Cutting Down On Random Facebook Friends

I know I've done similar posts before. But in this I'm including some tools for you. Please feel free to use.

I know for some facebook is the wild wild west full of people willing to take their chances to accept anyone that will ask to be their friend because they use it for "networking."

Nothing wrong with that shot gun approach if you choose to use facebook in that way.

But I guess I'm more picky with my friends, and the time I spend weeding through stuff on facebook. I'm starting to eliminate people who just don't fit with my values, and who are complete strangers to me. After all 200-300 quality friends on facebook are much more important than 700-1200 people who are meaningless.

Questions I have to ask myself. Am I really interacting with all of them? Is it the best use of my time?

Here are a few great questions to ask yourself about your facebook presence:

  1. Am I here to meet people for business networking? If the answer is yes then you may want to define what exactly that entails. People in your field and related fields, people who can be potential clients, and people who can give you referrals. But how do you know that people who are requesting your friendship fall into any of these categories? Perhaps they are just requesting your friendship to push out their message. They don't really care about who you are and what you do...because you could be one of those people who can give them referrals.
  2. Am I here to socialize with old friends and family? Well if the answer to this one is yes, you must ask yourself do you want your business associates to see what kinds of things you'd be sharing with friends and family? That information could be of a much more private nature and not something for public or business consumption. If that's the case you will be constantly monitoring your image if you have business friends and networking opportunities on your account yet you are using it freely to talk with friend and family about deeper more personal information.
  3. Am I here to play games? If facebook is an outlet for you to veg out and take breaks from other things in the form of games you'll probably only want to find others who are interested in gaming. That or at least ask them when you friend them if they are interested in gaming and if they say no, do not send those people endless gaming requests...just common sense there I think.
Okay so now you've decided how you want to use facebook, and you get a random friend request. If you've decided you'll accept every friend request under the sun so you look influential and have a huge base to push out your message to, then fine your all set. Hit accept.

But if you are like me and fed up with the treadmill of random people you care nothing about and who have no interest in you as a person, here's a form email you can feel free to copy and send to anyone that requests your friendship who you don't know.

Dear (insert name here)

I don't think we know each other and I'm trying to cut down on accepting random friend requests. Please let me know why you are requesting my friendship.

Have we met at a networking event? If so I apologize for not remembering. Do we have something in common that you'd like to talk about? Are you interested in some of the organizations I'm involved in? I'd love to know more about you.

Thank you so much for understanding.

I highly recommend when you request someone's friendship and you think that they might not know you, to take a moment to put a little bit of an introduction into that friend request. After all you wouldn't walk up to a stranger on the street and say hey, you want to be my friend? : )

Just a suggestion.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you.


Your name here

I think this is a good way to test the water with people. if they reply, then great they are actually putting some thought into why they are requesting your friendship, and if they don't, is that someone you really want on your list anyway?

Just some ways to cut down on Random Facebook Friend requests, if that is something that is starting to become an issue for you.

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What Is Your Time Worth?

When is it time to hire help? It's hard as a small business owner to make the decision to "cut into your earnings" to hire help. But that's just what you may need to do in order to increase your revenue.

It's a huge leap of faith, but if you are organized and know what you need and what you want it can be well worth the expense to hire help.

It can help you go after new business and not worry about the little things. Sure many of us can't take on a full time employee and pay benefits and so on. But there are so many options out there from temp services to virtual assistants, to outsourcing. See my last post on outsourcing. All of these are short term solutions to help you grow your business, and not go insane while trying to do it.

I just saw a tweet at 9:30 am from the same person who was going nuts trying to figure out something on their Wordpress blog at 10:30 pm last night. How many hours has she sunk into her frustration with trying to get a certain function to work?

Wordpress is great. I love all the options and I recommend it to clients who want an inexpensive solution to creating an interactive presence online. And while I know "Just enough to make me dangerous" I realize I know far more than the average bear. So I do help people with this service. I put out the disclaimers that I'm not an expert, I'm not a designer, but I can put what you want into the site if you are explicit on your needs. And I can do it for a budget that won't break your bank.

But when the time I put into it starts to exceed the amount I am making from it, that's when I have to decide, is it worth while to put in that time, or is it a function that I can outsource to share the load? This is when I cut my losses.

If I know something is going to take me 15 hours to do, and I have someone that can help me with that in a couple of hours, it may be better for me to pay them for the 2 hours, and take back my 15 hours for other tasks.

This is just smart business.

If your time is worth $50 an hour, and you can pay someone $10 an hour to get something done or even $35 an hour. (And they really do the work and don't just wallow on your clock) Then you are gaining so much productivity!

Yes your overall profit is smaller, but you will deliver a quality product more quickly to your client, you will gain recommendations, and you still have control over the finished product. And while the work is being done, you are pursuing new business, or providing top quality service in a more specialized expertise to your existing clients. It's a win win all the way around.

Some questions to ask yourself when trying to decide if you need help, and what kind of help:
  • Where do you need help with your time?
  • What projects could you give to someone else who will do as good or better a job than you?
  • What are the ideal skill sets you would need in an assistant?
  • Have you priced your work in such a way to afford help?
  • Have I created a process that someone else could follow? (if not, how easy would it be to do so and would this help you get more organized)
  • How many hours a week/month do you think you could keep someone else busy?
  • How much supervision do you have time to provide?
  • What could you do if you took back X number of hours from a certain type of work?
  • Where avenues do you plan to investigate to find help?
The nice thing is there are options out there that can help you only with the skills you need and the time you need to use. This cuts down on having employees who have little to do or need lots of training. Until you get to the point where you can consistently keep a full time employee busy there are some great ways to get the help that you need, and nothing more.

As your business begins to grow you need to start evaluating your time and make sure you are using it to the best of your abilities. I used to laugh at that saying, time is money....but it really is!

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Outsourced: Not the Show

Blue Gypsy Inc has grown so much in it's one year of existence. This is a wonderful thing! This time last year I sent my first proposal out into the world and was busy getting my company name Blue Gypsy, incorporated.

Now I have several happy clients who keep me very busy. I'm not complaining! In this economy it's so nice to be needed and wanted, and actually lead management should be the business of the future. All businesses should be focusing on how they are going to engage and retain a clientele and provide excellent customer service while meeting their needs. That's what I do, take care of my clients' clients.

However in order to continue to give the top notch service my clients expect, I need to be more organized. I need to prioritize. And in some cases I need to replicate myself.

I don't have the resources to hire a full time, or even a part time employee. I don't have enough work to make it worth someone's while. I can't pay enough money for someone who possesses potentially 5 different skill sets. And I don't have time to train someone.

But I do need someone who can do the repetitive work I do, such as sending out template emails, transferring leads to data bases, looking into my computer files and organizing them, setting up leads on campaigns, and even researching certain topics and companies that may be of benefit to my clients. Later on I may need someone who can help with copy writing and more creative stuff, but on a very limited basis. As my business continues to grow I might need someone who can set up new accounts, and get them started, learn their data bases etc.

The problem is, it's hard enough for me to do it all myself, much less to ask someone else to have all the same skill sets, and explain, oh, I don't know how often I'll need you, what kind of thing I need you to do, I won't have time to train you, and I can't pay you much. That just wouldn't fly with most people looking for a job.

However my situation is a perfect experiment for Outsourcing.

Yes you hear people complain that all the jobs are being outsourced to India. Some say it's not fair, some people blame the collapse of the economy due in part to outsourcing. I agree to the point that when large corporations outsource 100's if not 1000's of jobs overseas because the guys at the top make huge bank, and the stock holders want to see huge profits, this is a sad situation for middle America who depended on those jobs to live.

But for small little one woman businesses like me, this is a great opportunity to get the help I need to grow my business to the point where I may be able to actually hire an employee, but for now, I can get someone who works fast, and can do the things I need for an affordable rate that works well for my small start up company.

I did some research online and came up with a company called Talent Gurus. They have a lot of different expertise, and I wanted to know more. So I filled out their online information sheet, and less then a half hour I got an email from Heidi. She was very nice on email and set up a phone call. When she called me and I gave her all the criteria I was looking for, she explained (in a very easy to understand accent...please get rid of the stereo type that you can't understand people from India) that what I would really be getting was several people with different focused skills to do the things I needed to have done.

When I asked about hours for training since there were a number of different database programs I worked with, she explained that I didn't have to provide the time nor did I need to pay for the training.

I can purchase as many or as few hours as possible, and if I don't use all those hours in a month, they will roll over to the next month.

I can split the hours up any way I like and I can get time progress reports to see how long it takes to do a certain task assigned. The more Heidi talked the more excited I became, because this was exactly what I needed to take some of the stress off. I dreaded some of the routine things that needed to be done in order to maintain my leads, because with more and more clients, I needed to be on the phone more and more. There were just not enough hours in the day. And as my time becomes more valuable, I have to find ways to replicate myself.

So I signed on, for my 20 hour experiment. Heidi called me back and introduced me to Nancy. She is my executive assistant, she can take care of data entry, organization, and more! I created a detailed step by step set of instructions for transferring leads from my email, into my database and assigning them to a task, campaign or follow up plan. Then she filed them all away, and I can't tell you how nice it was to slowly see the back log leave my in box and go where it was meant to be.

I thought this task might take her 5 hours. It was so exciting to see that she did it in 3 hours and it was very accurate and well executed.

Sure there were minor glitches, but hey it's her first day in my data base. I didn't have to pay to train her, she simply took my instructions, learned the database and only charged me for the time she put in on the work. She tripled my productivity and what I paid for 3 hours was what less than one hour of my time is worth. (And I calculated had I done that work, it normally would have taken me a couple hours more because of all the interruptions with other things I have to do) She was focused and quick.

One key though, that I read during my research of outsourcing and that I think is a key element that helped Nancy get up to speed quickly is that you need to clearly define the parameters that you want for the work. It's like creating a mini business plan, the clearer you are in your direction the more accurate the end result will be. I tried to look at every detail in the rote process that I do every day, so that I could break it down and make it as easy as possible. Not because Nancy isn't smart, I'm sure she is, but being halfway around the world, she isn't going to easily read my mind. I need to be clear with my goals for the day.

For instance she said, "I'll make you a spread sheet of all the people...." I stopped her before she could finish. Nope nope nope, no spread sheets, that's what the database is for. Know what you want, and know what you don't want. A spread sheet could have easily added unnecessary time and busy work to her day.

I feel like this experiment may turn into a permanent solution. At least until I can generate enough work to justify hiring someone full time.

But for now, outsourcing is helping to alleviate some of my stress and make me more productive.

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Thousand Crane Project: Touching The World Through Ripple Effect

Have you ever heard about the Legend of 1000 origami paper cranes? Ancient Japanese folklore promises to grant a single wish to anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes.

Well yesterday I came across the fan page, Thousand Paper Crane Project. Rich Greenhagen, a resident of Virginia Beach, has a unique goal.

He's folding 1000 paper cranes to spread love around the world.

It started out as a poem, then became a story and then transformed into a love letter. Rich's goal is to write a 1000 word love letter and send one word at a time out around the world, each on a single unique paper crane. The letter is already complete.

Now the hard part: he needs to get the words out into the world. Preferably around the world before February 14th.

He only asks that the stranger requesting a crane give their address to post the crane, and then when they receive it, take a picture of the word (folded inside the crane) so that when all 1000 cranes go out he will have a photograph of every word and will then finally reveal the love letter.

Now apparently he does have a wish in mind, but rather than this being a totally selfish act, he is sharing his journey with the world if they will jump on board and fly with the cranes.

Even if ultimately he envisions his wish being granted, already a ripple effect is happening.

Recently Rich got word from a friend that for each paper crane sent his friend will donate 10 cents to Child's Play Charity and Rich has decided to match this donation as well. Child's Play, started in 2003, consists of gamers around the world who have banded together to donate more than 7 million dollars worldwide to sick children in over 70 partner hospitals around the globe.

It's simple to help and it's an effortless way for you to start your new year helping others:
  1. Fan the page Thousand Paper Crane Project (Just so you can keep track of Rich's progress)
  2. Send your mailing information to Rich at and let him know if you'd like 1, 2, or 3 cranes. He will not use your mailing information for anything other than sending out the cranes
  3. When you get your crane, take a picture of the word with a camera phone (or low resolution camera to keep the files small) and email it back to Rich at the same email address,
  4. Follow his blog on Tumblr to see the words uploaded in order to reveal the love letter.
Help Rich meet his goal, and create something bigger than a simple wish. Something that with my predictions will grow with the potential to reach out like the ripples that reach out when a rock is cast in a pond.

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