Taking the "Time Management Style Assessment" by Kevin Kruse (www.kevinkruse.com/time) provided a reminder to focus on the "what" and the "how" that drive activities, and also get a better handle on the reasoning behind it all. As Simon Sinek would say, "Start with Why" (www.startwithwhy.com).

Prioritize (What)
  1. Keep in mind what you're trying to achieve and look at those goals daily
  2. Figure out what needs to be done first by how important it is
  3. Set deadlines for the highest impact and most urgent issues first
  4. Tally all of the activities you're doing and planning to do
  5. Look at and revise your schedule on a regular basis
  6. Create "bite-sized" tasks to complete each project

Plan (How)

  1. Take a look at your calendar every day
  2. Don't do things that don't fit with your goals (say "no")
  3. Avoid distractions (calls, emails, social media) when completing tasks
  4. Be productive whenever you can (30 ways to save 30 minutes a day)
  5. Have a digital and/or physical notebook at all times to track activities
  6. Make sure your calendar's up to date every week

Go in the Right Direction (Why)

  1. Talk to other people about the things that you enjoy doing most
  2. Does "a true sense of purpose comes from the opportunity to serve those who serve others"?
  3. Envision yourself where you want to be, who you want to be, how you want to feel in X years
  4. Revisit all the stories from your past, and decide how you want to write your own next chapter
  5. Remove any obstacles that prevent you from getting you where you want to go (Align with plans)
  6. Focus on what needs to be done to get there (Align with priorities)

Given the three lists above, I'd also like to mention Paula Rizzo's "Listful Thinking" (http://www.listfulthinkingbook.com). It's on my list to read the book, and to find the time to manage my time management, once I figure out my why... Oh my!

 
 
Many businesses have learned that selling their own products and services may not be the only way to monetize their websites.  There are many ways to generate revenue from your website properties and add extra income streams that will effectively make you money while you and your employees sleep!  For example, some website development platforms will allow you to pull in additional advertising dollars just by installing a few appropriate plugins. Some can be set up easily in 5 minutes.

For example, if you have a WordPress website, you can add the advertising widget Ad Squares, which allows you to place affiliate banners in your sidebar or anywhere else on your template that allows widgets.  Make sure whatever banners you choose to appear on your website are complimentary to the existing content of your site and reflect items and services that your target market would be interested in buying.  Once you've had your banners up for at least a month, it's a good idea to work out which affiliate banners are bringing in the most cash from your website.  Many website owners stick with the same banners all the time, even although they don't attract any clicks and purchases. Be smart about it and only have banners that are actually giving you an extra income.

Many internet marketers also choose to install a Google Adsense plugin so that their ads are specific to each page's content.  There are many different places within your website that you can place these blocks such as the header, before and after content, and within the sidebar. However, you are only allowed a maximum of three ad blocks per page.  When setting up your AdSense channels, track which ads are giving you the most revenue, and change the size and placement of ads to find the combination that gives you the maximum income possible for your website.

You may want to consider pay per view and other lesser known options as ways to monetize your website.  There are several plugins that will allow your visitors to view a limited amount of a blog post and in order to read more, they need to pay a small fee.  You can also use the pay per view method for videos. This works well if you have created a training website with many how to videos or content posts.

A step up from the pay per view model is the membership site.  These are becoming more and more popular with website owners.  If creating fresh monthly content does not appeal to you, then you can create a one-time payment membership site, with no pressure to add regular fresh content to that site. There are many different membership models to suit every business within every niche that you can emulate if you decide to monetize your website by creating a membership site.

Another method is to refer business to other complementary sites and earn a commission. For example, we set up an Inkwhy store with Teespring. If you click on this link, you would be able to set up your own t-shirt store to sell customized branded items and run campaigns -- and if you refer others via a similar link then you would get a commission on the t-shirts that they sell. Our referral link for you to set up your own branded t-shirt store is: http://teespring.com/invites/07mcgn
These are just a few ways that you can monetize your website. If you start implementing these ideas today, you could be generating a profit in a very short amount of time. Do you have any other thoughts or questions? 

Comment below or e-mail us at ask [at] inkwhy.com.
 
 
Over the last few decades, many corporations have come and gone. The average person changes jobs multiple times throughout his or her lifetime. Having different bosses can teach employees and managers a variety of lessons throughout their careers. We have compiled the top 10 lessons that have helped us grow from individual contributors to managers and leaders of organizations.

1. Tell Your Story - Know the experiences that have led you to where you are today, and focus on the key elements that will take you to where you want to be tomorrow.

2. Pursue Opportunities - If you are looking to grow, always be willing to take on new projects or do what nobody else wants to do. CEOs often get to the top by changing positions every few years or taking on additional responsibilities to challenge themselves. If you are comfortable where you are, then you may need to decide whether you are limiting your potential or just happy with the status quo.
3. Be Passionate About What You Do - Happiness correlates with productivity and can also be contagious. Would you rather work with colleagues who love their work or are disengaged?

4. Be Effective, Not Just Efficient - Being efficient is about getting results. Being effective is knowing HOW you get to those results and working with people the right way so that the next time you can get even better results, faster and with all the support that you need.


5. Recommend Solutions Before Asking Questions - By doing the research yourself and coming to conclusions, you can save your boss time. Instead of asking what the answer is, find out for yourself and recommend it to your manager or team.

6. Ask For What You Want - Whether you want more responsibilities, a quiet place to think, a few more days working remotely, or the opportunity to learn from the head of another department, the chances are slim that you will get it if you don't ask for it. And once you get to a certain level, you can demand what you want rather than ask for it. Learn to increase your negotiating power to reach that level.

7. Delegate, Give Credit and Take Responsibility - You will save yourself time by giving projects and responsibilities to others on your time. Hand in hand with delegation is the ability to give credit where credit is due, and also to take responsibility for what your team members do rather than pointing fingers when something goes wrong or taking all the credit when things go right.

8. Prioritize and Focus - Often when you are in a growing position or company, you will find that there are endless opportunities that you can pursue. Determine what will make the most short-term and long-term impact, order them, and tackle one at a time. Having too many tasks to do at one time will limit how many tasks you will be able to get done and could distract you from what is most important.

9. Do What Is Best For Your Company - This means considering all the stakeholders of your company,
including clients, investors, and employees. Depending on your role at the company, you may be focused more on one particular constituency. When making decisions regarding what activities to pursue, consider the impact on different constituents and make the best decision for the company holistically, without compromising your morals and integrity.

10. Brand Yourself - Just as your company has a culture and recognized brand, create your own brand that will tell people who you are. Think of a memorable way to describe yourself, without losing your authentic voice.

When I presented these lessons to MBA students, they agreed that these takeaways reflected what they had learned during their career progression. Other advice shared included being confident, working harder than anyone else, and networking with people who can help you.

What other lessons have you learned as a manager or individual contributor that have helped you grow?
 
 
If your business is running into problems or if your customers are leaving in droves, it may be time to consider a new business model. The Lean for Social Change MOOC and other courses for managers, entrepreneurs and business owners explain that the Business Model Canvas is a one page document that can be changed quickly to address what your clients are telling you they want.
For the last few years, Inkwhy has been developing partnerships and obtaining a level of deep expertise in a variety of industries, functions and capabilities. Our people understand that businesses have vast differences in what tools they need at different stages of growth, and a mom-and-pop shop does not have the budgets that a large company can access to operate and expand. With decades of experience behind our partners and staff, we have shifted our offering to include a suite of tools and services rather than relying on just the online advertising widget that we had originally been building for our company. We are excited about the new path that we will be pursuing, and filling the gaps that our clients currently face across multiple areas of needs. Our integrated approach allows for a seamless way to select what your business needs, such as tools to get started or support for managing multiple functions (sales, marketing, HR, finance, technology) to grow and operate your organization.

What are some of the ways that you have changed your company's business model?
 
 
Listen to Janice Dru and Ronald Allen discuss how to build valuable communities on "Managing Change" at 7:00 PM EST on Thursday, August 15: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/managechange2/2013/08/15/managingchange2
 
 
Princeton University alumna Lianna Kissinger-Virizlay is part of this daunting undertaking by young artists who are expressing their unique vision and individuality through motion picture. The group is committed to creating educational, impactful work that represents actual reality, and fostering a better understanding of core, unspoken issues. 

Take a look at their project here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/don-t-call-me-crazy--2

Find out more about the team: http://www.3andonehalf.com/about.html
 
 
When we typed this question into Google, only one page that somewhat answered the question was on the first page of results. According to Leighton Hart, people have blogs in order to have the freedom to write whatever they want, to develop an avenue to earn extra income or promote a business, to help establish a professional presence, or perhaps just as a hobby. 

When Googling the question above within "quotation" marks, the first page that came up is a Facebook post by Nerd Jerk - Inspiring Smiles One Geek at a Time, which states "Why are there so many blog posts to write but NO TIME to write them?! I have like 27 posts backed up in a queue!!!" No answers here. In fact, this more addresses the question "Why aren't there MORE blog posts?" And the general consensus is because we simply do not have the time to write them, or too many other priorities to take care of first. And this is the primary reason we have been silent on the Inkwhy blog for over four months now.

But back to the question, specifically, why are there so many blog posts?

Adding to the motives that Leighton suggests, we theorize that there is a large quantity of people who simply enjoy crafting words and throwing them into cyberspace for anyone (or nobody) to find and read. Blog posts are created  not only when humanity aspires toward freedom and  sustenance, but also when individuals seek power, creativity, connection, self-actualization, or any other number of end goals that could be physical, emotional, tangible or intangible. The number of blog posts will multiply when people find more reasons to create them. And their growth will diminish when we begin discovering other avenues to express our needs and desires.

Do you write blog posts because you don't have anything better to do, because you  have a natural affinity toward writing them, because you have ulterior motives, for a combination of the above reasons, or for some other reason?
 
 
Yesterday, Brian Cohen spoke at the Princeton Tech Meetup #11, providing some insider tips on what Angel Investors want Entrepreneurs to know. We'll be sharing some of the insights we gleaned later in this blog post. First, we want to help Brian promote the book that he co-authored which is debuting in April. For a short time, the book will be available for half price on Amazon to pre-order. To get it at the discounted price now, click on our affiliate link below:
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What did we learn from Brian? 
While Angel Investors provide 90% of the seed money that helps startups get off the ground, they are looking for a BIG payoff (if you look at the slide at the left, it does NOT mean that Brian left the room and came back 30 times). In fact, Brian cited that only about 1 in 40 companies that go to Angels get an investment (as compared to 1 in 400 who present to VCs). The next question is:  what will make YOU appeal to an Angel? 

If you really want  all the answers from an Angel Investor's perspective, you have to buy Brian's book:
For a teaser of what's in the book, here are some of the notes we took from Brian's presentation:
  • You are in control. Be confident, and ask for what you want.
  • Get a good lawyer. Especially when your friends and family are investing in your early-stage company. You want to give them good terms so they don't get screwed later.
  • Know your business inside and out. (For example, would you invest in an air filter company that didn't know what HEPA means? For those of us who didn't know, HEPA means High-Efficiency Particulate Air.)

If you are getting ready to launch your company, you'll also want to check out the new company created by Brian and Trace Cohen, Launch.it. It's a free newsroom for you to publish your story. 

And if you're not ready to launch yet but you need funding from an Angel Investor, then let us remind you that there's always more advice you can get from Brian's book!
What else did you learn from Brian's presentation?
 
 
I make things write. 
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Written by Wallace Kowrach
The Exceptional Artisan, L.L.C.
http://www.ExceptionalArtisan.com
Wallace [at] ExceptionalArtisan.com
609 [dash] 213 [dash] 3634


As an artisan who has designed and crafted hundreds of writing instruments for various individuals, including many Hollywood celebrities, I can authoritatively say that when it comes to writing instruments one size does not fit all.

Many people still cling to that “one size fits all” belief. That’s like saying one type of contact lenses will fit everyone.

The trouble is we’re all used to grabbing a 10-cent pen we got at a trade show and use it daily.  We then wonder why our hands get so stiff after a long period of writing. 

Many people attribute this discomfort to arthritis or a strain suffered from a gym workout.  In some cases that’s true but with most people it’s due to the way they hold a generic-sized writing instrument for long periods of time.  And, if you subscribe to the “one size fits all” theory......???

So, what determines the best type of pen for you? 

Well, lots of things.

Each individual’s hands are shaped differently.  Some are large; some are thin; some are quite muscular and some are not.  Consequently, some people prefer a bold, beefy type of pen with a lot of heft to it while others prefer a slim and lightweight pen.

Even how we hold a writing instrument varies.  Some clutch it tightly as if it were going to run away if they didn’t.  Others have a gentle grip and prefer to deftly guide it as glides across the paper.

Writing styles differ, too.  Some write boldly and press hard on a pen while others have a gentle touch and write slower and more precisely--and usually with beautiful penmanship.

As you can see, each person’s physical attributes and writing style differ.  When you combine different physical characteristics with different writing styles the combinations become almost endless.  A generic-sized writing instrument simply cannot satisfy everyone’s needs.

What makes each pen different and how do I determine which is best for me?

When “push comes to shove” all writing instruments share, in one form or another, the same components.  Outside of the quality of the materials and the exactness of their fabrication, it’s the customization that sets them apart from one another and what makes them “fit like a glove” to the user.

Let’s look at the components and the process of crafting a ballpoint pen.  We start with a chunk of wood or acrylic to clad the barrel and combine it with all the interior components.  These components include a brass tube(s), the refill, spring, tip, clip and the cap and finial.

The crafting process of a writing instrument, whether it be a ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pen (my favorite), is all the same:
  • a chunk of wood or acrylic--we in the industry refer to this as a pen blank--is cut to size and a hole is drilled lengthwise through it to accommodate a brass tube;
  • the brass tube(s) is filled with Play-Doh (I’m not joking) from both ends, coated with cyanoacrylate glue (also known as superglue) and then inserted into the pen blank;
  • when dried the Play-Doh is removed and the ends of the blank are sanded square;
  • specific-sized bushings and blanks are slipped onto a long rod called a mandrel along which is then put on a lathe;
  • Using a lathe chisel the blank(s) are then turned down to the profile of the pen, sanded smooth and coated with cyanoacrylate to protect the pen during use. The final step is a micro-polishing wax which brings up the luster of the material and gives it added depth and protection;
  • the blanks are removed from the lathe and the various components are then press-fitted together to form the pen. 
Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, sort of.

People say I design writing instruments but, truth be told, I don’t.  The client is the actual designer because only he/she knows what colors and materials they like, what shape/profile appeals to them as well as whether they prefer a ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pen.

As an artisan I employ my expertise and attempt to follow the designer’s instructions.  Sometimes, that’s not always easy.

Occasionally a client will instruct me to just make a rollerball in green and leave the design up to me.  To coin a phrase, “That ain’t gonna cut it,” especially if they want a pen with which they can write effortlessly for hours.

At this point I apply a bit of reverse-psychology to get him or her started in the design process.  I will suggest some outlandish green material that I know will provoke an almost instant reaction.

“Yuck!  That’s an awful shade of green!  Besides, that material is way too bizarre!  What about this one, instead?”

This usually gets the ball rolling.  If the client’s design process stumbles a bit, I can still revert to the same approach with the size or shape criteria, too.

So, if I haven’t already confused you enough, you’re probably wondering “What type of pen is really best for me?”

Well, that really depends on your tastes, writing style and how you will use your pen.

For example, if you really bear down on your pen or if you routinely write on multi-carbon forms, it goes without saying that a fountain pen is not for you.  Otherwise, it becomes a rather expensive way to drip ink.

Fountain pens do not appeal to everyone.  They hearken back to an era (think Jules Verne) prior to iPads, laptops, desktops, rollerballs and ballpoint pens. Some consider them quaint or old-fashioned and not in keeping with the times.

Someone once likened them to being more of a recreational type of pen and used only where speed/time was not of the essence.  That may or may not be true but throughout my career I have seen several business people use them in numerous business settings.

Ballpoint pens have become the most popular writing instrument of today.  They’re rugged, can write on virtually any surface and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors.  Because they can be manufactured so quickly and cheaply, they even function as an advertising medium.

Rollerball pens bridge the gap between the fountain pen and the ballpoint.  You can write on almost any type of surface with them.  While not as rugged as a ballpoint, they will accept a great deal of writing pressure from their user.  Despite this ruggedness, they allow ink to flow so fluidly that they seem to almost rival a fountain pen.

As you can see, many factors determine what is the best type of writing instrument for each individual.  So how do you choose?

Initially, it may seem an overly complex decision. In my experience, when choosing from numerous preferences it’s almost always best to go with the first answer that comes to mind.  Invariably it’s a question your mind answered long ago so it is able to answer it so quickly.
 
 
Calling All Entrepreneurs

If you are on the startup roller coaster then you have experienced exhilarating highs and devastating lows, sometimes on the same day.  Join with other young companies who are facing the same challenges you are, network with other founders and startup employees for support, advice, and to try some cool new products and services.  Join the Startup America Partnership today - http://ar.gy/inkwhy.

Startup America recognizes that young companies are the drivers of our economy and wants to provide valuable resources to build and strengthen regional startup ecosystems.  The Startup America Partnership was launched from the White House on Jan 31, 2011 with AOL co-founder Steve Case as chairman and with the Kauffman Foundation as a founding sponsor.  By joining the Startup America Partnership, you will have access to the following:
  • Free and discounted resources to help you grow your business, such as free software for accounting and planning that can lower your costs for advertising and marketing
  • A network of over 8,000 startup founders just like you from across the country
  • Local and national connections through regional ecosystems run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs
  • Connections to startup experts through virtual learning sessions, a resource library, and live events
  • Publicity for your startup through contests, blog posts, and social media
The Startup America Partnership works on a regional basis with local entrepreneurs to help them strengthen their local entrepreneurial community.  We need your help to get Startup NJ going.  This is a community-driven initiative led by entrepreneurs, and we want to collect some information about what you feel our region needs to help you become more successful, so please take 10 minutes and complete our survey: 

                   http://startupnj.questionpro.com


We welcome all regional entrepreneurs to join the Startup NJ Leadership Team.  If interested, send an email to startupnj@gmail.com and be sure to register to join Startup America at http://ar.gy/inkwhy.

We look forward to working with you to make NJ the best place to grow and establish new businesses.

Sincerely,

Your Startup NJ Leadership Team