Category Archives: Semi-Popular

How to get more clients for your BPO or Call Center (Compilation)

Categories: Call Center, Compilations, Popular on Twitter, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

We wrote many blog articles about outsource marketing that were so popular, we were not able to top them. However, many of these articles are from long time back and they never resurface to the top of the feed of our blog. So, we are going to bring them back in the form of a compilation to give you a choice of many articles!

How to attract more clients to your call center part 1
Relationships are the key to success. How well do you get to know people and nurture the relationship? It might all start with a cold call, so get your fingers ready to dial.

How to attract more clients to your call center part 2
Hiring the right staff and training them meticulously is part of the secret. You need to mentor them, coach them, and keep metrics on them. Experienced workers will keep your clients happy, so don’t deliver any novices or you’ll all be sorry.

How to find clients for call centers — good salespeople
You could have the best call center in the world, but without the right salespeople, getting new clients might not be so easy. Having well trained salespeople is key, and having a few extras around might not be such a bad idea either.

How to get clients for call centers — contracts!
Getting clients is just half the battle. Once they agree to do business with you, what type of contract should you use? Should it be rigid and long term, or a more relaxed month to month contract that is more “friendly?”

How to acquire clients for call centers — presentation!
If you provide a good service, that is half the battle. But, how you present yourself online and over the phone can mean the difference between gaining that new clients and losing them.

How to gain clients for your call center: Pay-Per-Click!
There are many ways to get clients for your call center, but attracting people using PPC can be one of the fastest. You’ll need to know all of your keyword variations inside out and how the Google Adwords and other systems work. After that it is all systems go!

How to acquire call center clients — looking like a big company
Some people are comfortable hiring a small company. But, larger clients prefer to play ball with larger companies. So, how to you appear to be large when you are not?

Is an English accent important? Just do your job!
Some call centers in India like to have agents with seemingly perfect English accents. But, the key to getting ahead lies more in quality work than in flashy accents.

Gaining new clients and nurturing them correctly
We all have our hands out for new clients. However, how often are we there to solve their problems or just ask them how things are going? Do we woo them the right way? And how is our credibility?


Half a million Filipino call center workers are on American time
It is hard to think of people staying up all night just to please us in America, but in the Philippines, this is a reality!

Why Indian Call Centers Fail
Many call centers are new startups that lack the skills or discipline to keep their work up to high standards. They also hire staff who often lack experience or training. The results are catastrophic!

Handling Stress in a Call Center Office
People who work at call center offices burn out fast. The problem is that they do too many hours of calling each day and have no mechanism of de-stressing. We propose a long list of proven techniques to eliminate your stress today!

Attracting clientele via — the 1st step is a powerful directory for attracting outsourcing business. Learn how to use our tool the right way!

Are you tired of outsourcing to India?
The cultural behaviors in India are not usually to our liking in the US unless you get lucky and find someone really considerate. See how cultural differences ruin outsourcing relationships.

Is it better to have a woman do your phone calls?
Men are better at being authoritative, but women are less threatening. Who should you hire for your next process?

Are your callers annoying?
Finding call center reps with pleasing voices and personalities should be your main priority. Learn the art of interaction in this quick article!

How to start an outsourcing company
Be an expert in your field and have a decisive offering. But, what about free trials? Am I crazy? Learn step by step what you need to do and get prepared!

How to write a resume for an outsourcing job!
How do you document your education, professional membership and job objectives? Should you use chronological order or inverse? What else should you put on the resume?

Create stories in your blog about the experience of your clients
Do you want to be good at marketing in 2015? Marketing is all about storytelling these days, so learn the art. If you are good at blogging too, so much the better!

From 100 Indian call centers down to 1
When we weeded out the unprofessional call centers on our directory, we got rid of almost all of the Indian call centers. They didn’t answer their phone professionally and didn’t behave as if they were “real” businesses either.

Cottage industries in India ruin India’s outsourcing reputation
Many outsourcing companies in India are not real companies. When you call them and ask their company name, they often have multiple names and multiple ventures all run out of someone’s bedroom that are often not real businesses at all.

Solutions to India’s transportation problem
India is a country filled with traffic jams and new overpasses being built daily. But, what if they used more innovative solutions like moving walkways and standing only buses? Hmm…

Are you a thinker or a doer?

Categories: Motivation, Semi-Popular | Leave a comment

Many of us talk more than we do, and others do more than we talk. Others think a lot and do very little. Others do, but do without much though which leads to ineffective results. Some people have a job that requires talking, so for them talking is doing. But, the secret to success is the successful combination of thinking and doing.

If you have a great idea, but great idea is seldom of any value unless it is refined and implemented. 99% of the battle is the perspiration that comes after the inspiration. But, what about tweaking and adjusting the idea to be optimal? Many of us just think that someone thinks of an idea, and gets rich just like that. It is the adjustment of the idea to real conditions that matters more than the idea itself.

In real life, I find my business career consisting of a lot of smaller decisions for the most part. I find new ways to make my regular business processes a little more refined. Perhaps I find a better person to do the job, or a faster or better way of doing the job. I decide which processes can be skipped, and how often to do each process. There are many decisions which are more like adjustments than anything else. Many business people don’t think of fine-tuning the tasks they do every day. But, sometimes success comes from exactly that.

So, if you are neither a thinker or a doer, you are doomed. But, if you do both, find the right combination and find new success!

10 quick factors that differentiate a good blog entry from a bad one

Categories: Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many people write blogs, but most writers are not that interesting. Even some of the more famous blogs out there have very predictable and dull contents. So, how do you write winning blogs every time? It is not an exact science, but here are some tips.

(1) Having the right photo vs. having “a” photo.
Any blog about blogging will emphasize how you need a photo and how you will get more shares on Facebook, pins on Pinterest, and popularity in general by having a photo. But, having a mediocre photo might not get you much traction. You need to compare photos and see which ones get you the best following. Compare your analytics and use your senses. A good photo makes you say, “awe.” If you don’t have a reaction to the photo you are using, it is probably not the best you can do. Be selective if you want traffic. Thriving on the internet is based purely on how good you are at selecting and/or crafting top content and not on having mediocre photos.

(2) Length matters
I have the habit of jotting my ideas down on my iphone’s notes section. Then I’ll write lots of quick blog entries. This is a great way to experiment. However, most of the quick blogs I wrote that were three or four paragraphs with no sub-headers didn’t get read more than a few times. The blogs that were the most successful were about 500-700 words, and had many points within a greater theme, each with bolded sub-headers above each paragraph.

(3) Uniqueness is a huge factor
Many people write blog entries on topics that have been done to death. This might be okay if you offer a unique new twist on an old theme kind of like how Mozart wrote dozens of variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as a child. However, picking unique themes that will be populur to a very general audience is the not so easy to master key to popular blogging. If you are in a niche industry, you might not be able to stay relevant while pleasing the masses, but at least please the masses who have some relationship to your niche market!

(4) Promotion on Social Media is critical
If you do not have a good social media presence, you might find it hard to promote your blog. If you blog regularly and the Google Gods pick you up, then you can get traffic from them. But, that can take hundreds of blog entries to accumulate a significant start with the Gods. It takes time to develop a massive Twitter, Instagram or Facebook presence, so try to master social media as that is one of your keys to getting your blog articles in the door with readers.

(5) Networking with co-bloggers
If you have a proofreader, partner, or comedian who can add some humor to your blogs, this can really help. It makes sense to invest in blog articles that are already popular by sprucing those ones up. There is no point in improving upon blog articles with ideas that didn’t work though or new articles which you are not sure about.

(6) Being too factual seems to alienate readers
There are many bloggers who are great at researching facts and figures. They pride themselves on providing “useful” information. But, the reality is that people want articles that are fun, interesting, or that can change their lives with little or no effort. Yes, a good blog article needs some facts to back up your claims and hypotheses, but being overly factual doesn’t normally lead to articles that get read much. The overly factual articles sit on the shelf.

(7) Articles with many points on a single topic often win big.
Do you see titles such as 8 ways to succeed on social media or 11 ways to get your cat to meao more? These are titles that work. On social media, most bloggers make the mistake of not including unique content in the tweet itself. The result is generic looking titles that I would not invest any reading time in. Blog articles that have a theme and two or three examples do not do well. Longer articles with seven, ten, or twenty-eight ways to for example succeed in social media seem to do better. But, be unique about how you write and promote these articles otherwise they too will end up lost in cyberspace.

(8) Excite and entertain
Nobody wants to go back to a blog that puts them to sleep. You need to find a way for your blog to be easy to read, fun, and exciting. With half of the world’s population now claiming to be bloggers, you have to differentiate your boring content from everyone else’s, so try to be interesting!

(9) Too much advice can be a bad thing
My very best blog articles did the worst. But, why? Because I gave really fine-tuned technical advice for how to do better in business, social media, or in hiring. Too much nitpicky and analytical advice doesn’t usually do well unless your audience demands it. Additionally, I am writing to an average business oriented crowd and not to a high-brow crowd. Sometimes if I write above the level of my readers, they become alienated.

(10) Sentence structure of the title really matters
If you analyze blog titles and which ones do well, you will quickly understand that simple grammar actually sells. Subject – Object -Verb is a great structure to start with. My best blog article of all time had a title – Steve Jobs watched his programmers carefully, so should you! It was simple, had a powerful message, and a call to action. Not all posts that use the formula for success will be successful, but it is a good place to start.

(11) A call to action
A good blog entry should get people out of their chair. There should be a call to action. They should want to get up and make a change to their life or business right after reading it. A call to action could be part of the title, like in my Steve Jobs example, and should definitely be at the end of a blog entry.

(12) Know your audience and personalize
It is hard to know the intricacies of your audience — their likes and dislikes. You have to experiment and learn little by little what they like as a group. And they will surprize you many times as well. I mentioned before that if I write articles that are too technical, analytical or high-brow my audience tends to not read them. On the other hand, if I write interesting articles with a meaningful and understandable point, they will get a generous supply of traffic.

(13) So, what can you do?
Start by experimenting and look at your analytics. Try to figure out which articles worked best and why. Look at what other people are publishing and what did better on their Facebook or Twitter. There is no way to absolutely master the art of knowing what is popular on social media, but the closer you look, the better you get. So start today, and as always, choose some pictures that knock your socks off! I am not using photos yet except on Facebook promoted posts, but I’ll begin using them soon as my blog grows!

The Rupee Mentality

Categories: Of Interest, Semi-Popular, Success | Leave a comment

Do you have the rupee mentality?

Some people start thinking about all the small details. They calculate exactly to the penny or the rupee what someone is charging them. It is really annoying when people count every rupee. They end up annoying you so much that you don’t want to do business with them in the long run. Penny-wise and pound-foolish is an English proverb that applies to those who lose important business deals because they were stuck thinking about pennies.

Some companies save money by hiring the cheapest employees who can’t even function. Others save money by not training their employees. They don’t even realize they are saving money because they never even considered investing in training. Others count the exact price of something without taking a deeper look at the value of the offering. Sometimes the value is not easily discernable which makes it hard. But, the exact price means little if you don’t know the worth.

I notice that when I am in India I start thinking small just like Indians. I argue over ever last rupee with the cab drivers. I count every penny I spend on tip. And I am paying extra attention to anyone who is gauging me and generally fire them immediately if at all possible. Even if you don’t talk to any misers, just being around them is enough to get you thinking like one.

As a general rule, at this stage in my life, it is more about the long term of a business relationship. I don’t care exactly what I am paying someone as that has no reflection on anything. I care more about whether or not this person will be true to me and helpful in the long run. If I have to hire and fire and hire and fire, I am losing a lot of my own time. My personal time is worth about triple or quadruple what I pay an experienced beginner to work for me, so the main thing is to conserve my own time while getting the job done right. Unfortunately, most service providers are not appropriate, and I end up doing too much myself. But, on a brighter note, I no longer have the rupee mentality. Now , I am counting the minutes I waste rather than the pennies I lose!

Why you Should Hire a Comedian Instead of a CEO to Co-Blog.

Categories: Humor, Popular on Twitter, Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carbonating my Business Blog with Some Fizz
I am a business person, and if you read my blog regularly, it is likely that you are too! I struggled for a long time to find people who could help me blog. Sometimes people would think of generic sounding topics while others came up with bizarre and interesting stories. However, to have a constant supply of zany and interesting ideas, I needed more. Since I am a business person and very active on social media, I am bombarded with blog titles of every description and have no trouble thinking of more. I can easily write about business themes. So, if I hired someone with a business mind just like me, what would be the point — we already have a business mind here. What readers like, is some pizazz, and some clever jokes thrown in — and some professional proofreading never hurts ether — make that “either”.

Business + Humor = Success
Laugh and the world blogs with you. As a writer for three blogs, I like to throw some humor in on a regular basis. However, as a shrewd businessman, I’m shrewd enough to know I have no business writing comedy! The point is to align two different types of minds with different but complementary skills. In my case, I have a business-oriented mind with some industry-specific knowledge. My comedy writer is not only a comedian, but is a seasoned writer capable of professional proofreading — and that’s no joke. (The last time I put an ad in the paper for a seasoned writer, I got a Cajun guy from Baton Rouge with absolutely no experience applying for the job!)

Collaborative Brainstorming With Finesse
My writer and I join forces and in an hour can brainstorm more than a dozen interesting and funny blog titles. Then, we sometimes work together to develop themes. The actual writing of the blog might be done by him, or by myself and then “touched up” by him. He’ll clean up some small mistakes, find some areas that need finessing, and he’ll also ramp up the humor wherever possible. The other people I interviewed either couldn’t think of even one blog title, or came up with titles that sounded as cookie cutter and generic as the description cookie cutter and generic. My comedy writer comes up with stuff that is off the wall, but that is always a hit with both of the industries that I cater to.

Two Similar Minds — a Two Headed Monster?
If two like-minded business people wrote blogs together, there would be no jokes. They would debate whether or not to have pie charts, or graphs. Whether to cater to the lay-person, or higher level professionals. You might learn something before falling into a deep slumber reading their informative articles. If my comedy writer worked over their blog, he would chuck the charts and throw the pie graphs in their faces and start all over again to find a more laughable way to present the facts! Graphs and charts enhance the digestibility of information, but without a spoonful of sugar, the medicine won’t go down.

Incompatible Minds
On the other hand, if you partner up with someone whose thoughts are completely out of sync with yours, you won’t get anywhere collaborating. Finding your perfect match is not easy in the writing world. Rather than a comedian, it could be a stunt driver or a bartender — and I’ll drink to that, preferably not while stunt driving! But, whatever you do, don’t hire a CEO to help you with your business blog!

You might also like:

A standup comedian at a standup restaurant in India

Change your brain by the people you are with

A new specialty for your call center — suicide hotline

Hitting the 10,000 mark on Twitter!

Categories: Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I just hit the 10,000 mark on one of my Twitter accounts. It is kind of exciting. Not as exciting as hitting 100,000, but still good. Since that account is in a niche market, the potential for future growth looks slow. But, there is still potential in the long run, retweeted posts don’t go anywhere because the friends of industry specific people are not in the same industry. My other account which is more of a general business and social media account appeals to a much larger cut of society leaving my retweets sometimes going viral on a good day.

I know it all now — I think!
I think that the bigger issue is that I feel I have “figured out” Twitter, and Google+. I have done well on Facebook. My success path seems paved for me, although I have only achieved a small success so far. I know what to do now. I know I can get that big success. It is just a factor of doing more repetitive work, or outsourcing the work to someone else.

The most important thing is your account name!
One lesson I’ve learned about social media, is the biggest factor that can cause your ultimate success or failure is your name. Not your personal name — your account name. It’s a little like the old days. If you grew up 60 years ago in the formerly mostly Jewish Lower East Side and your name was Noddington, you just won’t be as popular as if your name was Horowitz!

I want to master more networks
I want to ultimately do social media consulting. But, I want to be the best one. I want to know the top ten networks really well. Even if I don’t physically manage them, I want to supervise and do the strategy work. For me it is all about the strategy, not the leg work, although it is good to be good at both.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but in my account with 10,000 followers, I’m changing the focus from acquiring more followers to posting more and milking the network for clicks. Wish me well! It will be fun to see what the future holds for my other accounts!

18 ways to boost your social media marketing in 10 minutes / day!

Categories: Popular on Twitter, Semi-Popular, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We all love social media, but how many of us are good at it? It is a full time devotion to really be good at social media, and that is only if you are smart and keep your eyes open. But, not all of us have full time to work on our Twitter or Facebook accounts. So, what are the quick ways to get ahead? How can I take my magic social media pill and go viral tonight? Here’s how!

Here are some effective things you can do in 10 minutes per day or less!

(1) Follow people who share a lot in 10 minutes per day!
You can find sharers on Twitter, Google Plus and other mediums. If you click on articles that got shared a lot, you can see who the sharers are on Twitter. It is easy. Just be prepared to have your inbox filled with other irrelevant junk they shared. If you get shared a lot on Twitter or other mediums, you can grow fast. Following sharers will give them a chance to follow you back and share the hell out of your content. Many big accounts on Twitter only get a few shares per post. You can have a small account and get up to 15 shares per post using my simple technique. The people you follow who share must be semi-relevant or my strategy will backfire! 10 minutes a day of following sharers will change your life!

(2) The mute function on Twitter contains the chatter
Tired of people who tweet too much Twitter litter? Try the mute function. That way you are still officially following them, but you don’t have to hear any of the chatter. Oh what a relief it is. Just spend two or three minutes muting annoying people and you’ll be all the happier.

(3) Lists on Twitter isolate winning content in minutes!
You can favorite a tweet, but Google circles and Lists on Twitter allow you to arrange your favorite followers into lists. I get lots of great content to retweet by putting my best several dozen in my various segmented lists. I mostly ignore the others, but don’t tell them that. It’s nothing personal, but their tweets are not all that! Segmenting your top followers into lists takes only minutes!

(4) Boost your follow-backs by 50% overnight
We all follow people on Twitter, and we all retweet. However, we mostly do this the wrong way. Let’s say I am going to target politically interested people. I might get my followers from Obama’s Twitter. If you want the maximum percent of them to follow you back, retweet Obama’s best tweet from the last two or three days, and retweet some other hot political content. Your follow-back rate will go up by about 50% just from this simple yet logical technique.

(5) Google+ communities are a gold mine, but…
Google+ is a hard medium to grow on. The actual process of following people takes time, and they limit how many you can follow. Follow back percentage rates are low even with the most relevant of followers. So, what is the secret to Google+? The secret is to grow a community. Although it takes work to grow Google+ communities to a critical mass where you’ll be seen on big keywords, it pays. You’ll get a waterfall of new followers if you include a big keyword in your community name and get critical mass. You can grow a Google+ community in 10 minutes per day, but you would be better off outsourcing this task to India and have them spend four hours a day inviting people from 20 different accounts to your single community.

(6) Facebook: test and isolate your winning content
Facebook gets me more traffic than anywhere else. But, you cannot use it ramdomly. Use it strategically. Test out any of your content that you feel is promising. Then, track your stats, isolate the top 5% of your content, and use Facebook PPC to promote those posts. I did this and went from 300 clicks a month to 5700 three months later on Facebook. I am still in a state of shock. It takes only minutes to identify your best content, but the reward will make you happy for hours!


You might also like:
Facebook knows you better than your mama, but how well do you know your customers?

How to use the right keywords in your blog titles that lead to instant popularity

Pimp my Tweet — a BPO company specializing in Twitter


(7) Experiment with different post titles
If you post the same old thing the same old way, you’ll get mediocre results. But, what if you find hot new ways to promote your content? I will often write up to ten tweets for a single post just to see which one does the best? The way you write your post titles can affect your traffic. A winning title can get you 10x the clicks! A few extra minutes experimenting with post titles will change your entire profile’s performance overnight!

(8) Post other people’s winning content as well.
Yes, post your own content, and yes, post the best of your content over and over again. But, to gain popularity, diversity of articles sells. I run an outsourcing blog, but I post tons of general business articles from Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes and other popular magazines. They write really interesting stuff, and I use it to my benefit. I sometimes retweet them, and other times rewrite a title and post it under my own account on various social media channels. This gets me tons of shares, tons of growth, and takes only minutes per day. If you prefer, you can spend four hours at a time, and prefer all of your tweets for the next month all in one shot. But, remember, if you post other people’s content, make sure it is winning content that your followers will enjoy reading.

(9) Post more often on Twitter
Many people post one or two tweets a day on Twitter. There is nothing wrong with this. But, if your account is big enough, you might consider posting 24 hours a day using a system that you can input the posts ahead of time. If you are posting 24 hours a day once or twice per hour, you will reach a lot of people who would never notice you otherwise.

(10) Posting 2x per day on Facebook got me 4x the clicks
2×1 = 4. In math it doesn’t, but on Facebook it does. I posted double the content and got quadruple the clicks. The secret here is that by posting more, your audience becomes more engaged and visits your page more often. If they visit more, then you will get more clicks and shares. So, 2×1 = 4 Do the math… or in this case, don’t do the math. Finding out what frequency to post is critical in social media, so experiment.

(11) Post at the right time on your mediums.
I tested out what times my Twitter audience for my notary twitter was at it’s best. 10:30 am to 3pm was the peak. I got 50% more shares then than at other times of the day. Late at night did particularly poorly. Unfortunately I’m up all night, so I do better when my social media manager can pre-publish my tweets to go off at the ideal time. Put in the same effort tweeting, but tweet at the right time, and get up to double the benefit!

(12) Try a dozen social media platforms, but focus on one
Many of us try to do too much. But, you need a pecking order for which social media platforms you use. The one that gets you the best performance needs to be first on your list. Sure it is good to be found everywhere, but certain accounts only merit a few minutes twice a week while your bread and butter deserve at least 10 minutes per day, perhaps up to an hour. If you allocate your time strategically, you’ll get a lot more out of each hour you spend on social media. I did exactly this. I used to spend an hour per month creating my Facebook post list. Now, I spend four hours, and my results went from 300 clicks per month to 5700 clicks per month. That was the account that panned out, and it became a gold mine after I allocated my time strategically.

(13) Grow it fast & milk it
Social media campaigns generally do not give you much fruit until they are huge. They have the same growth pattern as trees. Some trees will never grow that well no matter what you do while others will grow fast if given the ideal soil, fertilizer and love. Rather than spending an hour per week evenly distributed between five social media platforms, it makes sense to find the one that grows fast and delivers results and crank it. Find a way to grow it huge, and then you’ll get a Niagara Falls of traffic and perhaps SEO popularity from it. If you grow your Twitter to 100,000, you only spend 40 seconds pasting in your tweet, but it will reach 1/10th of a million people and probably get shared a lot too. If you have five accounts with 20,000, you spend five times the effort to reach the same quantity of people!

(14) Blog writing strategies in a nutshell
Write about whatever you want to. But, remember that the blog content you share can tell you a lot about what you should be writing about. If you share an article about Zen and the art of political sabotage and your crowd likes it, then you should try to write your own blog entry with a similar title, but with content designed by you. Your version of the article is likely to be a lot more popular than your average idea simply because you based it on a winner.

(15) Use what I call keyword anchors.
I’m not sure how other people use these terms in an internet context, but to me a keyword anchor is a term that is hot in the industry. It is sort of like having a Macy’s in a mall at the end of a long hallway. You know that Macy’s will attract traffic because they are famous, and they are hot. I write blogs and share content all the time, and I study what is hot. In the context of tech business, posts about Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Google, Starbucks, Cloud Technology, Apps, or other popular topics generate a lot of clicks. There are also more general anchors like pets, cats, wine, food, and other topics that please the masses. People are familiar with these people or concepts and will relate and like your articles more easily because you integrated these into your blogs. So, if you want to write about an office party you are planning. You might consider writing about how Google throws an office party and then integrate your personal office party into the blog entry somehow. Tying themes together is the secret to popular blogging — try it! It’s not hard.

(16) How to get over “idea block” which is similar to writers’ block.
Can’t think of ideas for what to write about? Just read what others are writing about. The more you create, the more creative juices you’ll have and the more you read, the most collective knowledge will be in your head which will help you think of ideas and write better.

(17) Optimize the sources you get your followers from
Are you spending an hour a day following people on social media? Are they the right people? Think of people in terms of the groups they are associated with first. After all, you are sourcing your leads from particular sources. If you get your business followers from Forbes, track how many of them follow you back in a 48 hour period. Then, follow people from Wall Street Journal. See if the percentage goes up or down. Keep in mind that the follow back rate can vary based on what you tweeted more recently, so keep that relatively constant so you don’t ruin your experiment. You can increase your follow back rate up to 30% by following a more optimized relevant source!

(18) Crank them out
Like to write blog articles? Not all of them need to be perfectly written. The important thing is to churn them out. As a blog manager, you need quantity on your blog. If you find out that a particular article was popular, you can spend two hours with your professional writer friend touching it up or rewriting it. In the mean time, see which themes are working for you. I can write an average of four articles per hour. But, if I do refined work it could easily take four hours for one piece. Four hours makes sense for something that got 1000 views so far, but for something that will only get 20 views? I don’t think so!


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How to choose which posts to share on social media and how often

99 ways to die in social media — choose one!

How to get half a million followers on Twitter


Gaining new clients and nurturing them correctly

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Semi-Popular | Tagged | Leave a comment

Everybody in the outsourcing world wants more clients. But, they don’t always take the right steps to gain or keep those clients. In fact, in my experience, they do a perfect job at alienating clients from start to finish. It is as if they don’t want clients. Maybe when they way they want clients, they mean they want money without the hassle of the client. In the real world, money comes after you satisfied a client, not before.

I wrote other blog entries about how to effectively use your web site and social media to turn your leads into clients. I explained how a professional staff specializing in answering the phone can save you from losing more than half of your qualified leads. But, there is more…

Price Breaks
Many companies set their prices high so they can make a decent profit margin. This is a mistake when trying to get new clients, especially B2B clients who can become long term income producers. The main fact to understand is that gaining a new client is difficult, but their long term value can be in the millions. The key is to get them on board. If you lose the millions so you can make a few extra thousand in the next month, you missed the point. Give people lower prices in the beginning so you can get them on board. Once they are satisfied, then you can charge them a moderate price. Don’t try to gauge people though. You can lose very loyal clients by overcharging, so be very sensitive to the type of bills you are sending out at all times.

Problem Solving
Most outsourcing companies have the big boss who handles all problems. The problem is that the problem solver is generally not available to solve problems, and doing a hundred other things at the same time if they are even in the office which is another problem. It is easier if readily accessible employees are trained to solve commonly occurring problems. If a customer can get their problem solved easily, they will be less likely to leave. Even if the employee solves a simple problem in a way that is not beneficial for the company, at least the customer will be happy they didn’t end up with a splitting headache. Empower your employees to solve problems (unless they are a problem employee.)

Are their risks associated with your company?
Does your company have a BBB rating? Do you have testimonials from satisfied clients? What type of 3rd party credibility do you have? You need to make sure that prospective clients have an easy time finding unbiased 3rd party information about your company. They are not going to believe what you say about your company because you are a salesperson.

Making it easy
Is it easy for new clients to get a job done at your company? Do they have to call ten times to reach you once? Do you have complicated contracts that you force them to sign? Or, do you just make it easy to start with easy terms and flexible options? If you make life easy for your clients, they will make like easy for your wallet. It’s a simple rule of business!

Top Viral Images, and how they spread.

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Mastering the art of knowing what is viral and why is a fascinating undertaking. Knowing exactly the twists and turns it takes to spread is even more interesting. But, what spreads more — images, great articles, or videos? The answer is that images tend to be more popular, but the spread of various types of content depends heavily on the particular medium. Text tweets can do very well on Twitter, while a good vertical photo can do miracles on Google Plus.

Appeal to the general public
One thing to understand about viral content is that is needs to appeal to the general public. If you have a post about widgets, only people who like widgets will share that post. The people they share it with will not likely enjoy widgets which means the sharing will end right there and the post will not go viral.

Where does content spread?
Viral content can be spread on blogs, forums, social networks, web sites, and company intranets.

What types of posts go viral?
Popular images might make a point, tell a quick story, or appeal to people on an emotional level. Being funny or entertaining generally helps. But, your image or post needs to appeal to the masses. It could be a breath taking photo, or something that makes you start laughing at first glance. Or it could be something really interesting.

Integrating industry specific with viral themes
One technique that sophisticated marketers use these days is to integrate popular themes into industry specific blog entries. If you are writing about widgets, you could write about how your puppies are happy the minute they see a widget, or how you love enjoying a widget with your morning mocha. You would be surprised at how powerful pets and coffee are in social media.

Tracking the viral flow
Once an image goes viral, it is difficult to track how it spread. It might be easier to follow the expansion of a particular post on a particular network like Twitter for example. For an image to go viral, it needs to be published by a particular account. Then, at least one of the accounts following that account need to share the content again. The reason why even the best content out there rarely goes viral is:

What can go wrong
(1) The account posting doesn’t have many followers, or doesn’t have many active followers

(2) At any particular moment in time, less than 1% of your Twitter followers are on Twitter and will have the chance to perhaps see your post.

(3) If you do get shared, the follower who shared your post may not have that many followers. If you have 10,000 followers, and only one shares your post and that one has only 10 followers, your post will not get seen.

(4) If you do get shared, but the people following the people who follow you don’t find your post interesting because they are in a different industry or have different interests, there goes your virality!

(5) You posted your post at the wrong time of the day

(6) Group consciousness would have liked your post in 2011, but not in 2015 for some unknown reason.

To really go viral, you need to attract the attention of what Vegas casinos call “Whales.” You need a few really huge accounts to retweet you, or at least a lot of somewhat large accounts. That way the message has a chance to spread, and keep spreading. You need a really hot post, and a lot of luck too. Sometimes a hot post will spread like crazy. Then, it will die down. Post the same thing a month later, and nobody is interested. My suggestion — pray to the viral gods — put your destiny in their hands.

How to create a company culture like Google’s & have fun while doing it

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Is it possible to run a successful business and still have fun?
In this modern business culture, having fun might be the only way. Too many companies out there have uninspired employees. There is no enthusiasm about work, innovating, or connecting with the others at work. Try being a customer of a company like that! No thanks! I’ll pass.

Google invests heavily in its culture, having the right offices formatted the right way, and paying people to work on their own little projects. What is the result? A job that means something. Most people find no satisfaction at work, but Google employees work in a stimulating atmosphere where it is hard not to find meaning in their work.

1. Start by hiring the right people
If you hire people who have no enthusiasm, you will not be able to create a culture around them. Even one toxic or boring person will ruin your culture. Culture is a hard thing to build and a lot can go wrong. You might be advised to find people whose last job was in a cool culture. But, if they were in such a cool environment, why would they quit unless they were forced to move?

2. Some companies out there are learning that the most dynamic conversations happen when people bump into each other in the hall way, or by accident somewhere. Some companies are designing their offices specifically to engineer more of these spontaneous combustion type conversations that lead to innovations. It might be hard to rebuild your building, but I’m sure there are things you could do to keep people bumping into each other by accident.

3. Many call centers who do BPO outsourcing do Google type things like having contests, prizes, and winners to keep the excitement going. Call center work is not quite as innovative as being part of the Google culture, but by keeping the momentum going, they do create a positive culture at some of the more successful call cneters. Remember, that they have the highest burnout rate of any profession, so they have to keep the environment positive.

4. Fitness counts, but try getting your employees to the mountains or beach. Google offers on-site fitness like swimming pools, gyms, and more. Nothing builds that winning feeling like working out. Fat, unhealthy workers might not contribute much to a vibrant culture, but if you get them moving, you might be surprised. I have an innovative job, and I need to keep my life exciting just to function. I go hiking, walking, and try new restaurants in my area. That is how I personally maintain a positive one-person culture if there is such a thing!

5. Do more for your employees to make them feel special.
I drive to my employees homes to give them a check on a regular basis. Perhaps they take this for granted, but no other boss would do that. It personalizes the work. Giving people unique birthday celebrations, or celebrating special occasions in an unusual way is another way to foster a positive and innovative culture.

6. Google has a billiards room, a slide, a rowboat, table soccer, and other unusual objects. At Google, work is designed to be mixed with play. After all, you won’t be at your smartest or happiest if you never have any fun.

7. Google hires people who are from all walks of life, speak dozens of languages and who pursue a wide range of interests including beekeeping, frisbee and fox-trotting. It might be a good idea to find out what types of hobbies your applicants have before hiring them if you want a lively job atmosphere. And if someone doesn’t have a hobby, you might try having a program to help incubate new hobbies.

8. The Google culture is associated with a startup culture, but Google has thousands of employees. The secret to maintaining the startup culture is to maintain an environment where employees can communicate freely with higher ups, and people in other departments in a casual way in the cafeteria, gym, or other parts of the company.

9. Do things outside of the office as a team. Google employees often go hiking, skiing or have picnics together. Building the bonds of a recreational culture in the workplace create strong bonds and good feelings. Personally, I think that rock climbing builds the healthiest relationships between people. Rock climbers are the coolest, not to mention the fact that you are putting your life in someone’s hands if they belay you which builds trust in the work place (assuming nobody dies.)

So, you can be more like Google. It’s easy. Just think of things you can do. But, if you think it is too hard, then you’re probably a boring defeatist and aren’t up to Google’s cool standards anyway — so give up! You’ll never make it! But, for the rest of us — we can — and success starts with a short brainstorming session and a few quick actions.

Hiring Programmers? How to spot a reclusive geek!

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Many of us hire programmers from time to time. But, learning how to understand these bizarre personality types requires training. They are not like the rest of us unless they are in a management position of some sort.

There are many types of personality traits common to programmers.
Some are gentle, others are hostile, a few are brilliant, many are actually mentally impaired or behave that way (how can they write code if they can’t think?) The one trait that the majority have in common is that they are anti-social. Programmers normally lack the skill to interact with others. But, the worst part from a management perspective is that they lack the desire to interact positively with others.

Many Programmers Many Cultures
I’ve hired programmers (or tried to) in a variety of cultures ranging from American, Latin, Indian, Filipino and Eastern European. The cultures are all different, but the traits of programmers maintain a similar theme. The Americans are better at communicating although they typically choose not to. They often will complete a task, but fail to inform you of that fact unless you harrass them many times asking, “What’s going on?” The Indians are generally more friendly which is a cultural reality, but often lack the skills to answer simple English questions. I always ask them what they would do if they won a million dollars. The answers are typically no more than eight words which is not very detailed. My Costa Ricans offered to do a test project for free, but went on vacation in the middle of the 2 hour project and never came back. Eastern Europe was more polite as a destination, but bizarre. When I asked the million dollar question I was informed that it was a complicated quesiton and that he needed to think for a very long time to answer it. All I wanted was a quick answer to verify that he was able and willing to communicate in simple English sentences.

Big Trouble Awaits if your Programmer Refuses to Communicate
Please be informed that hiring someone unwilling to communicate can undermine very expensive software projects. You might be paying $50,000 to get some coding done, and the programmer will refuse to answer calls, will never even email you back, and doesn’t want you around. What if there is a problem with the project and you are forced to interact with them and they won’t? Or what if they are so anti-social and irresponsible that they quit in the middle of a project? Finding a programmer with semi-decent social skills is critical for your survival, so pay attention to this during the interview process.

Telltale signs to identify an anti-social geek.

(1) Sitting silently at the interview
Have you ever gone to a programming interview where the programmer and the project manager are both there? The project manager by nature wants to dominate the conversation and impress you while the programmer might be sitting silently for hours. This is something you might ignore, but it is a serious warning sign. If you are going to have any serious dealings with the programmer, you might be in for some real trouble. At the critical moment, he might just dump your project or refuse to communicate. This happened to me.

(2) Having the receptionist always be your point of contact (avoidance)
You interview the company and you are impressed that they answer the phone whenever you call them which is only true of about 20% of programming companies. Most programming companies avoid their customers (and humans in general) and don’t want to answer their phone. I found a company that always answered the phone. The problem was that the “go-between” assured me that she would be able to give me all pertinent information about the progress of my project and not to worry. The programmer was “busy” and couldn’t be interrupted… ever. The problem here was that the programmer was UNWILLING to talk to me, and that the go-between receptionist was cut off from accurate information about the project since the programmer didn’t record any records of what he had actually done (or not done.) Yes, it is true that programmers like to lock themselves in a dimly lit room and write code. Yes, it is true that they should not be interrupted all the time. But, if they are never willing to talk to clients, that is a serious problem that can sabotage your working relationships which can be expensive if you gave them a hefty deposit.

(3) Failure to answer emails
Sure, we know that programmers don’t like to talk on the phone. But, if they just never get backto you even by email to give you a head’s up confirmation of what’s going on, that can be a serious problem. If a programmer just doesn’t get back to you, and you always have to chase them down, that is a sign that they are not responsible, anti-social, and that they don’t care that much about your project.

(4) Unwillingness to answer the phone
Is your programmer always at lunch or in the bathroom when you call? They are avoiding you. Perhaps they hate their job, their life, their boss, or you. Perhaps all of the above. This happened to me, and my project took forever to finish. I had to call eight times to get through to this person once. If a programmer you’ve worked with for years develops a bad attitude, it is time to try someone new.

(5) Failure to coordinate at the critical moment
I was visiting programmers in Northern California. I went to Yosemite to relax for a few days when they went away on a quick business trip. They were supposed to tell me when they would be back, and when they would be ready to show my their last bit of work. I never heard from them and didn’t know if should start driving back or not. They left me high and dry.

(6) Missed deadlines
If you hire a programmer on a critical time-sensitive project, you will find that 90% of programmers who don’t work for huge companies on multi-person projects just ignore deadlines. They couldn’t care less if they inconvenience your schedule. They might keep you waiting for months, or just quit in the middle of the project without even telling you they are unwillling to complete it. If you deal with programmers you need air-tight contracts that will penalize them severely if they don’t finish their work correctly and on time. It is best to test a programmer out on a project that takes about 12 hours with a written deadline. You will lose $1000 or more, but you will know if they honor deadlines. Most programmers never honor any deadline and just don’t care if they lose their customer. Customers grow on trees these days, and if you drop out, someone else will give them a deposit who they can string along. If a programmer misses a deadline, see how much longer it takes them to finish work. If getting the work done depends on your initiative, it is time to sift through many more programmers until you find one who actually takes responsibility for their commitments.

(7) Inability to answer simple questions
If you hire foreign programmers, this is a much more serious problem. If you can’t answer simple logic or small-talk type questions, how can you possibly write code? The answer is that those types of programmers are the ones that create shipwrecks for American companies who try outsourcing for the first time. They are left with a mess of broken code and often have to throw the entire mess out and start all over again. If you can’t communicate, you can’t code properly. If your communication is a mess, your code is probably a mess that nobody else will be able to work with. If you communicate sloppily, your commenting on your code will be unintelligible to the next programmer who works on it which means you created a dead-end for your client.

Advice: Interview the programmers first, THEN the project managers and salespeople.
If you hire programmers, there is an order of people at the company who you should talk to first. The sales and technical managers will always insist on talking to you first, middle and last, leaving the programmers completely out of the picture. That is what is in their interests, but not yours. The programmers are the ones who actually do the work, and if they cannot function as intelligent human beings, your code will come out a disaster. Interview the programmers first. Typically at Indian companies, they hire people who can’t even function at coding and can’t function in a conversation. See if you are impressed by one or more of their programmers. If you are impressed by all of their programmers you might be in business. 80% of programmers I interviewed in India who were fluent in English could not answer simple questions that an American ten year old could probably answer.

Test companies out
Test people out to see if the programmer initiates communication and answers email
Test the programmers out to see if they answer the phone. If you only call them at the time of the interview, that is not an indication that they will answer the phone during normal times of business.
Test the programmers out to see if they are sloppy. Give them a small task that involves following directions
Test the programmers out to see if they miss deadlines. Give them a 12 hour project with a deadline. See if they finish by the deadline with correct work.

Good luck hiring programmers. Most of these people avoid contact with humans. But, if you can find one who is relatively responsible and considerate, you might be in luck.

10 Mistakes I made hiring programmers that you should avoid

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Here are some of the biggest mistakes I made hiring programmers. To an average person, they might not look like mistakes. But, once you get a little experience in this domain, you will understand why what I did wrong was so wrong!

(1) Initiative (or the lack of it thereof) The Los Angeles Programmer
The first programmer I hired was actually the best I have ever hired. However, he lacked a desire to get things done for me. I had to crack the whip, and visit with him regularly to coerce him to finish work. My mistake here was that I didn’t shop around to see if there was anyone else who had comparative skills accompanied by a little more initiative.

(2) Interviewing without testing: The North Coast Programmer
Many years went by and then my first programmer quit, and his helper got fired. I was left high and dry. No programmers, and no way to find good ones in a world-wide situation where there was an acute shortage of programmers. I interiewed several companies I liked. I tried to decide which company to hire purely based on an interview which was a huge mistake. The interview only tells you one dimension about a person — how they communicate when they are trying to impress you. It doesn’t tell you how they work, or if they get things done on time. The company I hired disrespected all deadlines, and even tried to cheat me several times. After that I learned that you have to try companies out with small inconsequential test projects before giving them the passwords to your main sites. Additionally, they tried to get me to communicate with the “project manager” instead of the programmer. But, the project manager didn’t make sure anything got done and was completely useless. So, when anyone tries to block critical channels of communication — fire them.

(3) Knowing the boss, but not getting to know the programmers: An India programming nightmare
I had a bad feeling about this, but I had no choice. I needed my site to be in someone’s hands who I trusted. I had known Deepak for years. So, I offshored my project to India. The first programmer he gave me was very acceptable and did good work. So, I handed my project over to Deepak. Little did I know that his programmers had gone far down hill in the last few years because the big companies worldwide had been poaching quality programmers. So, I started out with a programmer who just couldn’t function, and then fired him and moved on to another one of Deepak’s programmers who was better. She left on maternity leave and then I got a third one who was somewhat capable of doing my assignments. Had I interviewed these programmers by phone individually, and tested them on small test projects before allowing them to work for me, I could have avoided the dysfunctional results given to me. Now I know.

(4) Communication seemed open, but was blocked: The Arizona dry spell
I gave assignments to a number of other programmers who all went on strike until I found a company who seemed promising. First of all, they answered their phone. I was happy that they kept their channels of communication open as closed channels can ruin projects and have become a deal breaker for me. The trick was that they changed their willingness to communicate the minute I put my reliance in them. I could talk to the receptionist who assured me that she could relay any critical information to me. The problem was that they forbade me from talking to the programmer in critical situations and the contact person was never given any critical information unless I harassed them many times. The result was that the programmer either didn’t finish work correctly or at all, or made some serious blunders which never would have happened if he would just double check his steps with me. But, his attitude was that I didn’t know anything so I should just stay out of it. The reality is that he doesn’t know a lot of things about my site that I do know that he could have found out if he would just answer is damn phone! This was one of many deceptive things programming companies have done to me.

A quick note – Open Channels of Communication are imperative
I have a rule that all channels of communication need to be open. I need to be able to reach the programmer, the boss and the project manager if there is one. If one of these channels is blocked, then I fire the company immediately. However, if the programmer is busy and doesn’t want to be bothered — I don’t mind communicating with an intermediary some of the time if it will make it easier for them providing that they don’t cut me off completely from communicating with the programmers. Most companies don’t want you talking with their programmers, so this is a constant issue. I just tell them I’ll fire them if they don’t cooperate on this front, or that I won’t hire them for any serious work if they block communication even once. You have to stand your ground or they will keep you behind a barrier nine times out of ten.

(5) Silence at an interview: The beach programmers
The boss said that none of his seven programmers were willing to show up at an office. Later on I suspected that there were no seven programmers, just the one who showed up at the interview and sat silently for three hours while the sales manager chatted me up. I didn’t realize that someone who sits silently for so long is a huge risk. Such people do not like humans and don’t care to interact with my species either. They are dangerous if you put them on a project. Here’s what happened. We did a little test job and looked at the site at a cafe. I drove down to see them. After he had agreed to take my project and give me 20 hours a week, he delayed finishing the test project, and after I spent $800 on hotel rooms he uttered the words, “Another project” and just quit altogether. Antisocial people do antisocial irresponsible inconsiderate things. Beware. Nobody is perfect, but antisocial people are much more dangerous than the average person. Additionally, these programmers went on vacation all the time and “brought their work with them.” I don’t know if their vacation schedule caused a problem, or just their attitude of doing whatever they felt like, but too many vacations could be a warning sign.

(6) Giving the code without a deadline in Orange County
I met a nice guy in Orange County. I really liked him and he really liked coding. He described himself as a cracker jack of coding. He seemed like the gentleman of the business. Sociable, smart, nice and trustworthy. After waiting six weeks he informed me that he couldn’t start my assignment because it was in PHP and he didn’t know PHP. The code was in ASP Classic, and he had not even looked at it because he had, “Another Project.” Now, where have I heard this before. If I had given him a 20 day deadline to fix some code which only would take a few hours, then I would have been able to give the job to the next guy in line without such a long delay while my website wasn’t functioning correctly.

Another Quick Note – “Another Project”
The biggest reason why a programming company will not finish work for you, or talk to you is because there is, “Another Project.” If you test programming companies out, see how well they get your work done if they have, “Another Project.” Otherwise you will be on the back burner until you dump them for another company who does the same thing.

(7) Not getting a bid
There was yet another programmer who I really liked. He was decent to me for the most part. He had done several small projects for me. They weren’t necessarily done on time, but they got done. So, I gave him another slightly more complicated project. It took twice as long as I thought necessary and was done wrong. If I had had him give me a formal estimate for the project, I would be able to hold him responsible for fixing it and getting it done according to specifications by a certain date. yet another mistake on my part because I had developed trust in someone. Even if you trust a programmer, for well defined tasks that take more than 10 or 20 hours, get a formal bid.

(8) Testing them on easy stuff only
I learned the hard way that you have to test companies out before using them. So, I tried yet another California company out. I really liked the boss. They got 100% on my project and finished it quickly. Then, I gave them a complicated assignment and asked them to bid on it. Their bid was double or triple what I thought a top-notch programmer would charge. Were they cheating me? Were they just being careful? Or was their programmer not as senior as they portrayed him to be? A junior programmer would realistically require as many hours as they bid. The problem was that I tested the company out on easy work, but didn’t test them out on complicated tasks before hiring them. It is good to have a comprehensive score sheet on any company you hire that covers communication, meeting deadlines, efficiency, cleanliness of code, and how they function on different levels of complexity. I made exactly the same mistake with another company in India who did exactly the same thing. They did great on my test project, but then bid 800 hours on a 100 hour project that was slightly complicated. Once again, I fell into a pitfall and learned the hard way.

(9) Not having backups
I hired programming companies without having qualified backups. The result was that when they started being irresponsible I couldn’t just fire them because I had nobody else to dump my project on. I had already run through my supply of people I thought were my backups. They wouldn’t call me back or cooperate. A backup is not a backup unless you know they are going to perform reasonably. Otherwise it is like walking on a frozen pond. You put your foot on the ice and it breaks. Then you step to the left to your backup spot on the ice which also breaks, then you go back one foot and it yet again breaks. You need to find ice that doesn’t break even when you pound on it — then, you have a back up. If Warren Buffet were hiring programmers, he would probably have at least four meticulously tested backups at all times for security if he had a serious project as an entrepreneur.

(10) Giving deposits without a contract in the Bay Area
I have given many people deposits. One company in the Bay Area took my deposit and left me high and dry. I couldn’t get the programmer to return calls. I had to keep calling his boss just to get him to get back to me. What is the problem? I finally gave up. I let them keep the deposit. But, honestly, you have no leg to stand on if you give an unreputable company your deposit. And you have no way to know if the company is reputable unless you work with them. Most companies don’t have that many reviews on the internet, and those are not always trustable interviews in any case. If you have a contract that stipulates that work must be done to specifications by a certain date otherwise you not only give the deposit back, but pay a penalty for wasting my time, then it is easier to sue them when they screw up. Getting them to sign such a contract might be close to impossible, but you need some device to ensure your safety, otherwise you are gambling. Programmers are so busy these days that if you don’t pay up front, perhaps none of them will work with you! So, you are not in much of a bargaining position. So, having a contract is just a thought.