aside from the first one, you may be wondering how the next two apply to business. Let’s take them one by one.

Get out of debt. Some people advise you to leverage, leverage, leverage. When it comes to debt, I’m advising to be debt-free. The less debt you have, the more control you have over your company. As a solopreneur or small business owner, if you don’t owe anyone money, then you have more money to keep the doors of your business open longer. You’ll make wiser decisions because if you’re spending your money and not someone else’s, you are apt to be very cautious when signing on the dotted line. If you’re debt-free with savings in the bank, you have a more solid foundation on which to grow your business.

If you have a type of business that requires a large capital outlay and it will be a few years to get those loans down to zero, at least pay off your personal debt. Your individual credit score might be required in order to secure financing for your business. And, if you’re looking to woo a potential partner, investor or company to acquire your business, the prettier the balance sheet, the better chance you have of finding that perfect one that checks off all the boxes on your list.

Stay out of bed. Here, Stanley was suggesting you not sleep around, and while that’s good advice for the business environment as well, I immediately thought in different terms. If I were to use this bullet, I would say Get out of bed.

So many people start a business not knowing the immense amount of time and effort required just to get it off the ground, let alone maintain. If you’re lying in bed instead of working on your to-do list and reviewing your goals to see where you can move forward, your business is doomed.

You don’t even have to own a business to make sense of this advice. Taking the time to improve your skills, get a better education, network with people in your desired industry, research requirements for the job you want – they all require that you spend some time in the full upright position.

I’m not advocating you never take time off. On the contrary, rest is essential to having the endurance to be a successful business owner. Lazing around and complaining that nothing ever goes your way will have quite the opposite effect.

Clean out your closet. Dealing with past emotional baggage was the point Stanley was making here, and that’s not bad advice for a business owner. However, I took it literally. Clean out your closet. And your basement. And your garage. And any other place that’s cluttered! Clean!

Why clean? First of all, a clean environment is healthy and conducive to inspiring thought. If you only see clutter around you, your brain has a hard time slogging through the mess before it can focus on creativity. If you’re looking at a clean and organized interior landscape, surrounded by things that make you happy, your starting point for work is significantly better.

Some people say they can’t find the money to start their business. Well, it might be sitting in your garage or the back of your hall closet. Clean out and sell items you’re not using. You might fetch a few thousand, or at least a few hundred, which could be enough to get your website going and business cards designed and printed. Accomplishing a whole house cleanout will also boost your confidence to accomplish those sometimes-scary business tasks. Just don’t waste the money you gain. It can dribble in as things may sell one by one and take a period of time for everything to sell. Set the money aside so you have all the dollars ready to work for your new business.

As you can see, the same words can mean different things to different people, depending on your perspective and state of mind at the time. Andy Stanley was working on your spiritual self while I saw the words from a business perspective. Still, good advice whichever side you’re on!

What are your thoughts? Can you relate to any of these three scenarios? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Planning – Your 2017 Motto

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Planning – Your 2017 Motto

January is nearly half over. Do you have your motto selected for the year?

A few years ago, much by accident, I decided I would have a motto for the year, a theme, a focus. I was chatting with a client about a project and he mentioned a discussion he had had with one of his employees. He made a particular comment that immediately struck me as what I wanted to focus on for the following year. I quickly adopted it as my motto.

I tried different ways to remind myself on a daily basis when I decided to list it as a recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar. From then on, every day when I turned on my laptop, a window would pop open and gently urge me to work towards that goal.

A couple years later, somehow I found two mottos to use for the year, one for business and one personal. I liked that combination and I’ve been doing so ever since.

I’m usually not one to share what my annual motto is, but a few months ago while browsing through Etsy, I came across this dashboard from TheFabulousPlanner. I loved it and decided it would be my business motto for 2017.

So, for this entire year, not only will Outlook pop up in the morning with my motto, every time I open my planner I get to enjoy this beautiful reminder of my yearly focus.

I’ve enjoyed having an annual motto more than I ever thought I would. It’s the perfect place to start when you’re planning your goals. If you know at a very high level what you want to achieve 12 months from now, all the goals you set should support that. It streamlines the thought process immensely.

How can you set your motto for the year? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Decide where you’d like to be at the end of the year, and describe it in a few descriptive words.
  2. Select one or two of those words that really resonate with you.
  3. Create your own motto, or find a section of a song lyric or quote from someone you admire that reflects that motto to you in a positive manner. Begin with, “Year of…” as in, “Year of Making it Happen.”
  4. Determine how you want to remind yourself of your motto. You can do as I do, or choose to write it down daily, meditate on it, post it on your wall, make it your screensaver – find what works for you.
  5. Double check your goals to make sure they support your motto.

Some people choose a theme song that reflects their motto. Others phrase it as an affirmation. The whole idea is to create a positive mindset to help you grow, improve and achieve your goals. Remember, each person determines what success mean to them so never compare yourself to others. As long as you continue to move forward, you are learning, growing and achieving.

There you have it! Super simple but so helpful.

Do you have a motto or theme for the year? I’d love to hear!

Enjoy!

Cindi

 

Emergency Preparedness: Backup Your Backup- 3 Tips to Keep Your Data Safe

Backup Your Backup

BACKUP YOUR BACKUP: 3 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE

Greetings Sparklers!

Whether you own a business or keep a lot of personal data on your digital devices, the truth is, it can all be gone in a flash. After my own personal experience with a quickly dying computer about a year ago, I’ve been on my soapbox about reminding people to back up their data. The sad part is, I continue to find people who have never even thought about backing things up. And, once again, I had a weird technical event that reminded me to remind you to backup your backup.

There is nothing more frustrating than investing hours, days, months, years in creating a project and having it all disappear when your computer suddenly does a crash and burn. I had a situation recently where I was working on a document and when I went to save it, the program crashed and restarted but there was no autosave file to recover. I looked everywhere and even contacted a community forum where respondents were very kind but could not offer a solution for file recovery other than the steps I had already taken.

While the loss of a file in that manner is a bit unusual, the most common culprit is not backing up your devices. I feel I cannot remind people often enough. Every time I bring up the subject I meet people who lost some important part of their lives because they didn’t back up their stuff.

In the last few months alone, I’ve heard of someone who lost nearly 10,000 digital photos, an author who lost his entire novel, someone else who lost years of contacts and business data, another who kept everything on a portable drive until the drive died. I could go on, but you get the point.

In the IT world, there’s a belief in redundancy. In the prepper world, the saying is two is one and one is none. Whichever mantra you prefer doesn’t matter, as long as you’re taking the time to REGULARLY back up your digital devices.

Here are three tips to help you to keep your data safe and secure:

  1. Do your research.
    Take the time now to research and decide what is the best backup routine for you – and stick to it! I copy files every night to the cloud, then once a week copy to an external drive. I would recommend at least one external drive and a cloud backup of some sort. If you can do two external drives and keep them in different locations, one offsite, plus the cloud, that’s even better. Of course, it all depends on how much space you need.
  2. Back up all your devices.
    Desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, flash drives, memory cards – copy all of it. Check with your cellular service to see if there is a secondary way to backup your phone. You might also want to download your contacts from your phone on a regular basis…just in case.
  3. Don’t forget about your website.
    Check with your ISP/host company to verify that your entire website is backed up. In my case, the database is backed up but any external items I’ve added, such as images, videos and files are not. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve updated my website and it completely crashed. It hadn’t happened in the previous decade but suddenly it happened twice in a short period of time. If something bad happens to your site, you want to have as little downtime as possible. I use FileZilla to transfer all my files monthly, then back them up to the cloud and on external drive.

Weird things happen when it comes to technology, so always, always, always be sure to backup your backup! I’d love to hear how you keep all your digital data safe. Please share in the comments below.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi