June 2013

Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

The next Central Florida Internet Marketing Meetup (Sponsored by Affiliate Summit) is taking place on Tuesday, July 30th at 6:00pm at Diva Off the Park in Winter Park, FL.

Internet Marketing Meetup Agenda:

orlandomeetuplogo Next Free Affiliate Summit Orlando Meetup is Monday, April 29th6:00pm-6:30pm: Announcements and Housekeeping
6:30pm-7:30pm: Session – Grow Your Website with Email and Social Media Marketing
7:30pm-9:00pm: Q&A and Open Networking

Speaker: Spencer Howerton, Director of Mynewsletterbuilder.com

Session details:

You can have the greatest website in the world, but without a vehicle to drive traffic to it, you might as well build a billboard in the middle of the desert.  Learn how to use readily available tools and develop an integrated plan using email and social media marketing.

About the Speaker:

Spencer is a sought after speaker/trainer, consulting and email marketing services for all industry verticals.  Mynewsletterbuilder provides Enterprise Email Marketing solutions and custom content programs for many different industries.

Spencer has more than 20 years of sales experience in financial & tech industries with a concentration in the IT field and loves showing companies how to build their online presence through the use of Email Marketing, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media.

Cost:

Admission is free. Diva’s full menu is available if you’d like to purchase dinner

Click here to RSVP on Meetup.com


And don’t forget to join the Affiliate Summit Orlando Meetup Group and follow us twitter.com/otownaffiliates at to stay on top of our local events.

If you would like to present on a topic in the future, please contact Missy at orlando@affiliatesummit.com.

This post originally appeared on itsaWAHMthing.com, where I regularly contribute articles about affiliate marketing, productivity and technology tips for small businesses and work at home moms.  

Reaching a point where you can reward yourself with a vacation is a great treat in itself and I’m about to do just that, when I leave this weekend for a 2-week wine-tasting vacation through Italy, Monaco and France.

But, since work as a business owner never ends, in order to create this dream vacation for myself, I’ll be putting in some extra work before I leave.

A big part of this preparation is readying my businesses to function without me, even for just a short period of time.

Here are four tips that I recommend that have helped me successfully plan and enjoy a vacation without hurting my businesses:

Get Your Staff Ready

No employee is going to do well when his or her supervisor up-and-leaves without any notice or preparation. You’ll need these workers to take on some of your duties and know how to respond to tasks and needs without your authority. For their sake and the sake of your business, you need to take steps to prepare your employees.

Making these preparations can be a lot of work, especially when you leave your business for the first time. Employees and contractors need to be trained on where to get the answers to everything they need. They need to know how to handle various tasks that you normally do, and this requires establishing training time. In a sales environment, you might want to hand off customer interactions responsibilities to some of your workers and observe them for a period of time before you leave — this will give you reassurance of their performance even as you help them polish their own skills.

Ultimately, you’ll probably need at least a week to get things ready, but consider your unique circumstances and adjust accordingly. You might need several weeks or even a month to get everything together.

Travel in the Slow Season

Most businesses see peaks and valleys in terms of how much work they get throughout the year. Sometimes this changes on a weekly basis, with weekdays or weekends seeing a decline in sales. Other times it’s a particular part of the calendar year that tends to be slower than the rest. Whatever the case for your particular business, try to plan your vacation around these periods to keep yourself at work when you’ll be needed most.

Maintain a Line of Communication

Most business owners would love to cut the cord and be completely disconnected from their businesses while they’re on vacation. But that’s not always practical, and the isolation could actually make it tougher to enjoy your escape from real life. Despite your desires, it’s smart to keep a line of communication open between you and your business. Whether this is email or phone is up to you, but it reduces the anxiety of having to cover every last detail while making you available for any urgent or emergency needs.

In some cases, simply knowing that everything is running well will be reassurance enough to let you get back outside and work on that tan.

Create a Back-to-Work Plan

If there’s a downside to going on vacation, it’s usually waiting for you when you return to work. Business owners typically return after a period away to find themselves swamped with work and overwhelmed. It’s hard to erase those obligations, but you can create a system to better address those needs.

For starters, set aside time upon your return to attend to the work that has piled up. Keep your schedule free of obligations on that first day as you catch up with your business. Meet with employees to discuss operations while you were gone and get a sense of your duties in the coming days. Once you’ve re-oriented yourself in your environment, you can move ahead with scheduling meetings and getting back in the swing of things.

By taking the proper precautionary steps, you should be able to enjoy a stress-free vacation while your business floats on without springing any leaks. It’s not easy for hands-on owners, but even a short getaway will be rejuvenating for you and good for the business.

While some people are drawn to jobs that take them on the road, others have no fondness for living out of a suitcase and being away from home. Whether you like it or not, though, traveling is often a part of job responsibilities.

This type of travel can encompass many different purposes, but industry conferences often rank high among them.Missy Ward's Luggage

Regardless of your industry, there’s a good chance that national conferences are put on every year to bring like-minded professionals together for several days of focus, sharing, training and learning.

Whether you’re a marketer, a psychologist, a dentist or in any other major profession, you’re probably assailed several times a year with offers to attend.

In fact, some employers require — or at least strongly encourage — their employees to attend these conferences on a regular basis.

Whether you’re facing pressure from management or simply feeling the obligation to attend, it’s wise to remember that there are some great advantages to hit the road and meet like-minded professionals.

Here are five reasons you’ll want to attend industry conferences even if traveling isn’t your thing.

Kismet

Whether or not you believe in fate, some of life’s events certainly seem to be following a script. Conferences are full of these opportunities — you never know which handshake might lead to a valuable connection and a new opportunity.

By engaging others at these conferences, you may even get a better idea of what you want to do in your own career.

Learn about the competition

In most industries, your job performance is always relative to the performance of your competitors. Industry conferences are one of your best opportunities to learn about what your competitors are doing.

You can measure your own efforts against what’s going on around the industry, and more importantly, you can take some of those ideas and apply them when you return to your own company. You might even be able to make improvements on those ideas.

Make connections you can never get from behind your office desk

Professionals today have a number of different networking opportunities created by technology. But, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ haven’t completely erased the value of networking in-person.

Conferences allow you to meet people and make connections that you might never have met otherwise. This lets you vastly grow the pool of professionals with which you can interact and network, helping you build a bright future.

Learn from the experts

Most industry conferences feature a number of speaking events, lectures and other seminars. By going to a conference, you get the chance to attend a number of these events, all of which offer some form of education relevant to your work.

After the events are over, you can even approach the presentation providers to ask questions or engage in further conversation.

Recharge your batteries and get inspired

Even if you find traveling exhausting, attending a conference can be an invigorating experience. You get away from the office and spend time with other professionals who are excited and ambitious about your field.

The chance to exchange ideas and gather new ones will help you change your perspective on your work, sparking new inspiration.

Given the opportunities created by attending a conference, professionals shouldn’t hold themselves back just because they’re uninterested in traveling. It may take you away from home for a few days, but the benefits could greatly outweigh the personal expense and open doors to a brighter future.

I’m going easy on the conference circuit this Summer, with a couple of vacations lined up through July. So, the upcoming conferences that I’m attending are Affiliate Summit East 2013 and Type-A Parent. What conferences will you be attending?

Type-A-Parent-Missy-Ward125x125 - I am Speaking at Affiliate Summit