SMS Scheduler is a productivity time saver for me. I wanted to share with you why I use it. No, I am not being paid by the app owner to write this. I am just a fan.
I have four remote working employees. Although we use TeamUp, my staff is busy and this is not a full-time job for them. I have found that by sending scheduled text messages about deadlines on a schedule and reminder notices on a schedule, I keep my remote staff focused on meeting my project deadlines.
I found the app for Android in the Google Play store. I am sure they have a version for iPhone as well. Make sure when you do your installation that you follow the brief but important instructions on how to override a setting so the app will work.
Here are several examples of texts I sent to my staff on specific due dates.
Your social media is in. Please have your loads done by Sunday night.
Make sure you do topics and loads today, as well as WordPress loads.
Please make sure you have updated TeamUp with a new date or mark your things as done.
My staff just finally figured out that I was using an automated messaging service, as I do change the messages. But for me, having reminders scheduled has allowed me to let go of some of the important follow up tasks and spend more time on client projects.
Credit card decline! Those are words that any business owner hates to hear, but it happens to all of us. When you get a credit card decline for your services here are some tips to quickly resolve the problem.
Be Nice – Always
I have found that sometimes a credit card decline is due to a security issue. Maybe the card was lost or compromised and the customer did not remember to advise you. Be open to the fact that it may be a very simple issue to resolve.
I always send a nice positive note with a request for a new card for my services. Typically if you hear back from the client within a day it is typically something that will be quickly resolved.
Deal with the Problems – Quickly
It is the clients that will not return a note or phone call that typically has run into a cash flow issue. For my firm, we stop services when we do not get a response, as the debt can grow quickly and end up as a write off. You have the most leverage to resolve a problem when an issue is handled quickly.
Make sure that if you have a contract that you cover what happens when a client does not pay. I have learned from experience that if you continue services on a payment promise that your write off will typically end up much bigger.
Change Terms – For Problem Payers
In our agreement for services, we spell out what happens when a client has a credit card decline, resolves, it and continues buying. We move clients like this to a prepayment basis or retainer. Some services we provide are not impacted significantly with a delay in payment, but other services are hugely impacted. Know your own needs and cover the situations in your agreement that all clients must sign to start your services.
Is It Worth It?
In some cases when you receive multiple declines, and it is clear that there is a cash flow problem, you must take time to evaluate if you would like to continue to work with a client. Each business situation is different. Just know that trying to collect on a debt is very, very difficult. Suing is not a realistic option and using a debt collector will cost a percentage of the debt and may never be collectible.
We all hate to lose a client, but a poor paying or non-paying client is typically more trouble than it is worth in the long run.
No, you should not host at GoDaddy. Consistent website and email access are too important and hosting at GoDaddy is not practical if you want to be in business 24/7.
Here’s What Happened to Me at GoDaddy
I have my play/test website www.mccordwebservices.com hosted at GoDaddy. My main website is hosted with Hostway and found at http://www.mccordweb.com. I got a notice from WordFence Premium that my website www.mccordwebservices.com was on the domain and email blacklist with Spamhaus.org, McAfee DNSBL, and CBL.Abuseat.org. These are important sites that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use to decide what sites and email to block. So that notification was labelled critical.
That means that if this had happened to be my main business website any email I would have sent out using my email tied to my domain would have been bounced and set as undeliverable. On top of that the reputation of my business would be tarnished from being blacklisted. As I am in the industry having my site compromised or the appearance of being compromised is even worse.
I called GoDaddy immediately upon receipt of the notification. I was told that no my site was not compromised (I knew that as I practice intense security), but that several accounts on my site’s GoDaddy shared server were compromised, hacked, and sending out spam and possibly malware. With additional research on my own, I found out that one of the offending websites in my shared hosting environment with the same IP block was MichaelClayton.org. (Please do not visit this site as you do not want to get malware.)
I asked GoDaddy what they were going to do about quickly resolving this issue. They said they had notified the offending site owner and that the owner needed to do a cleanup. There was no deadline or time frame shared with me.
I asked GoDaddy to move me to a new server and was told by Tech Support on 5/23 at 9:35 am Eastern Time that a move was not possible and that when I signed up for hosting with GoDaddy, I had agreed to their terms of being on a shared server- meaning I could run into this problem again or in the future.
I asked for a change to my IP address and was told I could buy a dedicated IP address for my site for $75 a year. I pointed out that I was not willing to pay for something to solve a technical issue that was GoDaddy’s job to fix and was told sorry that’s the final answer. I had to pay to solve their problem!
I asked to speak to the supervisor and was put on hold for 20 minutes (I clocked this). When the tech came back on the line, he told me all supervisors were busy and that nothing else would be done for me.
As of today, my website IP is no longer blacklisted! It took 7 days for this issue to be resolved and one listing I had to submit a manual request for removal.
As a professional webmaster who has a number of customers hosted at GoDaddy, I was furious with the response that I received.
Please check back on Wednesday for the rest of the story and my recommendations for hosting and what to do if you are hosted at GoDaddy.
TeamUp is an online group calendaring tool that I found and am now using heavily for my 6 person content creation team. My team works remotely. We share files via Google Drive and had tried using a joint Google Calendar, but that just never seemed to have caught on with my team.
So, before I went on vacation I started looking for an easy to use, user-friendly online calendaring app to keep my team on track.
First, I do want to say that I am not being paid by team up or receive any consideration from them, I am simply a user turned advocate.
In fact I am using the free version right now although they do have a premium version and I am carefully scoping it out.
Here’s what I like and why you may want to consider using TeamUp too.
Easy to set up
I was calendaring tasks for my team in less than 10 minutes and the application was intuitive. I did not even have to read the documentation, although they do have nice videos and startup guides.
Each team member has their own color. I can see at a glance who has tasks to do and each team member can click their own color and see only their tasks in the group calendar.
My team has Apple phones and I have an Android one. Whatever I selected to try had to have an app available for iPhone and Android. TeamUp’s app in Android looks prettier. The Apple version looks more like a daily agenda list.
Come back Wednesday January 25th to read the rest of my review.
Have you ever wondered what you were worth when it comes to the value you offer clients? If you are new in the business, you may not have a clear idea of your worth, but if you are a seasoned professional you probably have an idea of what you bring to the table in regards to customers.
Here’s how I’ve found out my own worth:
I’ve chatted with clients when they have not purchased a service. In several cases, I found that my prices were too low and actually scared a customer into feeling that others were more valuable as they charged more.
In one particular case, I actually got the client back when the higher priced resource shot themselves in the foot by not providing attentive customer service. I learned from that situation that sometimes having a low price is not a good thing.
I’ve provided white label services and have seen the markup that is put on my own price and resold without additional value. In this case I found out that I was priced lower than the market and clients were willing to pay more for quality hands on, attentive service.
I watch how busy I am. If I am having trouble staying on schedule as I have too many customers, I know that I may need to review my pricing and consider adjustments or packaging of services together. If on the other hand, you are not busy and just getting established, you may need to drop your price to pick up business.
I think the key is to gauge what is happening in your industry and in your own business. If you have not done a market survey and even blind shopped your own marketplace, now’s the time. It is important to make sure you are not priced too low, but especially not priced too high.