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 If you’re looking to do great work or want to build and manage teams of awesome freelancers, the online global outsourcing arena may just be the perfect fit for you.

Online global outsourcing is growing at a rapid pace with a projected growth of over 40% for the industry. The biggest platforms are oDesk, Elance and Freelancer. 99designs is really in a different category as it’s a crowdsourcing site more focused on design, whereas the other platforms encompass any type of online work. (Source: Biz 3.0)

The infographic below shows funding received, number of freelancers and jobs posted, percentage they charge and cumulative earnings of freelancers. Great information if you are interested in the online outsourcing space!

That may seem like a strange title for a blog post but recently Mark and I were getting ready for a long weekend with family. We live in a beautiful part of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and quite often, especially on public holidays, family chose to make the most of our great location and visit, as was the case on that long weekend.

We decided it was beautiful sunny weather so we would go upstairs and clean our rooftop terrace so that we could spend some time up there on the deck. Mark came home from shopping and realized that I was still on the terrace and had been up there for quite some time. He came upstairs and asked, “What are you doing?” I was inside the spa bath, that we have on the terrace, and I said, “I’m just cleaning the spa.”  When he said “You’ve been there for so long! I quickly responded “I know because I need to make sure it’s perfectly clean.”

Mark reminded me that “it’s our family, they really don’t mind” and, without hesitation responded, “but my Grandson will be in the spa.”

I expected that our daughter was likely to  bring our 4-month old grandson up into the spa bath – they use it as kind of mini-swimming pool for him to help him soak: he loves his baths ;-) And it struck me that the way I approached the cleaning and preparation was totally different when I realized that my brand-new grandson would be in that spa.

It really made me start thinking about priorities and how that reflects in everything we do in life but particularly in our businesses. I thought to myself “Wow, would I recommend my products and services to people that I love?” Would I sell to my Grandson?

No, I am not saying here that your product and service must be suitable for your grandson. I can assure you that Reece has no interest or understanding of my social media marketing training, nor any use for it, and I understand that several of my clients have products and services that would be completely unsuitable for their grandchildren. But, think about it, if the people you love, your family members, your best friend, your colleagues: if they were looking for your product or service, would you recommend YOU?

Are you really the best in your field? Are you providing the best service that you possibly can?

Why that has become so vitally important, and why I’m asking you to put your products and services under a microscope is because social media will magnify whatever you are in terms of your business, service and product strengths. If you have fantastic customer service and you’re offering a great product at the right price, with sensational followup then social media will magnify that. You’ll get wonderful third party testimonials and viral recommendations that would be mainly positive. In fact in marketing terms, we all go searching for that holy grail of viral third party endorsement.

If however, your business is lacking in any areas, perhaps you’ve been really busy and your follow up is not so great or you have certain staff members that maybe aren’t that great in dealing with the public or are cutting corners – that also will be magnified by social media. But when corners are cut, or your businesses are not performing, then your social media presence would be mainly negative.

If you know already that you’re not quite keeping up with demand, your prices are too high or value too low, your quality is not where it should be, CHANGE IT. If you wouldn’t recommend your products and services to the people that you love most in the world, why should you be promoting it to anybody else?

Think about how you would act, how you would feel, and how you would care for your customers if they were your 4-month old grandchild about to get into the spa bath. Would you clean it differently? Would you provide a different service? Would you go above and beyond and care just a little bit more? Because your ideal target client, the client that you wish you had thousands of, is deserving of that level of service and care.

You have to strive to be the best in your field – I’m not saying that you are going to please everybody all the time. The very nature of working with the public means I find that impossible, but unless you strive to provide the very best possible service that you can to your clients then, quite frankly, you shouldn’t be in business and you definitely should not be using social media.

Social media will magnify your brand, purpose, intent, service and support. So make sure that what it’s magnifying is positive.

Have an awesome week!

My new business cards arrived and, as I was going to a networking event, I popped a bunch in my pocket and headed out. It wasn’t until later that night when I was asked, “Do you know Zoe deLuca?” (while the person looked straight at my card I had just given them), that the value of a name really sunk in for me.

You see my new business cards have my ‘new name’ on them. When I say new name, I should probably explain…….

After 11 years together Mark and I finally got married last week. And along with the ceremony (and party) I also ‘got’ a new surname. So Zoe deLuca is morphing into Zoe Wyatt.

So what? I know lots of people get married each year and take on their Husband’s surname. But, when you have spent the last 8 years building a brand online based on your personal name (as I have) then this becomes a major “issue”.

If a person standing in front of me with my card, did not automatically make the connection that I was the same Zoe then how is my market, and potential clients, going to do this on the internet?

The reality is that I ‘could’ retain deLuca for my professional branding. In fact I still have, www.zoedeluca.com and my Twitter profile is still @zdeluca but do I really want to have to juggle two names going forward? One for personal use and one for professional? What a hassle.

What this has brought up to me is the importance of not just your ‘name’ but your ‘Branding’ in internet marketing (including social media marketing). So, what does your name or brand online say about you and your business right now?

Are ‘you’ your brand? Is your business based around your personal name and, if so, is this optimal for you? You may not be thinking about changing your name any time soon but what if you change your core product or service offerings?

My Social Media services did not even exist 5 years ago and they continue to ‘evolve’ (ie change) rapidly. Imagine if I’d branded as ‘MySpace Specialist’ three years ago, I’d need to re-brand anyway.

Even if your branding is not based on your personal name, the name you chose to brand on is vitally important in business generally, but in internet & social media marketing especially. When developing your online brand consider these aspects:

  • Does your brand name accurately reflect your business?
  • Does your brand instantly identify what you do/offer?
    If not, do you need to incorporate a tag line to do this?
  • Can you secure the .com web address for your brand name?
  • Is your brand name consistent across all social media sites?
  • Is your brand already in use in social media accounts and will this cause confusion for your clients?
  • Have you considered transition of your business? Will you want to sell in the future or pass to a family member?

With all of this to consider “branding” is a huge decision to make.  In fact, to answer my original question, “What’s in a name?” – obviously, in the world of internet marketing, a great deal.

My decision has been to establish three clear brands:

  • Social Media ShortCut – for my Social Media Marketing Training
  • MarkandZoe – for our virtual, multiple income stream business together.  With the tagline of
    “Make The World Your Office” to make it easier to understand what the business is all about, and
  • Zoe Wyatt – for personal social media use and interacting with family and friends.

I’d love to hear of your branding decisions and challenges.  Are you looking to re-brand or overhaul your brand?  Leave your comments here or over on our facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/markandzoe (you’ll notice it says Zoe deLuca at the top that I can’t change ;-) )

I’m off to start the great name change……

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted here. All excuses equal, we have had wonderful travel through the USA and returned home to some family issues that took priority over business.

On our way home from America, I sat on a QANTAS flight listening to another passenger abuse (and there’s no other term for it) the flight attendant for not providing the service he ‘expected’. In reality his complaint was that the type of red wine he preferred was not available.

He took it upon himself to educate the unbelievably patient crew member on how important he was, how important his business was to the airline and how, if this wasn’t recognised, he would take his business elsewhere.

How one does this at 40,000 feet I have no idea but by this point I’m assuming the flight attendant would have welcomed that action!

After a broken night of sleep, through a 14 hour flight, we drove for 90 minutes from the airport and returned home feeling jet lagged and tired. Mark had picked up a cough that had headed straight to his chest and we were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves to be honest.

I opened my email to find jobs unfinished and pressing deadlines with my VA having taken ill. For a time I forgot how much I love travel and how fortunate we were to have just spent two weeks in America with some of the top internet marketers and financial coaches in the World.

I just wanted everything to stop for while so I could go to sleep and catch up. Like the man on the plane, I was wallowing in thoughts of ‘didn’t the World know who I was???’ But then suddenly it did….

The phone rang and our middle daughter, Kathryn answered. Her face immediately fell.

You know ‘that’ look – shock, fear, sadness, disbelief, confusion. Her hand up in a stop signal told us to hold our questions – yet we continued to beg for details.

When she finally found the ability to speak through her tears, Kathryn told us there had been an accident, and our Son-in-Law’s twin Brother was dead.

The World Stopped.

We all looked at each other not knowing how to react or what to say. A young man, so full of life was gone – in an instant. The tears flowed as the reality kicked in of the wife and 2 babies (20 months and 3 months) he had left behind.

And just as suddenly, the jet lag lifted and the thoughts of entitlement disappeared. In the blink of an eye, things that had seemed so important and over whelming, simply didn’t matter any more.

We spent a couple of days in a fog supporting family, coming to terms with the loss and assisting where we could and as a result our business suffered.

I realised suddenly that I needed to let our customers know what was going on. With a single email I excused myself for my absence, explained we had had a family tragedy and apologised for any delays with projects.

In the wash up of this week, I learnt some valuable lessons about life, business and myself.

Firstly, I’m stopped sweating the ‘small stuff’. In comparison to facing Christmas without my Son, Brother, or Husband and Father of my two small children, the things I was stressing or complaining about really didn’t matter.

It’s easy as a business owner to let things overwhelm you when you are ‘everything’ to your business. I felt if I stopped then our business did too. This realisation has caused me to completely re-structure and re-engineer our business.

I’ve developed a system now where I have back up and have outsourced key tasks to a highly capable team (I’ll talk more about outsourcing in my next post). I’ve discovered this is not only important for our own sanity but also to deliver on time for our customers (they have their own priorities and pressures to work to as well).

I also discovered that in the last two years, we had attracted the most incredible, understanding, wonderful clients. Without fail every single one of them took the few lines in my email to them and understood. I appreciate them more than I could ever express in words.

So, the point of this post for all of you?

Yes there is a message of keeping things in perspective, thinking about what’s ‘really’ important and not ‘sweating the small things’ that really don’t matter. But there’s also the lesson in structuring your business the smart way.

If you are currently indispensable in your business, then it’s time to put an escape plan in place.

What happens if you get sick? Or need time to support family? Or are delayed in transit etc etc etc

Use this post as a push towards designing a business that works with or without you (at least for a period of time). A linchpin you may be but having your business dependent upon you is a dangerous model.

The upside is that our business is stronger as a result of what has occurred in the last few weeks. We have developed wonderful relationships and joint ventures with contractors, suppliers and staff members, that I probably never would have without circumstances demanding it.

We now have an expanding business, a support network to call upon and a growing team. Plus we value our clients like never before and are going out of our way to deliver at levels above and beyond what we have ever done.

And in recognising what really matters in life, we have discovered a lot that just really doesn’t. All that ‘small stuff’ that we get so caught up in that we really don’t need to stress about.

So this Festive Season, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, hold your family a little closer and tighter than usual, tell them how much you love them and focus on what truly matters.

Mark and I will have a red wine to toast all of you over the holidays and, I assure you, we won’t give a second thought to what variety it may be.

Merry Christmas

Yep – the weather man got it wrong – suprise right???

See 3 days ago when we left Australia to head for a an elite Internet Marketing Training in New York, the forecast was for fine, hot weather. Well, um we’re here now and it’s raining and about 16 degrees.

Which just proves to me that in business, as in life, no matter how well you ‘plan’ things have a way of turning out the way they are going to ‘turn out’.

I see so many Entrepreneurs ‘planning’ their business to the “nth” degree only to never get around to getting into action and actually making money!

So it’s fitting that the first training at the “10 For 10″ event that we are attending was on the essential elements of an Internet Marketing Business and how to balance learning your craft with producing results.

To give you details of what we are learning would take me hours but the one takeaway I want to give you is this:

Develop the Plan but then Work the Plan!

Don’t let “Perfect” get in the way of “Great”.

I’m off to learn lots more and then IMPLEMENT IMMEDIATELY. Oh and buy an Umbrella ;-)

www.MakeTheWorldYourOffice.com

Join Mark and Zoe for our weekend in Melbourne, Australia for Business and Leisure.

Rewards of our home based business – joining team members in Melbourne, Australia for a great weekend.

Imagine being able to design your life so that you earn income from anywhere in the World with your own internet business.   We have freedom, flexibility and an incredible lifestyle!

Want to join us? Get the details at:
http://www.MakeTheWorldYourOffice.com

Share in our stroll around Sydney Harbour, Australia.  Lifestyle we’ve been able to create working an internet based Network Marketing Business.

We love to travel and love Sydney.  Enjoy!