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Words of Advice

Using Spotify Playlists for Business

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For those of you who are on your computer much of the work day, surely you can relate when I say I consider Spotify to be one of my best friends. We spend almost every day together, and I’ve grown quite fond of the digital music service.

This was a fun week for Anthony and I, we got to create Spotify playlists for our client, WilliamPaid. Because WilliamPaid’s target audience is mostly renters in their 20s and 30s, it meshes well with the demographic of a Spotify user. For the playlists, we focused on topics that the average renter would be interested in. Check them out and feel free to subscribe. We had a blast creating them and are constantly adding new music!

Click the ‘play’ button on the album artwork to open the playlist in your Spotify app. If you don’t have the app, download here.

Chillin’ at the Apartment

Getting Ready for  a Night Out

Payin’ Rent

Interviewing Advice

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In the past, I have posted about resume blunders but I have never really blogged about the actual interviewing process. As a business owner of 3 years, I have conducted my fair share of interviews. The process of hiring, while it is exciting because it means a fresh perspective, it’s definitely not my favorite aspect of running a business. However, when I think about the experience and knowledge I have gained from it, I realize it’s been a very valuable part of the past 3 years. The 5 most important things I have learned are:

1. Always check references. Are you really going to hire someone without talking to anyone else about their work ethic, drive, motivation and previous performance? If it doesn’t work out, you have nobody to blame but yourself!

2. Unappreciative. Didn’t get a follow up email thanking you for the interview? No matter how much you liked the person, that’s a major indication of how they will handle communication and follow up with clients.

3. Late to the interview? That’s probably the biggest insult and indication of their lack of consideration for your time.

4. Jumper? 4 different jobs in the past year, each spanning for a total of 3 months? Major red flag and the sure sign of a “jumper.” Don’t fall for the phony enthusiasm because after you invest your time, energy and effort into training that person, they will already be interviewing at other companies.

5. Trust your instincts. This one is probably the most important. Don’t ignore those nagging doubts just because you are desperate for more help. Would you hire a nanny you weren’t totally comfortable with to take care of your baby? Take the same approach with the people you invite to be a part of your team.

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Are You Sitting Right Now? Then Read This.

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Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re sitting down. You may be at work or at home on the couch and if these few minutes it takes you to read this blog post are just a small portion of your eight hour sedentary work day, you are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.

Okay, that was a bit solemn but most of us are unable to avoid this workplace set up. However, there are a few ways you can improve your conditions! Before I give you my suggestions, take a look at this infographic created by MedicalBillingandCoding.org. If you’re like me, you may find yourself unconsciously beginning to stand up as you read…

SittingAtWork

 

Scary right? Check out these tips and try to start changing your sitting lifestyle while we’re still young!

1. Take a break each hour. Whether that be to go get a beverage or for a bathroom break, come back and stretch out your body. A European Heart Journal study of 5,000 men and women found that the quarter who took the most breaks during the day were 1.6 inches thinner than the quarter who took the least.

2. Stand during client/conference calls. A 130 pound person burns about 70 calories an hour just by standing. 30 minute conference call? You’ve already burned off part of that cookie you ate for lunch.

3. If you work in a large office, don’t spend more than 15 minutes crafting an email for an employee. Walk over to their office and tell them. Chances are, your communication will be clearer and faster!

4. If the weather is cooperating, use half of your lunch break to take a walk outside. The fresh air will help clear your brain anyway!

5. Purchase a way cooler office chair. Mashable posted these “5 Alternative Office Chairs” that are quite inspiring. My personal fave? The Balance Ball Chair. Work + Core Strengthening = The Ultimate Multitask.

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2013 for Gossip Genie!

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It’s a new year at Gossip Genie and we’re fully embracing it! Now that we’ve officially survived the apocalypse and New Year’s Eve, we’ve set some great goals for the year, both internally and for our amazing clients. We couldn’t be more excited to grab 2013 by the horns. Here are a few of our New Year’s resolutions!

1. Social Network Takeover: There was a time when Gossip Genie mainly focused on Facebook and Twitter but that is SO 2009. From Google+ to Instagram, we’re doing it all this year and we’re ready to consult new and current clients on which social networks best fit their business!

2. Team Expansion: Check out our latest job postings and please apply if you love social media and sales OR send it to a friend that might be interested! Information on how to apply here.

3. More Clients: Our team is growing and that means we are going to need more work! If you know a business in need of social media marketing, we would love to chat with them and take their company to the next level! Send us a message here.

4. Events and Speaking Opportunities: Because we’re loud and proud about our social media skills, we’re aiming to find some great speaking engagements this year so we can share our knowledge with all of you. We also have a tentative plan for our first Gossip Genie social media event so stay tuned mid-year!

We’re wishing everyone a GREAT New Year and don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn as well as Instagram (@TeamGossipGenie)!

 

Reflections From a Genie

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As the year comes to an end, I want to reflect on what Gossip Genie means to me. If you have been following our blog, you know by now that we keep it casual, we all contribute on a regular basis and we are all passionate about our jobs. Passion is key, it’s the motivation that gets you up in the morning and the force behind the desire to succeed. Gossip Genie will be 3 years old in February. The decision to start a business is not an easy one. It was very tough in the beginning but I was determined and made many sacrifices in order to make it work. It was the passion that kept me moving forward.

Over the past 3 years, there have been many ups and downs. I have learned that finding the right team is crucial to the success of a business. Hiring is an extremely overwhelming process and managing a team is an even more daunting task. Firing people is unbelievably difficult and they always end up hating you regardless of the reasons behind the separation. You have to learn to accept that not everyone will like you, conflicts will inevitably arise among coworkers, clients and power partners. Every one has a bad day and bad moods which are most likely unrelated to you. You don’t have to micro-manage to get what you want, if you do, you are working with the wrong people. Accusations and confrontations are two entirely different things. It’s important to encourage the truth over excuses. If you are judgmental, you are unapproachable. Stay positive because negativity is contagious. If you don’t trust your team, you will never be able to relax and enjoy life. Creating a hierarchy can be detrimental.

There are so many things I have learned in 3 short years and I continue to learn something new every day. Once I had the idea to start Gossip Genie, I literally had no idea how many other elements running a company would entail. Constant prospecting and networking while maintaining current client communication and satisfaction, lead generation, innovative and creative ideas to attract new clients. Materials and proposals to present to new clients. Gaining trust and credibility amongst my peers and aligning myself with the right people for referrals. Contracts and agreements, lawyers and language. Tax forms and accounting, invoicing, payroll, and expense reports. Write offs and deductions. Client management, daily account upkeep and reporting. Delegating work and confirming completion. Appreciating coworkers and clients, power partners and strategic alliances. Assessing bandwidth based on work-load, asking for help when necessary and being honest with your team.

In the beginning, I was very hard on myself because I can be a bit of a perfectionist. About 6 months into this year, I was faced with a major challenge when we lost a few clients due to budget cuts. The stress weighed on me heavily and I saw it transform my company. My demeanor directly affected the happiness of my coworkers and for that I will be forever regretful. Stress is not good for anyone or anything – just read a Lululemon yoga bag. I knew that with the right team in place and after a year of restructuring, we finally had that team that the stress would disappear, which it did. I also realized that at the end of the day, a company can only thrive when it has a solid foundation, a happy team and in a positive environment. Hard work and respect are the fundamentals of a good team.

Okay, this post is getting too long and I am rambling. I will end with something that I think is the key to a growing and successful company. My team performs at the same level of excellence if I am there watching or not. The shared passion and mutual respect is apparent and therefore, Gossip Genie is only going to prosper moving forward.

Grouper Gone Wrong

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Grouper

Chicago, meet Grouper, a website that connects three single girl friends with three single guy friends to go on a date in their designated city. Loving the concept of group dating, my coworker, Laurel, and I decided to sign up to go on a Grouper. We filled out a few questions and we were all set—we had our Grouper date on the books.

Grouper has a policy where they don’t tell you where you’re meeting your dates until the day before, so we were anxiously watching our inbox the day before, hoping they picked a great spot for us. Much to our disappointment, we did get an email, and it said that they couldn’t find a match for us! They agreed to comp our next Grouper date (there is a $20 fee to go on the date) so we signed up again and the “day before” was here before we knew it. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we got another email that they couldn’t find a match for us! Grouper sang the same old tune the THIRD “day before” and that is when I had had enough.

I called Grouper to complain and ended up talking to someone for 20 minutes. I asked “Do you not have a lot of guys that sign up? What’s the deal?” Because I’m in social media, I suggested they start using Twitter to get some eligible guys to sign up for the site. She welcomed my ideas and even told me to send her an email if I had any more ideas on how to reach the Chicago market. No thanks, not for free!

They called me back about one hour later saying they actually did have a great match for us and that was that—we finally had a GROUPER DATE! I asked her, “Are these guys legit?” and she responded “YES!” and sent me all the information.

There’s not much to say after this. Our Grouper was at Diversey Bowl and when we checked in with the bowling lane manager we asked if three guys were there for a Grouper. They were at the bar and as we quickly glanced over, we knew Grouper got it wrong. They were definitely not ANY of our types. Actually, nothing like we requested.

I texted my Grouper contact that we were out of there, and we were gone in 60 seconds.

My closing thoughts: Grouper, while you seem like a great concept, you need better execution and strategy in Chicago. And maybe a little help in the social media department. 😉

What Not To Post: Cryptic Messages to Company Pages

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As most of us now know, Facebook has allowed users the ability to privately message business pages. This is a new feature that can be set on or off depending on what the page administrator prefers. Gossip Genie clients have this feature set on as we like to communicate with fans should they have a question or comment that they do not want to write on the wall. It is also useful for exchanging information when a contest winner has been chosen.

If you have your own business page, at some point you will receive strange messages. Whether they are in another language, incoherent, requests for free products or just strange and inappropriate, you usually have to decide when to ignore and when to respond. I complied just a few of my favorites along with one that a friend of mine received on her company’s page (bottom photo). We believe this young woman meant to send a message to my friend, not her company’s business page!

Guide to Twitter Acronyms and Lingo

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Whenever I run into someone who isn’t on Twitter, their typical response is “I don’t understand Twitter, there’s so much going on.” True, there are a lot of shortcuts and tricks we take to get our message across in 140 characters or less, but really, it’s not that hard, and proven to be very effective. I thought I’d create a simple “cheat sheet” for those just getting into Twitter, or for those who might need a little refresher.

Beginner phrases:

RT = Retweet. You can retweet simply by clicking the arrows on Twitter.com or placing a RT in front of someone’s tweet and posting it as yourself.

# = Hashtag. Hashtags are one of my favorite things about Twitter. If you click on a hashtag, you can see in real-time who is tweeting about whatever you put after your hashtag. I especially like #thatawkwardmomentwhen. Do it. It’s funny.

DM = Direct message. You can send private messages to people or businesses on Twitter, but only if they are following you.

Advanced Twitter lingo:

MT = Modified tweet. This is basically a retweet that you had to modify because there were too many characters. I only use this if I change the tweet drastically. I wouldn’t use it if I just change a you to u, or and to &.

TBH = To be honest. Pretty much self explanatory.

ICYMI = In case you missed it. I use this if I’m sending a tweet about previous blog post or re-promote a contest or sweepstakes.

 

 

 

Forum Fear

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For the past 15 years, I have suffered from a chronically unstable knee that dislocates frequently. The damage to my cartilage has been severe and unfortunately, my only option is to undergo patella realignment surgery. After countless hours of physical therapy, I finally came to terms with the genetic deformity that is my shallow knee groove. Luckily, I do have a solution but unfortunately, it requires a major surgical procedure. That being said, for the past year, I have had numerous x-rays and MRIs, I have been consulting with knee specialists and patella realignment surgery is the definitive solution. My doctor specifically told me not to read information about this procedure online because every patient’s experience is different. This is one of my doctor’s orders that I did not follow but I wish I had. After an emotional night of scouring the Internet and absorbing the horror stories surrounding my upcoming surgery, I decided that I will no longer turn to forums for additional information on anything related to my health.

It was this post in particular that did it for me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be no early dust biting for me…

Connecting To The Right Things, Why It Matters?

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I’m here to tell you what’s GOOD. No seriously, this online community is capital G-O-O-D because it’s the place to be. On their website they proudly state, “This is the beginning of a new platform-a gathering place and a growing toolkit for pragmatic idealists to creatively and collaboratively engage with each other, the community and issues we care about, and our world. If you, like me, woke up today climbing the walls wondering about the impact of buying fair trade chocolate, how to get involved with the Global YOLO Installation Project, or possibly how a book mountain in Rotterdam is improving literacy then GOOD is your new best friend. This is a community that allows you to really dig deep and discover your passion outlets. This kind of connection leads to knowledge and more importantly, activity. A topic on this platform might ignite you just enough to speak up, to improve our world, or simply just to laugh and appreciate more. It’s time to start assessing if the things and people you connect to are making you GOOD. After all, “GOOD is learning, doing, improving-together.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.