The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss.
How to Manage a Remote Workforce
Liam Martin is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Time Doctor and Staff.com He is also a co-organizer of the world’s largest remote work conference — Running Remote. Liam is an avid proponent of remote work and has been published in Forbes, Inc, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, The Next Web, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat specifically targeting the expansion of remote work. Liam is about empowering workers to work wherever they want, whenever they want. He is also the author of a new book Running Remote. For more information: www.Runningremote.com
SmallBizLady: What did everyone get wrong about remote work during the pandemic?
Liam Martin: We moved from working in the office to working from home, neither of those are remote work. The one thing that remote first companies before the pandemic do that almost nobody else does is recognize that you need to change your management philosophy with remote workers. I call this philosophy asynchronous management and it is completely alien to anyone who has managed in an office before.
SmallBizLady: Should employers give workers a choice in where they work best?
Liam Martin: Remote work is about working wherever you want, whenever you want. Working from the office or working from home are both places, remote work is where you get to take your work with you. So whether that’s in the office, home, coffee shop or on a beach. Do what’s best for you.
SmallBizLady: Where do you think remote work will be as the corporate world is starting to resume business as usual?
Liam Martin: 60% of the work world is going hybrid, I think this is simply a staging room for more workers to decide if they should go remote or go back to the office permanently. To manage remote teams, managers should implement asynchronous management inside of their organizations which boils down to building deliberate communication, democratized processes and detailed metrics.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
What You Need Know About the Book Business
Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan. She is CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association, a vibrant community for writers, and the Nonfiction Writers Conference, a live event conducted entirely online since 2010. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Wired magazine. For more information: https://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/
SmallBizLady: Can people still get traditional book deals?
Stephanie Chandler: Yes, though it’s harder than it used to be and less appealing, in my opinion. Publishers want authors with a platform—meaning a large following. This means you should have a substantial social media following, large email list, podcast audience, or high traffic website. When you show you have an audience, it ensures the publisher the book will sell. The main reason many people want to go with a traditional press is to get bookstore placement, but bookstores aren’t where we’re buying books today. The vast majority of sales are happening online.
SmallBizLady: What are the best options for self-publishing?
Stephanie Chandler: True self-publishing means you establish a publishing company, purchase ISBNs, hire editors, book designers, typesetters, and ebook formatters. There are DIY services that can help you get a book out quickly and inexpensively, but then you risk putting a low-quality book in the world. Publishing a book requires a lot more work than people realize! One of the most popular options today is to hire a hybrid press to handle all the production for you. This means they do all the heavy lifting while you still own the rights to your work. While you pay for the services of a hybrid press, the term “hybrid” means they are selective about the books they publish so you can feel confident your book will be in good company with a reputable organization. This is a key question to ask when looking at providers. Do they vet the books they produce? If they don’t, they’re a vanity press.
SmallBizLady: How early should you start promoting a book before it’s released?
Stephanie Chandler: It’s important to start building an audience long before the book is released and then begin building buzz for the book a few months before release. New authors often wait until the last minute to realize they need a book promotion plan. Ideally, you should create a plan that includes media appearances, outreach with your audience, and other tactics that lead to book sales.
Finding Resources to Support Your Small Business
Bridget Brown is a mechanical engineer and owner of the Pages and Posts digital design agency. Brown is also Verizon Small Business Digital Ready power-user, with 40 self-paced modules and live events under her belt. Before founding Pages and Posts in 2018, Bridget’s professional career included various positions in the energy and aerospace industries. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mississippi and an MBA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. For more information: https://pagesandposts.com/
SmallBizLady: How did you get started in business? What challenges or successes stand out in your mind?
Bridget Brown: I founded Pages and Posts in 2018 after working in the traditional workforce as a mechanical engineer for 14 years. I’m both a technical and creative person; therefore, the main reason for transitioning to entrepreneurship was to have a wider outlet for my creative nature. Most importantly, I wanted to fill a need that I saw many new entrepreneurs struggle with – creating an online presence.
I’m truly enjoying building this business. I see revenue grow each year and see the evidence of trust establishing long term relationships with clients. My biggest challenge is achieving the revenue level needed to hire and train quality contractors/employees. I look forward to getting to the point where I can hire so that the service fulfillment wouldn’t be so heavy on me.
SmallBizLady: The past two years have been undoubtedly challenging for small businesses. What has your experience been like, and how have you had to adapt?
Bridget Brown: Pages and Posts has always been a remote business. So during the Pandemic, I didn’t experience a slowdown in business. Before COVID, I regularly participated in in-person networking events, met face-to-face with clients and did exhibitions at tradeshows. COVID did change business activities by increasing the demand for video communication with clients in place of in-person meetings. COVID widened the pool of potential remote workers, so I was able to hire contract workers. I also increased PR engagements since it’s now easier to do from home.
What drew you to using Verizon Small Business Digital Ready and how has it helped you/your business?
My strategy for sustaining my business is to pursue all resources that available. I was drawn to Verizon Small Business Digital Ready platform because it offered the opportunity to potentially receive grant funds. Access to capital is a challenge for my business, just like most minority-owned small businesses. As I went through the program I was immediately captivated by the quality of the online courses, the ask-the-expert sessions and office hours. The information provided by this program is invaluable and easily digestible for application. The online courses include job aids which provide education on a variety of topics with planning worksheets and action items. I ended up making a lot of progress in my business in 2021 because I kept going back to the job aids, tackling new tasks/ assignments. This program provided the momentum for me to get my state–level M/WBE certification, transition to Quickbooks, start building my business credit, and become more consistent on social media.
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