What Is A Project Manager?

What Is A Project Manager?Very simply, a project manager is the person who takes responsibility for everything. This is not to say “the one who does everything”. It is not too likely that a project manager even has the skill sets that would make her capable of doing everything that need to be done for a project. She’s simply the place where the buck stops. Have you been watching The Apprentice? When a project fails, who is the person most likely to hear “You’re fired!” Unless she is exceptionally good a deflecting blame, it is the Project manager!

So what skill set does a successful project manager really need? One skill or art is the ability to be a good team leader. Among other things, a project manager requires an inquiring mind. You must be able to gather information from the right people and to assimilate this information quickly in order to make projections and wise decisions. All this is needed in order to plan and develop a project. Plan, plan, review and plan. If you are not good at planning and scheduling in detail, you might want to reconsider being a project manager. Often a project manager must also present and sell the plan to her manager and /or customer. Thus good presentation skills are also needed.

Once decisions are made, she must maintain vision while also maintaining an impartial view of progress and making proper adjustments all while keeping the team motivated, updated, focused and within budget and time restraints. Decisiveness does not mean stubbornly proceeding in a direction deemed to be ineffectual. Constant quality assurance and quality control is essential. Quality is a team process and should be part of the project plan and schedule. Good pre-planning with the team should eliminate or nearly eliminate ineffectual actions. The project manager is in charge of maintaining scope of the project, writing the plan and maintaining change forms. Within the plan she must define project objectives and steps for reaching those objectives, describe the deliverables, manage the processes and avoid scope creep. She and the team must identify risks, have a contingency plan and be able to execute the contingency plan if needed. Changes in scope made in conjunction with the client must be agreed upon, priced and documented.

In order to be a good leader, a project manager needs to be able to evaluate a team’s strengths…and weaknesses as well as the individual team member’s and use this information to get the best results out of the team. Diplomacy mixed with well timed assertiveness (not aggressiveness) serves a project manager well. A project manager must develop a clear line of communication with and within the team. Developing and maintaining a schedule is something that, while the responsibility of the manager, should include team members in order to have bought in to maintaining it.

Project Management Institute (PMI) was developed in 1969. Their premise was that a certain set of skills and actions were needed in any industry in order to be a successful project manager. As a result in 1981 the PMI Board of Directors authorized the development of standards and guidelines for project management. This became know as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). This is reviewed often and should be studied if one plans on pursuing project management as a career.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Project Management

Top 10 Ways a Creative Artist Can Make Money

Artists are creative creatures that live each day to be inspired and inspire others. It is a gift that many share without ever asking payment for what they are really worth. If you are an artists remember that you are talented. You can continue to build upon the creative process and bring home an income that can fuel bigger projects and get you more exposure. Passion will drive you crazy but is there any other way to live as said by Howard Hughes. Turn your passion into a wealth of income.

The leap into profiting from your art can seem scary. You never have to compromise. You can always remain true to the spirit of your work. An artist never has to let go of his or her inspiration. Many are able to ignite a yearning that has long been inside them and create bigger masterpieces. These masterpieces need money to come into fruition. In the end you can achieve more than what you ever expected with these simple top ten tips.

1. Blog about your art or show case your art through your blogs.
2. Add Google AdSense to your artistic blog.
3. Create fun and innovative workshops and show case your talent while you teach others how to do the same.
4. Are you an artist such as a painter contact local coffee shops, small boutiques and shops in your town and ask if they can show case your art in exchange for a nominal fee or a percentage of the profits.
5. Are you a writer showcase your talents at local coffee shops, book stores, or open mic nights. How do you make money? Let the vendor charge a small nominal fee for others to come and hear you. You can take a percentage of the profits.
6. Showcase your art and sell it on others sites and share the profits. Start with your friends.
7. Time and time again we have seen it succeed for others but we forget that we to can benefit from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

May this journey inspire you to learn more about yourself and help you to become the expert in your creative field.

Bonnielee Cuevas is a successful Author, Business Coach, Entrepreneur, Fitness and Wellness Expert, and Motivational Speaker. She has inspired many through her entrepreneurial ventures, books, and coaching. Her goal is to inspire others through various avenues. Through inspiration she has also had the pleasure of creative amazing programs that assist others in achieving their dreams. For more information visit: http://www.bonnieleecuevas.com

Get Started With Your Business Blogging – What Do I Write About?

You’re sold on the concept of blogging for your business. You’ve set up your blog template and now you’re staring at a blank screen. And it’s staring back.

I think this is probably the hardest part about blogging. Most people imagine sitting down to a computer with an empty screen and feel the heady challenge of filling a page with prolific prose – and the added weight of having to do this every other day! It can be daunting, even crippling. But if you start with a plan, that screen will become a canvas on which you can paint freely every time you sit down. To develop a plan for your blog, take a methodical approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it to have the greatest impact.

Decide what you want to write about and when. Are you going to give tips to your customers that are problem-solving solutions? Do you want to discuss one of the latest trends? Is there something new on the horizon that will position you as a leading resource? Make a list of all the topics you could blog about and then start writing! It can be as simple as commenting on an article or book you’ve read, or sharing a video or quote you’ve come across. Share an anecdote or tell a story about a recent experience. Not every post needs to be an epiphany! Keep the tone light and personal, and limit your word count to 150 to 250 words per post. Here’s another tip: Having some blogs “in the can” will help balance your posts that are based on what might be happening on the immediate horizon.

Focus on your core interests and then become an expert in them. You want to be the authority and position yourself as such so that your followers continue to come back to you for the answers. Reinforce your value as a reliable, knowledgeable resource.

Be human. Give yourself a voice and be human. Blogs are not meant to be formal articles or pools of research. They are designed to give helpful information and to get the reader thinking inward about what they’re reading. Pose questions. Engage your customers to think about how they do business. Give them the opportunity to use your ideas in their business.

Give them something. A blog entry should offer your customers something of value. They are expecting to read your blog and walk away with a new tip, insight, or with something that will give them a leg up on their competition or simply inspire them to be a better person and/or business person.

Inject authority. It’s OK to give examples and information from others, just make sure you attribute it as such. In fact, share the link to those people’s sites and you could reap the rewards of connecting with their networks as well. Being “connected” with trust leaders, advocates and leaders in the field is just as important as being one yourself.

Incorporate keywords in your entries. As I mentioned before, a blog rich in relevant keywords and tags is going to give you a higher search engine ranking.

Invite others to share your ideas. Use your blog as a way to communicate with your customers and potential leads. Allow them to pose questions and comments that you can respond to and create dialog and a community. This will again build a following of like minds, with you as the leader. You can also invite “guest bloggers” to participate in your blog. Ask your vendors, colleagues, and clients to provide posts on their own expertise and you gain the benefit of the association.

Once you start, don’t stop. Your goal is to build a following of loyal customers and readers. They are going to expect something “wise” from you frequently. If you fall off the wagon, hop back on. There’s nothing worse than a neglected blog. And you will quickly lose your followers to a competitor’s blog that always has new insight.

Words to and for the Wise

Along with the content of your blog, you have the opportunity to make your website more search engine friendly just by keeping a few tips in mind:

– Create a powerful title for your blog that influences readers. Make it interesting, compelling, even a bit controversial so you can grab their interest immediately. Include keywords here as well. It will help with search engine searches.

– When you have a series of thoughts or points, present them as a bulleted list instead of a paragraph or two. This approach increases the readability.

– Add an image, if it’s appropriate and relevant. Don’t always add one but many times an interesting or entertaining image may communicate your message better than words can.

You are the expert.

Blogging allows you to showcase your expertise in your field. It affords you the opportunity to share ideas and resources openly and in an easy-going manner that is simple to read, yet rich with knowledge and insight. Some might say it’s the perfect soft sell because you’re not necessarily pushing a product or service directly. Rather, by building your platform as a credible VAR, you are gently promoting your ideas and your company. And you really will be amazed at how many topics you do have to write about.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Free Publicity With Press Releases

An effective strategy for free publicity is to write and send press releases. A press release, sometimes called a news release or media release, is an announcement of something important.

Here are 5 key points for a good press release so that the one your send will get read and distributed.

First you need to write a great headline. I say great because you need to attract the attention of a reporter or editor and you have lots of competition. Be sure to put the topic in the headline so that it contains some key words and can get the attention of Google.

Secondly, make sure your story is newsworthy to an audience that is bigger than your niche. That means the story needs to be current and appealing. Trendy would even be better.

The third important point is to avoid jargon and techno babble. The media does not have time to figure this out and neither do your readers.

Just in case it should slip your mind, do not make the press release a blatant advertisement.

And finally, make sure your press release is well written. If you are not a good writer, then hire someone to do the writing for you.

Before you start writing the press release, make sure you have all the pertinent information for the announcement. You need to give what every journalist wants: the who, where, when and how.

Then figure out what are the appropriate media outlets to send your press release.

You can write press releases with any of the following strategies for creating a hook so that the reporter or editor will certainly want to read your press release. These strategies are using a controversy, survey or research results. What also works well are announcements about an award, announcing a new position, a new blog, and a new website. Press releases can get fairly boring without a good hook.

Social Media Releases is gaining popularity and visibility. Some view it as an alternative to traditional web sites. Social Media Releases are similar to traditional releases except they reach more people.

Social Media Releases are often linked to Social Networks and when that network discusses your topic, you are likely to be very successful getting the attention of hundreds in the forum. As the name implies, Social Media Releases focus on the social aspect of information. There are also social media newsrooms where you can post your releases. Make sure your keywords are written in the press release.

The directories for news releases, most of which are free but some will charge. Fees may range from $80 a release to $1000 for an annual membership.

And I invite you to claim your free Special Report on Building Your Online Empire as well as a recording of this information, by visiting http://www.InternetBusinessBuildingGuide.com and get started right away with building a profitable online business. Connie Ragen Green has been teaching people how to use their writing to get started on the internet since 2006, as well as how to use the technology needed to be successful on the internet.

Viral Marketing

If you’re not utilizing the power of viral marketing, you may be missing out on a very effective new tool. This form of Internet-based marketing relies on the use of blogs, seemingly amateur Web sites like YouTube, and grassroots media campaigns to generate widespread word of mouth interest and “buzz” for a new product or service. A typical viral marketing campaign aims at generating media coverage via unusual, stories, funny video clips, interactive advertising games, images, and text. These are then passed from user to user at an extremely rapid, exponential (“viral”) pace, often reaching hundreds of thousands or millions of people for far less cost than would be possible using traditional marketing tools.

Due to its ability to generate extremely a high, rapid response rate for a relatively low cost compared to traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, viral marketing is a very popular and powerful medium. The following quick guide will help you create your company’s viral marketing campaign.

Give away products or services

In the world of viral marketing, it’s usually a good idea to give away something for nothing. Most successful viral marketing campaigns provide a free product or service to attract attention. Giveaways could include a complimentary brochure or software program with limited functionality, or a free button or pin. A discount on a service or product may generate interest, but “free” typically accomplishes the task faster and draws more people.

Make it Easy to Pass along Your Message

Like actual viruses, a viral marketing message spreads fast when it’s easy to transmit.

The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate.

Use e-mail, a special Web link, or graphic, or provide a free software download. Viral marketing works because it’s so simple and inexpensive, so use a digital format to make copying easy. Also, viral marketing is most effective when the message is short and direct.

Make Sure Your Mail Servers Are Ready

If you’re using e-mail as the core of your viral marketing strategy, you must ensure that your mail servers have enough capacity to handle exponentially larger amounts of traffic.

So it’s a good idea to plan ahead for easy and rapid addition of mail servers. This will put you in a good position to manage the campaign. You must build scalability into your viral model.

Utilize Existing Communication Networks

Most people are social and develop a close circle of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of hundreds or thousands of people, depending upon his or her job or social status. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, consisting of circles of people with whom they regularly communicate. So it’s important to leverage such things as popular Web sites that draw large volumes of traffic or permission-based e-mail lists that potentially can reach millions of people simultaneously.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that it will help you supercharge your marketing effort, leading to increased sales. Thanks for reading!

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Building Targeted Media Lists

You have all these great story ideas about your company and its products, you’ve written your press releases with a sure hand and are ready to get the word out. But where do you start? Other than reading the bylines in your local newspaper, you know no journalists. Well, it’s time to start meeting some and begin building relationships with them, just as you would with a new customer or prospective lead.

Building media lists is very much like building your database of key customers or a list of new leads: you must know your audience and your market intimately. First, think about the geographic regions you want to target, based on where your customers and potential customers are. Then, think about the publications of interest to your customers in those regions. It could be a daily newspaper, a local magazine, or even a trade publication. What are the local TV affiliates in these areas? Are there any local community newsletters? Create a master list, then find out the correct contact at each outlet for your type of business story or product area. Sending a release about a new piece of software to the travel editor at the Boston Globe will simply wind up in the circular file. But by learning the name of the technology editor of the business section and finding out how she likes to receive newsworthy information (phone, fax, email, snail mail only), you will be one step closer to having your story heard and considered by the right person.

Where to Find Media Contact Information
There are many free and paid resources available to help you build your media database. Visit your local library for a listing of regional publications or free online sources like political parties (they sometimes have listings). Or use search engines to find specific newspapers, magazines, or local TV stations. Look up the media outlet online. Many of them have specific places on their websites where you can submit your release directly to the publication. There are also paid services like PR Newswire and Vocus that will not only build your lists for you, but handle the distribution as well. These services offer huge master databases housing every publication from The Town Tattler to the New York Times. Gather all the information you can, including the journalist’s name, specific title or department, phone, fax, email, and snail mail address. If possible, determine how the journalist would like to receive information. Some prefer email, others fax, and some still say “write only,” which means if they receive anything other than the old-school press release in a #10 envelopes officially stamped by the United States Post Office, there’s a good chance you’ll never hear from them.

Be sensitive to these folks’ time, too. Calling a reporter to “chat about an idea” while he’s on deadline trying to file a story will not only aggravate him, but will most likely ruin your chances of any story placement in that publication.

Lead Times
If you’re looking for some free publicity for an event, don’t call two days before it’s scheduled to take place to see if the newspaper “could put something in tomorrow’s paper.” Newspapers traditionally work on a three to four week lead-time; magazines anywhere from six to 12 months. TV, sometimes in less than an hour! If your event is on June 12, you’ll want to send out your press release by the middle of May. If your new product launch is slated for fall 2009, start thinking about sending information to magazines by spring/summer 2008.

Understanding the journalists’ world and how they operate is the key to building a successful media list, one that’s juicy with hot contacts and leads looking for the right story to tell. Just remember, developing your media list is like developing your customer list. Get to the heart of what the media want and when they want it – then deliver it! And while a big mass media list covers more territory, your story pitch may not apply to all on the list, reducing your chance for good quality editorial success. But if you have a targeted, well-thought out list that contains up-to-date contacts, there’s a good chance you have the start of some beautiful relationships, which ultimately will garner some fantastic free publicity!

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)

Why Blogging is Important to Your Business

In a Business Week article from February 2008, blog tracking firm Technorati Chairman David Sifry said that his company indexed about 112 million blogs, with 120,000 new ones created each day. Were you one of them? He clarified, however, that of those millions, only about 11 percent of them actually included new posts.

Sifry contends that about 99 percent of blogs aren’t delivering useful information (e.g., a mom blogging about her kid’s first day at school, spam blogs), but that still leaves a healthy helping of new blogs sprouting up every day that are gathering readers, fans, and potential leads for the businesses that have committed to using this viral marketing tool. As a blogger, you could (and should) be promoting your business and your ideas to existing customers and employees as well as prospective buyers.

Blogging is not a fad. The phenomenon that Sifry cited is still gaining momentum a year after Sifry quoted those statistics. So, what are you going to do with this valuable information?

If you’re like me, you don’t like to hear yourself talk too much, let alone put your thoughts on paper (or computer screen in this case) for the entire world to see. But isn’t that the point? You want to spread your ideas to build your platform as a resourceful and innovative VAR. Blogs, done correctly, can do this for you.

When blogging started to become popular in 2005, I know I was one of the skeptics who thought, “Who would want to just listen to someone’s random thoughts?” It seemed that blogging was either self-righteous, self-serving, or politically motivated – none of which appealed to me. I deemed this task to be time-consuming and very low on the ROI scale. But now, blogging has gone mainstream. Visit the site for any established company and you’ll likely see a blog page there. You have to ask yourself, if it didn’t work, would they all be investing their time in blogging?

Blogging should be an integral part, if not at the forefront, of your web and marketing mix. Blogs will change your world. Here are a few reasons why you should leap onto the blogging bandwagon:

– Blogging provides a casual way to communicate with your current customers as well as potential new customers. The conversational tone allows you to initiate and engage in a discussion in a very soft-sell manner, where you can showcase your strengths, products, and services without screaming “buy me!”

– The personal touch helps to cultivate relationships that will, in turn, build loyalty between you and your customer.

– A blog where your customers and visitors can interact with you presents the exceptional market research tool to actually learn what your customers need and then use that information to deliver the goods. Your customers are happy because they have found instant solutions, provided by you!

– Blogging involves very minimal investment. Some blogging sites are free; others may charge a fee. Ultimately, though, you want to have your blog on your website to benefit from search engine optimization. The major investment is your time in being vigilant about writing and posting your blogs. Frequency and consistency is key to success here.

– SEO and blogging go hand in hand. Search engines are looking for websites that are constantly being updated with new content and useful information. Be sure to incorporate tags and keywords in a relevant manner. These are simple words that people will use to search your topic on Google or Yahoo! Updating your blog frequently (every two to three days) and creating topical tags will garner a higher search engine ranking.

Statistics show that more and more adults are using the Internet and paying attention to blogs. Consumers use the product reviews from bloggers to assist in their buying decisions. They either bookmark their favorite blogs or receive them daily into their email via RSS feeds. Blogging is an opportunity to reach out to the masses, yet make it personal. It builds credibility about you and your brand and positions you as a thinker, leader and a resource. Your thoughts will become a direct link to increased leads and sales. And in this tough economy, blogging is one of the economical ways to market. You can’t afford not to blog.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)