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To Outsource or to Automate, that is the Question!

As a small business entrepreneur, is it better to outsource, or to automate?  This is a question that has confronted countless online entrepreneurs at some point.

Let me give some personal background in answer to this question, and why I consider it such an important one.  Many years ago, I ran across this quote by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, um 1700, Öl auf Holz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, um 1700, Öl auf Holz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.”

(Describing, in 1685, the value to astronomers of the hand-cranked calculating machine he had invented in 1673.)”
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Leibnitz, (July 1, 1646 – November 14, 1716) was a particularly brilliant mind of his day.  His contributions range from Physics to Philosophy, and he is attributed to the development of calculus in parallel to, but independently of Isaac Newton.

According to Wilkepedia, “While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal’s calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685[8] and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of virtually all digital computers.”

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This quote as has been sort of a motto of mine for a very long time.  It has been one of the themes of my career repeated several times over.

When I was growing up, my uncle worked as a manual machinist for a large aerospace company in NJ. My dad was an engineer / draftsman for the same company.  Between them they worked nearly a century for the same company.  Neither ever used a computer on the job.  Today, my uncle’s job would be done by a CNC machinist. Instead of cranking manual dials, my uncle would be loading computerized code into computerized metal cutting machines that would cut parts automatically.  Automation doesn’t mean it takes any less skill to run the machine.  Many of the same skills are required to run an automated machine. It just is a different type of skill.

The accuracy and repeatability of these machines is simply phenomenal. Tolerances can be held on standard CNC milling and turning machines to within +/- 0.0002 of an inch. That is a mere two ten thousandths of an inch. That is nothing less than extraordinary in the world of manufacturing!  It is an order of magnitude of 5-10 times what can be achieved with manual methods alone.

In my dad’s day, just before he retired, the company had purchased their first computers in the engineering department where he worked.  They were big clunky things that took up an entire room of office space. Btw, both lived extremely long lives, my uncle passed away at the ripe old age of 99, and my dad at 98!

Why do I mention this? I became involved with computerized machinery and computerized programming after having seen my family practically speaking,  slave for a nearly a century in the manufacturing industry without the benefit of computers.

I am proud of the accomplishments of both my uncle and my dad, but I also knew that I could be much more productive in my life, by taking advantage of the revolutionary advances of computerized manufacturing technology that were not available to either of them.

I have met so many great people in the manufacturing industry over the years, in companies large and small, but especially in the smaller tool & die, and plastic injection mold making shops.

There is something about machining that keeps people honest.  Either you part, tool, mold, or whatever you are making works properly and is made to the specifications of the blueprint, or it is not.  There is no grey area, no subjective opinion, only measurable fact.  The part is within tolerance, or it is out of tolerance.  Thumbs up or thumbs down.  There is no compromising middle ground. Measurements are precise, accurate, and objective, with mutually agreed upon standards that are universal.

Even though my first glimpse of a computerized (CNC) machine tool was intimidating, I determined that even if it took me years to understand the technology, I vowed that I would learn to master it, and I eventually did on both accounts.  If a machine tool has a computerized control on it, chances are I have programmed that type of machine before, at some point in my career.  I also learned to run a wide variety of CNC machine tools.

The above quote from Leibnitz stuck with me all these years, and when reasonably fast PC’s became available in the 80’s I realized that the dream of Leibnitz long ago, had finally become a reality.  Every software program used and the possibilities of communication using the Internet allows us a greater freedom from repetitive manual labor.

By the way, I am not opposed in principle to manual labor. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with it. In my life, have worked as a construction laborer, a mover, a mason, a carpenter, and a house painter.  Although I enjoyed manual labor, I knew I did not want to spend my entire life doing it.

For example, when I worked as a house painter, (years ago in San Francisco), we used electric airless paint sprayers that allowed us to paint buildings at the rate of 60 gallons of paint per day on a two-man team.  If you are using a paint roller on a floor, you might be able to paint that much in a day, but there is no way to paint walls at that rate or to paint by hand using a brush with that kind of proficiency!

If the lives of everyone can be improved using computers, I am always on board with it. Although there is a certain nostalgia surrounding the manual art and craft, and some things should be made only by hand, ninety-five times out of one-hundred, I personally prefer the computerized solution.

I have worked with and trained hundreds of machinists and programmers to use CAD/CAM technology to significantly improve their productivity in manufacturing.

I do the same today with small businesses and entrepreneurs.  The niche may have changed, but my goals remain the same.  I help companies to implement automated marketing solutions that improve their business and the lives of owners, and employees alike.

Several weeks ago, I faced a dilemma.  I needed to locate prospects and send a large number of emails on a daily basis.  I was on the verge of considering to hire someone to help me send out more emails than I new I could send out myself each day.  I was seriously considering to outsource this work.

In principle, I do not like asking anyone else to do something that I would not want to do myself.  If it something that I can’t do, then that doesn’t leave me with a choice. Even if someone else does not think the work is tiresome, it still didn’t feel right to me and the thought of it left a bad taste in my mouth.

I know that there are companies that hire people abroad to send up to 100 emails a day.  These people search for email addresses of potential prospects and are happy to do this all day for a decent wage according to what is considered to be a fair wage in their particular country.

As for myself, I know very well I would become crazy merely doing that all day.  Again I was reminded of the Leibniz quotation, and despite my need, I squirmed at the idea of hiring someone to do this kind of job that I would be unwilling to do myself.

So what is my conclusion to all of this soul searching and pondering?  My advice is to keep looking for an automated solution to any problem you are having. Only as a last resort if an automation solution is not possible, should you consider the alternative of outsourcing someone full-time to do repetitive, tedious work.

I actually found an automated solution to my problem that is better than hiring two outsourcers, so I came out way ahead.

Also, if you have the means, consider hiring a programmer to build a custom solution to your problem.  Then you not only have a solution that you can use, you have a product that you can sell to others that solves your particular problem. You are now the best possible beta tester for your product,

You know the problem inside and out.  You will know who can benefit from this solution, so you will know your target market very well. Your customers will greatly benefit from the automated solution you have found.  You will also benefit, of course, by selling a solution that is well-tested, accomplishes the job, and one your customers need and appreciate.

 

 

5 Reasons Why You are Not Being Hired

Make your resume stand out by being specific with your qualifications and following all directions in the job posting.

Finding legitimate home-based jobs is not difficult. The challenge is getting hired, and it’s not uncommon to apply for a job, but never even get a response back. There are many reasons why you may not get a response from an employer, but most of them stem from the quality of resume you submit. Most job seekers view the resume as a laundry list of skills and experience, when in fact it’s a marketing brochure. Here are five reasons your resume might be ignored by potential employers.

Your resume is boring and generic. For every job opening, there are at least 75 applicants, according to George Washington University Office of Career Services. To compete with all those applicants, your resume needs to wow the employer. You can do that by tailoring each resume to the needs of the employer, stressing your value, and using active verbs to highlight your skills. Don’t just list typing as a skill. Instead say, “I type 80 words per minute.”

Your resume focuses on duties instead of results. Employers want to know you have the skills to do the job, but you can impress them by listing how your talents will help them. Translate your skills into results oriented benefits. For example, being able to type 80 words per minute means greater productivity.

Your resume sounds desperate. While employers might care that you’re in dire financial straits, they’re not going to hire you because of it. They don’t need to know your marital or parental status, or hobbies and skills that don’t relate to the job you’re applying for. You don’t need to explain any gaps in your work history. If the employer wants to know any of those things, they will ask during the interview. Remember, the goal of a resume is to focus on the skills and experiences you have to do the job the employer needs. Any other information is irrelevant and only wastes the employer's time.

You didn’t follow directions. More and more employers are vetting applicants by having them follow specific instructions for applying, such as using an exact subject line when emailing the resume. Some even state in the job listing that they don't want a standard, generic resume. Others don’t want a resume at all, but instead a statement about why you’re the best candidate for the job. All these instructions are important because if you don’t follow them, you’re showing the employer that you can't follow directions. Read every job announcement carefully, and make sure you send what it asks for, how it asks for it.

You sent your resume as an email attachment or it is illegible. In most cases, employers will ask that you email your resume in the body of an email. If it doesn’t specify how to send the resume, send it in the body of the email to avoid getting lost in the spam or antivirus filter. To ensure your resume is readable when it reaches the employer, don’t paste it from your word processing program into the email. Not all email programs are able to retain rich text or formatting such as indents and apostrophes. Instead, paste the resume into Notepad or another text editor, justify everything left, and then paste into your email. Use these instructions when pasting your resume into an online form as well.

The resume is the first chance you have to make an employer take notice. If it fails to impress, you don’t get an interview. Don’t let your resume end up in the deleted file. Make your resume stand out and follow the employers directions to improve your chances of getting a work-at-home job. Originally written by By LeslieTruex

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

I Would Have Written a Shorter Blog Post, but I Didn’t Have the Time.

Does this sound familiar to you? Originally the phrase has been attributed to Blaise Pascal in the form, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”. Do you think that the world would have known about Malala if she had not blogged about her ideas and communicated them online?

It is a fact that if you want to be successful online, you will have to learn to write. Writing is not only about blogging. Most digital products have text. Even videos have some sort of script. Presentations, slideshares, webinars, emails, autoresponders, press releases and most forms of squeeze or sales pages, are essentially text.

Each of these forms of communication has a different, somewhat specialized form of writing, but learning to blog on a consistent basis can help all of the other forms. You will often see that some of the best writers in a particular niche are also quite prolific.

That is not just coincidence.  It takes time, effort, and consistent practice to become a good writer, and extraordinary effort to become a great one.

You don’t have to have a fancy vocabulary, or perfect spelling, (always use a spell checker), but you do have to learn to communicate your ideas in a clear, if not persuasive manner. It is necessary to empathize enough with your reader, prospect, or customer to hold their attention, and help them to learn something they did not know before.

Blogging in particular requires good communication skill, but it is more than that. You have to have something to say that is interesting to the reader, and if possible, informative, educational, and even entertaining.

This is a tall order, without a doubt, but the good news is that blogging is an acquired skill. Especially in terms of efficiency, an online entrepreneur has many hats on this head, so no one can afford to spend excessive amounts of time dedicated to blogging.

I have to say that a new social network called MarketHive has taught me a great deal about blogging and blog promotion.

For most entrepreneurs, it is not easy to generate traffic to a blog, especially a new one without resorting to paid traffic methods. At MarketHive there is a rapidly growing base of friendly entrepreneurs that view content, comment, and quickly engage with your blog posts.

I find the number of views is quite remarkable considering the size of the network. Sometimes is not only size of the network that matters is it the level of engagement.

One final note: It really is true that practice makes perfect. With the right attitude, practice and using the right tools, anyone can learn to publish a blog post in about 30 minutes like this one.

For additional information on this topic visit Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout Blog and the following links:

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We are like this child when it comes to building a Social Network. Appreciation of others is the Key

 

We are like this child when it comes to building a Social Network. Appreciation of others is the Key

 
A young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview. The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked, '

Have you received a scholarship for school?' The boy replied, " No '.
' It was your father who paid for your studies? '
' Yes.'- He replied.
' Where does your father work? '
' My father is a Blacksmith'

The Director asked the young to show him his hands.

The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect.

' Have you ever helped your parents at their job? '
' Never, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.'

The director said:

' I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.'

The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.

When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash his hands.

His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed his hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father's hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.

This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his study. The bruises on the hands were the price that he paid for his education, his school activities and his future.

After cleaning his father's hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.

The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director.

The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young when He asked him: -' Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?'

The boy replied: -' I washed my father's hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop '

' Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents , I would not be who I am today . By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping the family.

The director said, "This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others , a person who knows the hardship of others to do things, and a person who does not put money as his only goal in life". ' You are hired '.

A child that has been coddled, Protected and usually given him what he wants, develops a mentality of " I have the right ' and will always put himself first, ignoring the efforts of their parents. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we destroying our children?

You can give your child a big house , good food , computer classes , watch on a big screen TV . But when you're washing the floor or painting a wall , please let him experience that too.

After eating have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you have no money to hire someone to do this it's because you want to love them the right way . No matter how rich you are, you want them to understand. One day your hair will have gray hair, like the father of this young man.

The most important thing is that your child learns to appreciate the effort and to experience the difficulties and learn the ability to work with others to get things done. "
 

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

11 Ways To Stay Organized When You Work At Home

11 Ways To Stay Organized When You Work At Home

 
Staying productive while working at home requires creating a workspace, staying semi-formal, and creating a schedule that includes breaks.
 
 
 
 
When you decided to become a work from home mom, you imagined how productive you would be. Not only would you be able to throw a load of dishes into the dishwasher, but you'd be able to fold clothes while on a telephone conference call, too.
 
Now that you're actually working from home, not only are the dishes piling up in the sink, but you haven't done laundry in two weeks, either. And the clean clothes? Forget it. They're in an ever-shrinking pile in the corner of your bedroom.
 
So what happened to being organized? Ironically, it's harder to be organized when you work at home than when you're in a traditional office job. But there are ways to stay organized and be productive when you work from home. Read on to see how-and to see when you should really be washing your delicates.
 
Create your workspace. If you don't already have an office space or an extra bedroom that you can convert into an office, you should take a walk around your house. Pick a spot that is not smack dab in the center of the action-like the kitchen counter-and where you won't be fighting with mops, brooms or other household items. Choose a location that can be yours indefinitely, and make that your dedicated space.
 
Set your hours. If you don't already have a schedule set by your boss, it's a good idea to come up with one. Having regular hours ensures that you can get your work done in a timely manner without working over your allotted hours. It also keeps you on track-and focused-by giving you a deadline by which to complete your work each day. If you work a little here, and a little there, you might end of stretching an 8 hour day into a 10 or 12-hour workday-and your mind will be scattered.
 
Make a list. In order to stay organized, a list (or four) is essential. When you make the list is up to you-you can carve 15 minutes at the end of your day to assess what needs to be done for the next workday, or you can write it all down the next morning while your computer is loading. A list is extremely helpful because it is a tangible reminder of what you need to get done during your day, before daily distractions interfere.
 
Be semi-formal. When you worked in a traditional office, you had to wear a suit every day…even during summer Fridays. By far, one of the major perks of a work at home job is that you can show up to work (i.e. your desk) wearing whatever you want. But that doesn't mean you should work in your jammies all day, either. Showering, changing out of your PJs and putting on something professional (yet comfortable) is a key step in helping you to mentally transition into work mode. After all, if you look and feel sloppy, it can cause you to be disorganized in your thoughts-and your work as well.
 
Find your peak hours. Everyone has a time of day when they feel their best. Perhaps you're a morning person, capable of getting most of your to-dos done by noon. But you might be a night owl, coming up with your best ideas-and increased productivity-while the rest of the world slumbers. Figure out when you have the most energy, and then adjust your schedule accordingly, giving yourself tougher tasks to perform when you're at your peak and feel the freshest.
 
Avoid doing housework. You innocently slip downstairs to put your bedspread into the washer when you notice that the kids have left their breakfast dishes in the family room. As you put the dirty dishes in the sink, you replace the paper towel roll and wipe down the counter. Without realizing it, 20 minutes have passed-and so has your deadline. While it makes sense to do some housework when you work at home, it can be one of the biggest distractions. It may not be the most exciting way to spend your lunch hour, but organize your household activities for your break times instead.
 
Clear your desk…daily. At the end of each workday, clear the clutter from your desk. File important papers in folders and shred the rest. Wipe down your desk (including your keyboard, mouse and screen) and remove any lingering coffee cups. The idea is to leave your desk as you would like to see it the next morning, clean, neat and organized. That way, you will feel energized-and not deflated-when you sit down at your desk tomorrow.
 
Screen your calls. Your family and friends all know that you work from home. So why does your Aunt Linda constantly call you at 10:30 AM, right when you're in a mid-morning work groove? People who don't work from home have a hard time understanding that while you are home, you are actually working. So it's a good idea to clarify to your callers that you can't be interrupted during certain hours. But if your bestie keeps ringing your number, it's best not to pick up the phone. That way, your clamoring callers will get the hint, and you won't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings.
 
Take breaks. It may seem counterintuitive to take breaks when you're trying to stay organized and maximize productivity, but you'll be far more successful if you take mini breaks throughout the day. To help add order to your day, try to take your break at the same times throughout the day.
 
Focus on one task at a time. Sure, everyone wants to consider themselves master multitaskers, but the reality is that humans can really only do one thing at a time effectively. So shine some of that laser-like focus only on one project, and do it really well. After all, if you have 10 windows open on your two computer screens, are on a conference call while you write that press release that was due an hour ago, you're going to do a bad job at all of it. Like everything else, it's about quality, not quantity.
 
Be flexible. You may have done everything possible to ensure a distraction-free day. But then your child became ill and had to come home early from day camp. The thing is, when you are a work at home mom, things happen. And since you're most likely the manager of your home, it's up to you to handle it all. So don't beat yourself up if your day isn't as productive as you might have liked it to be. One of the beauties of having a flexible schedule is that you can-and must-be adaptable. When your sick camper hits the hay, you can always jump back on the computer to complete your work-and get it all done.
 
While working from home has so many benefits, it can be an ocean of distractions if you don't know how to navigate it properly. Stay focused to keep a clear, organized workflow, and watch your productivity soar.
 

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

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