|How You Should Use Google+ for Your Business
Chris Brogan is the author of the new book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything.
As a Google+ skeptic (heck, I’m skeptical of all new social media) I was interested to learn more, so I sat down and watched this video where Michael Stelzner of Socialmediaexaminer.com interviewed Brogan about how Google+ can help small businesses.
As a freelancer, you are running a small business—a very small business that probably includes just you. And you should think of yourself as a small business when it comes to representing yourself both online and in the real world. If you are thinking about creating a page on Google+, you might want to watch the video for yourself (or check out Chris Brogan’s book)—here are some snippets and take-aways from Brogan’s interview:
I haven’t joined Google+ for a very simple reason—I don’t have time right now. Creating a new social media circle takes time and a lot of effort. I’m not going to start something new if I don’t have the time to cultivate it. It’s sort of like having a blog that you never update—it just makes you look bad. I already use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and, for me, I’m OK with it. Find what is right for you and go for it. Do some research into Google+ and see if it makes sense for you before you jump in head first.
The good thing about Google+ that I learned is that your information is indexed by Google—the number one search engine in the world. Brogan points out that this happens quickly, faster than your own website. Brogan says that Google+ answers the question, “How do I keep giving away for free as much as I can to show my value to my colleagues who refer me.” Google+ works for him because he has built a vast network. If you don’t take the time to build your network and circles in Google+, who is going to hear you? If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it….yadda, yadda, you get the picture.
Brogan is a proponent of sharing personal stuff on Google+. He says that the more you share personally the more people can connect with you. An example he offers: He recently bought a juicer and has been juicing and talking about it on Google+. He Met head of marketing at a huge hotel chain who saw his juicing stuff on Google+ and was interested in talking to him more about juicing. Then she asked him a business question. It’s another way to connect to people.
By sharing personal information on Google+, Brogan argues, people get a sense of the kind of person you are and the kind of person you are not. And they can discern if you are the kind of person they would like to work with.
So, should small businesses (aka: freelancers) get personal on Google+?
Brogan suggests the balance should be one-quarter personal and three-quarters about your business. You don’t want to be a machine, but you want to be efficient in what you do on Google+.
Brogan also suggests you take the time to really use your circles (groups of people you have decided to pay attention to). You can set up different circles to discuss different aspects of your business. For example, you can set up a circle where you discuss marketing, or generating leads, or web design. “The more you can isolate, segregate, and understand how you want to group things,” Brogan says, “you can use [circles] in a very smart way that allows you to not overflood things.”
That way, people who only want to discuss the merits of massage therapy don’t have to listen to you pontificate about proper grammar.
The downside of Google+? “It’s not that great yet at saying ‘this is what’s happening immediately.’ I use Twitter for the now, for real time,” Brogan says. So even though the most powerful search engine in the world has it’s own social media arm, it is not all things to everyone—yet.
There’s another book circulating about Google+ for business from HubSpot called How to use Google+ for Business. You can download it for free here.
We’d love to hear your feedback on either Chris Brogan’s book or the eBook from HubSpot. Are they useful? What did you learn?
|Top 10 Free Time Tracking Apps for Freelancers
Usually two words “freelancer” and “time” go together. Freelancers can’t juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and that’s why we need to allocate time carefully. Time is an essential source of freelancer financial success.
There are lots of web apps that help track time and create reports. If you use one of the tools on a daily basis, you can turn your work into a structured schedule, get more spare time for fun, and improve your productivity. Here’s is an overview of 10 top free apps for time management for freelancers.
Google Calendar is a free universal tool to track your time, appointments and organize your freelance tasks. Google app may serve as a calendar or a to-do list. Besides, it’s easy to export Google calendar data to lots of project management solutions and thus, you can always keep an eye on your schedule.
OfficeTime is an elegant cross platform time tracking application. You can track your activity on your computer and iPad. OfficeTime contains advanced time management features: dashboard, spreadsheets data import and stat reports. Besides, the app has built-in invoicing options. So it enables you to start your freelance project, assign a rate per hour and generate the final invoice.
TimePanther claims to be a time tracker for freelancers. The app includes time management options that help set tasks, divide them between your projects and calculate your revenue. TimePanther allows you to sync all freelance tasks without any mess within clients.
Cube Anywhere is a nice time tracker for any device. Freelancers are famous for mobility; that’s why our time tracker must be a cross-platform product. Add your tasks, create a schedule and manage your earnings per hour. Cube has an easy sign-up from. You can quickly create an account with your Google ID.
Clockodo is an easy time tracking suite. It lets you manage tasks, track time and view reports. The stylish web app represents all information in a simple to comprehend way and turns time management into a real pleasure.
Klok is a cross platform time management program that work on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android OS. You can analyze your time consumption and share your calendar with freelance colleagues. Moreover, you can transfer data smoothly between Basecamp, Harvest or Fresh Books.
Paymo is a freelancer business center. The app has lots of handy features inside: time tracking, billing and invoicing, project management tools. It’s up to you to select the options you need. For example, you can count hours and create reports for your clients.
Chrometa has an exceptional approach to time tracking. It automates time tracking. Install a tiny app on your computer and it will record your software usage. Examine your daily reports and see how much time you spend on web surfing, Skype, Photoshop or coding. Thus, Chrometa lets you revalue your time and boost your freelancing productivity.
30Boxes is a web calendar. Fill it with important tasks and alerts. Plus, place your personal reminders and track all key events in one place. This way 30 Boxes lets you balance your freelancing life efficiently.
As you see the list contains only 9 apps for freelancers to track time. The last but not the least can be a default timer app, your favorite spreadsheet program, or your watch. Let us know which time tracker you prefer that deserves to be on this list!
|Freelance Freedom #243: Freelance Adventurer Part 4
Once a week, we feature a fantastic freelance-themed comic from the talented N.C. Winters. Why not also take a look at our comic archive?