Let's Have A Party! Blue Gypsy Bluesfest

I don't know if it's a mid life crisis or what, but the day before my 40th birthday (March 24th) I decided to give myself 6 months to throw the greatest real estate party Hampton Roads has ever seen!

Put September 25th on your calendars folks. (Even if you aren't in the real estate industry this party is going to be a lot of fun and you are welcome to attend!)

No it's not going to have real estate awards, it's not going to have a fancy meal, but it's going to be something that no other real estate networking event has ever thought of....it's going to be a Blues Festival! And it's going to be a family day. How often do real estate agents, affiliates and builders get to enjoy a Saturday off with the family? This will be one you won't want to miss.

I know folks, we've been singing the Real Estate Blues across the country for the last couple of years now. But you know what? Our market in Hampton Roads really isn't as bad as the really bad markets around the country. Let's celebrate it! Let's embrace it!

Yes I'm putting together a big blow out party.
Blue Gypsy Bluesfest.

This will be a truly fun family day for real estate professionals, affiliates and builders. We're going to bring in local Blues talent with the help of Natchel Blues Network, a local non-profit preserving the Blues in Hampton Roads for 25 years.

And the best part is a portion of the proceeds will go to two great local charities, Habitat for Humanity and the Natchel Blues Network.

Mark your calendars for the 25th of September and stay tuned for more information as the event takes shape!

If you'd like to find out more about sponsoring the event, getting your name out there and your business attached to the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest while supporting 2 great local charities, please contact me through my website. (See the contact button up there?) You'll get 4 months of publicity in conjunction with the event.

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No More Mad Dashes: And That's No Bull

No more mad dashes to the office.

Well, my office is only upstairs, but whenever I heard the phone ring I was off and running. Nothing like answering the phone breathlessly, "May I help you." Unless of course your business is an adult chat line. But mine's not.

When I started up Blue Gypsy Inc, I knew one of the important aspects was to be able to answer the phone with the name of the builder or business I was representing. I did my research and found that 8x8 a voice over IP system was just what I needed. I was looking for several key feature:
  • I wanted to be able to create a separate voice mail for each line or business
  • I wanted to be able to forward the phone numbers to my cell
  • When forwarded I wanted to be able to see which business was being called
  • I wanted to be sure it did not go to my cell phone voice mail if I missed the call
  • I wanted to have the ability to add lines as I get more clients
  • I didn't want it to break the bank!
And that's what I found! 8x8 does all that and more. And each time I add a virtual line it doesn't cost me much and I have the ability to call all over the United States, the Caribbean, some parts of Europe and so much more at a flat monthly rate. (Far less than my cell phone costs and less than most land lines)

But I think the very best part about it's amazing customer service. If you read my blog at all you probably know two things about me, I'm not very technically savvy....but I'm trying to get better. And, my belief that customer service is the cornerstone of any great business. Well, I'm convinced, after spending about 2 hours on the phone with Hugo yesterday to get everything set up precisely how I need it in order to be able to run my business from ANYWHERE, that I chose the right company to handle the telephone side of my business. If not for the fact that they all have a sense of humor, personality and empathy when they deal with me and my problems.

This phone system is one of the tools that makes my new business much more user friendly and streamlined. And with the added bonus of easy forwarding I don't have to make a mad dash every time I hear the phone ring.

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Down To The Wire: Ready To Launch - Geekette's Club March 24

It's coming down to the wire! This time next week, we will be doing the final clean and moving to our new location in Northern Virginia. Hard to believe but so glad we live in such a mobile society.

When creating Blue Gypsy Inc, my goal was to set up a business that could be done from anywhere. Just the nature of Lead Management lends itself to our mobile society. I don't need to be in one place to answer questions and set appointments, and as long as I have a solid system and adhere to that system the business succeeds.

But the truth of the matter is I couldn't have gotten Blue Gypsy Inc off the ground without encouragement. I had the skills, the knowledge and the motivation, but by adding in encouragement, that was the catalyst to help move me forward into a new phase of life. From employee to business owner.

There are different levels of encouragement. There is the encouragement you get from your family, from your peers, and from your mentors. While there are many who fall into those categories for me, there is one person that stands out right now as she gets her own baby off the ground. My friend Sonya Schweitzer. Sonya helped push me out of my comfort zone to take a risk and start my own business.

Right now Sonya is embarking on an incredible business of her own called the Geekette's Club. The Geekette's Club is all about empowering women in technology and business.

It's not only for business owners but for any woman who feels intimidated by technology, has a thirst for learning, and desires to grow in an atmosphere of support. This club will be a dynamic membership club that will offer educational programs, book clubs, networking events and so much more and it is targeted toward the non-judgmental growth of women.

Come on ladies, you know there's a stereo type that women can't work together, that women are catty behind each others backs and that women have a hard time watching other women advance in their field. But this club is about debunking that myth. I have had many influential and supportive women in my life to help move me along in my personal and professional development in every chosen field I've tackled from bartending, to sailing and diving, in real estate, and now toward owning and operating my own business.

The support of these powerful and caring women have meant a lot to me, and that's why I'm so passionate about what the Geekette's Club will bring to women in the Hampton Roads Area. (And further afield as it continues to grow)

So as my days grow short in Hampton Roads and this Blue Gypsy is about to move yet again, please join me at Aloft Hotel on March 24th for the launch of this new business, the Geekette's Club. I'd love to say goodbye and encourage you to go for those goals and join an amazing group of supportive women to help move you along your journey.

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Goals: You Can't Set It And Forget It!

Goal setting is something I used to teach teenagers on sailboats in the summertime. Goals are important and more importantly they need to be attainable.

Most of the time it's about incremental changes to reach your goals, and it's about focusing on mini goals that help you reach the final target. It is so easy to make excuses on why we can't achieve our goals but really at the end of the day...they are excuses. I've been making excuses lately about why I can't stay on my diet and exercise plan.

"Just started Blue Gypsy, Inc. I don't have time to work out." "We're moving soon, my whole routine is thrown off." "My clients come first." "The day just got away from me." "It's genetic, both my parents are big." "I used to lead a more active lifestyle when I worked on boats." "I'm getting older, my metabolism is slowing down." Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?

The thing is, here we are mid-March and I've abandoned my goals of 5 pounds a month because I've made these excuses to myself and put everything else before my health. But, I'll do better work for my clients, and have more clarity with my business, if, first, I take care of myself.

The other thing I know about myself is that I eat healthier when I write down everything I'm eating. Then I'm less likely to put needless junk in my mouth because I'm much more accountable to the list. "But I don't have time to write everything down..." Another excuse.

Lastly, I have a shelf full of great books on both my industry, New Home Sales, and my interests, Social Media and yet they never get more than a glance. "I don't have enough time to read a book." Sound familiar?

So I've employed my skills of multi-tasking and a few great tools to help me put the excuses on the shelf and get down to some personal business. I have a treadmill. I thought I had to run on it. Everyone says run if you want to lose weight. But you know what, I HATE running. But it elevates up to 40 degrees. I was in the best shape of my whole life after hiking in Nepal. So I set the treadmill on a slow steady uphill pace and walk...for an hour...and read a book...for an hour....and burn 500 calories.

It's tough, I'm sweating, I'm reading, and I'm burning, but best of all I feel that much better afterward and can focus for the rest of the day. And because of my new iphone I have an ap now (thanks to a friend who was telling me I was making excuses) called Lose It! Where I can log all the food I eat and the exercise I do and it calculates the calories I need to burn in order to lose the weight I want at the rate I want to "Lose it!"

Goals are important, and if you can achieve your work goals but not your personal goals then you aren't balancing your life. I find that I'm a workaholic and focus on those work goals no problem, but when it comes to myself, I fall short. The secret is balancing both of those things for a happy life.

With goals, you can't just set it and forget it! Have you let anything slip since your New Years resolutions? Okay I'm off to grab a book and climb a mountain.

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Cool Tools: Here's A Present...I Mean A Prezi

I'm on a cool tools kick. I've already shown you my experiment with Eyejot.com. Not time consuming, but painful....I hate seeing myself on video. I have ever since I was a kid and my dad filmed an Indian Princesses meeting. But that's a whole other therapy session.

Now here's a little presentation tool called Prezi. Last week I was saying I needed to put together a PowerPoint presentation and my super smart, geek boyfriend sent me a link (from just next to me on the couch) to this dizzying technology.

Rather than a stale old linear approach to presentation, Prezi lends itself to creative thinking and it's very "outside of the box." It's great for people like me who get distracted by shiny objects. With Prezi, it's like saying, "over here, now over there, wait wait wait HERE." as you zoom from idea to idea...rather than flip from slide to slide.

Here take a look for yourself! I put together a quick (Okay not so quick it probably took me a whole day...but I was having fun with it!) Social Media presentation for New Homes Site Agents. Trying to get them to fit a little social media into their busy day.

(This works best if you hit full screen view and you can manually step through it. If you use automatic and you want to step up the speed you can.)

What did you think?

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Video email: Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way

Here goes nothin'! If you are like me, you HATE seeing yourself on video...That's why I've been resisting, kicking and screaming, getting into this whole video email craze...

I just keep acting like an ostrich, burying my head and hoping technology will go away. But I realize, I either have to keep up or get out of the way. So here's my "first" attempt playing around with a great tool called Eyejot. You can check it out at Eyejot.com

I definitely solute Mike Lyon for pushing me into the future when it comes to this video email stuff. Are you going to try it? Come on! I never thought I would, but it's really not that painful.

What new technologies do you plan to embrace this year? Will it be for fun, to forward your business or both?

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