I used to never use a calendar or planner. I think it was because I felt trapped by committing myself to a certain date, and what if something really fun came up on that date. So I always made plans saying maybe and did things spontaneously. Soon, it felt like part of my personality, to never plan, and just take action on the whim.
But now, because of business, I have to use a calendar. I can’t miss a meeting. Missing a meeting is a horrible reflection of your reliability: the most important characteristic of a first impression.
Seems easy right? Google Calendar.
No. I have 4 email addresses each with their own calendar..and how do i manage a work calendar and a personal calendar.
It took me a day to build up the will power and learn to sync all of this. Actually, its pretty easy for personal accounts, you go to your calendar settings and set the permissions.
The hard part is creating a business calendar. You have to create a business calendar, and share it will everyone in the business. Then, here’s the tricky part that took me a week to figure out. You have to go to your google apps for business dashboard and open permissions for people to share that calendar (its private by default).
Then after that its pretty simple syncing, my personal calendar will only show busy/free events so my co-workers don’t see my private events. And everything on my business calendar is synced up to my personal calendars.
This is all synced into the calendar app on my phone, and to make it easier on myself I use Quick Event so I can create an event by typing (or speaking) “meeting next Tuesday at 11am”.
Okay so I had this all set. But my phone’s push notifications weren’t alarming enough I still missed meetings.
Here’s where the magic of Alarm Pad comes in. By checking the "advanced” box, I can set alarms to my google calendar events by hash tagging the title.
So now, I enter an event “#meeting with Matt from creative agency at 12pm this thursday” into Quick Event, and choose the corresponding calendar (business). Alarmpad will automatically set an alarm half an hour before the event to remind me!
To bring my calendar skills to the next level, I use Schedule Once. Schedule Once syncs all of the busy times in my google calendar, and lets people book appointments for me during my free time. I don’t have to go back and forth to set a time, I just send them a link and they choose a time when I’m available to meet.
Only after all this do I see how freeing having a detailed calendar is. I know everything is set on my calendar, and I know exactly when I will do what. Also, with all these systems set, its super easy for me to manage my calendar, and never miss anything important. I think the biggest reason why people don’t manage their calendar is because they don’t think they’ll actually use it. When you set the systems and make it super streamlined, you will use it.
Two days ago I attended The Santa Barbara Business Expo, my first networking event. Almost all the business blogs and books I’ve read give importance to networking and nothing convinced me more than when I met with my friend Jackie, a real estate agent. I asked her how business was since she had only become a licensed for a few months earlier, and from what I know about real estate, it takes years to get clients. But she told me that she’s busy and business keeps coming. What? How? I asked her what she did for marketing, and how she sought clients.
“Well, it was really easy. I found some real estate agent networking events to go to, and this guy I met told me he was leaving for Shanghai and gave me all his clients”.
My eyes widened. Of course there was some luck to this, and I couldn’t help myself from being jealous. I had spent the past few months, thinking of a business identity and value proposition, targeting my niche, sending out cold emails, meeting with potential middlemen …and Jackie just goes to a networking event and gets handed business.
If you're running a regular event or meetup group that charges for events or sells sponsorships, you're going to need a plan for what to do with the money.
In the beginning, it won't be much and you can keep it in your personal bank account (or in a lockbox under your bed...). But after a little while, you're going to get uncomfortable with mixing personal and meetup finances. Many people start exploring starting a legal entity of some sort.
A friend of mine is in this position now with one of his meetups. He emailed me for advice, and I thought I would post my response for the benefit of others.
Yourself: This is what I did for a while when things were smaller and I didn't have much carry over from month to month. Once I started booking multi-month sponsorships and some larger deals though, I got nervous about having it so tied in with my personal finances. It got to the point where it became simpler to keep it separated. If you don't have much left over, or this doesn't happen super often, you can probably get away with this. If you're thinking about it though, maybe you're past that point.
A fourth option is to find another organization, partner with them and treat them like an umbrella. Use their infrastructure to manage the money for you. I'm part of a few organizations that do this. Access to money can be a bit slower, but you don't have to deal with any of the business/tax side of things. It's important here that you find the right organization to do this - you have to trust them a lot if you're giving them all your money.