Are you new to working from home? I have lots of friends trying to figure out how to work at home right now due to coronavirus closures. I think the #1 issue they’re worrying about is how to get stuff done!

First off, I don’t have kids who are home from school so my situation is much different. I just have to deal with a cuddly kitty, and Tango has finally learned what time of the day is his snuggle time. Like clockwork, Tango’s 4:45 pm arrival to my office lets me know it’s quitting time.

So, to all you parents out there, you just have to set a new routine that makes working from home a success.

I have been happily running my business from home for more than seven years now so I hope this advice will help you with your current home office situation.

Pay attention to your eyes

Avoid eyestrain by placing your desktop or laptop monitor just above eye level and an arm’s length away. Make sure you have natural light in your home office and a good lamp for when it’s dark or cloudy.

Don’t forget to look away from your computer often and focus on something at a far distance. This will help avoid eyestrain.

Create your personal office space

I have a room in the house that is dedicated as my office only. I do not entertain visitors in this space – it’s my work space only.

I have enough desk space for two monitors and I have a comfy chair where my husband can sit if we need to discuss business matters (he’s my business partner and has his own space). I also have a comfy couch for taking breaks to read or rest.

Ergonomics in the home office

I invested in an ergonomic chair that is designed to fit me perfectly. My desk space is set up so that my monitors, keypad and mouse don’t cause any unnecessary strain on my back, shoulders, and wrists.

Make sure you are comfortable for computing all day, just like you would be at your office.

You will need fast Internet

Does your home Internet give you enough bandwidth for working remotely? You’re going to be sharing your internet with other household devices in the house.

I opted for the fastest speed I could get through Spectrum/Charter which is 400mbs at a local address. You will need a good Internet connection if you have to take part in video conferencing.

Set and maintain regular business hours

Create a regular work schedule and stick to it. Take control of your time so you’re not working too many hours. Believe me, it’s easy to do at home, especially without a daily commute.

Set boundaries – with everyone

When people know you work from home, they start to assume you’re available 24/7. People will try to take advantage of your personal time because they know your office is right there. “This won’t take long, I promise.”

If you do not set boundaries, it will come back to haunt you. Create boundaries for personal time and office time.

Do not work in your pjs – get dressed

It’s way too easy to get up, grab some coffee, and start working while still in your pajamas with wild bed hair.

Personally, I find myself in a better mindset for work if I put on a nice shirt and leggings, blow dry my hair, and brush my teeth. If you have video conferences scheduled, get ready like any normal workday.

Eat a healthy lunch away from your desk

I usually start working at my desk at the same time every day. I also take a lunch break at the same time, too.

And I do not answer the phone during my lunch. I am on a much-needed nutrition break. I eat my lunch away from my desk or I sit outside, depending on the weather.

Take breaks away from your desk

I make myself step outside to toss a toy around for my dog Trekker or I grab my Rotary magazine and read an inspiring article. Some days I just do some breathing exercises by my window and watch the birds at the feeder.

These short pauses away from your desk will help you recharge so don’t feel guilty for taking a break – breaks are essential to your wellness.

Get out of your home office

Schedule meetings, lunch dates, and happy hour cocktails outside of the office, if you can.

If you’re working at home due to social distancing and coronavirus, at least leave your house once a day. You don’t have to go to crowded public spaces to get away from your home office.

Move your body, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy the natural light of the outdoors. Spring is coming so maybe you can start yard clean-up. It will do you good.

If you don’t feel well, take a sick day

I used to be bad at resting if I didn’t feel 100%, but I’ve learned to take the sick time I need. As a small business owner, I can fall into the time-is-money trap and then I’m trying to power through being sick which ends up making me feel worse. Take time to rest and get healthy. You will be more productive in the long term.

I love working at home!

In all honesty, I’m not sure I could work in a traditional office again. I love my office, I set a schedule that works for me, and I am very productive in the quiet setting I’ve created for myself.

I hope you’ve figured out when and where to work, and are creating healthy boundaries between your work and personal life.

Now, go get stuff done!

I have partnered with Social Guru 4 You and we’re presenting a new workshop that every business needs. The best way for your business to rank well on Google Search and be found on Google Maps is to claim and use your Google My Business profile.

In Google My Business and Local SEO workshop, we will take a deep dive into how search engines work first. Then we’ll show you how to optimize your business profile so that Google can better understand who you are, what services you offer or products you sell, and where your business is located.

Not many businesses are using Google My Business to its full potential so this is your opportunity to get ahead of your competition on Google. An optimized, active listing will improve how potential customers can find your business in a Google Search and on Google Maps.

  • Google My Business & Local SEO
  • Thursday, March 5th, 2020
  • 2:30 a.m. check in, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshop
  • Courtyard by Marriott in Petoskey (on US-131)
  • Cost is $35 in advance and includes two-hours of hands on training

You will be learning on your own device so bring a laptop, tablet, or phone where you can access your Google My Business profile.

Register by February 28th!

We connect with stories that resonate with us emotionally. Those emotions influence what we buy or who we hire.

Storytelling in our social media marketing is when we use words, photos, and videos to create a narrative. We’re not selling or promoting. We’re sharing stories that people listen to and respond to emotionally.

Be Creative
Think outside your typical marketing campaign.

Be Relatable⁣
Emotional storytelling helps you to connect with people so they feel like part of your community.

Be Emotional
Make us laugh, make us happy, share something heartwarming, inspire us.

Be Authentic
Your voice and your story needs to be genuine. Keep it real.

Start experimenting with creative storytelling on social media. By showing your personality, you can connect with people on a more personal level.

For helpful marketing tips, Download my Abuzz Creative Magazine

Why should my business use social media storytelling?

By using the art of telling a story, you can transform a typical service you provide into something more meaningful and emotional. The most powerful tool in advertising is persuasion. Combine your ideas with emotions to tell your story, and people can be persuaded to buy your products or hire you for your services.

What should I include in my marketing story?

You digital story will have more impact if you include your own photos (not generic stock images), videos, or audio files. The more people can see of your unique story, the more they will be persuaded to become your customer.

I am currently celebrating five years of providing community training to northern Michigan business owners and their staff! Web design is my bread and butter, and providing marketing training is the fun stuff!

In January 2015, I was a co-founder of HarborActive community training. Our goal was to provide marketing classes and social media training for the Petoskey and Harbor Springs business community. All classes were offered as hands-on learning opportunities. Since we learn better by doing, everyone was learning on their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Oh, I can’t forget Wine & Web – we found that learning is much more fun with alcohol!

Michigan Broadband Conference

One of the highlights in 2016 was representing HarborActive at the Michigan Broadband Conference. We competed in the Connected Community Project Awards where we took second place and received funding for our program.

The HarborActive team took part in the Community Education Panel at the same Michigan Broadband Conference. We were on the panel on stage and participated in a lively discussion about starting a community training program and what to expect for attendance.

Marketing Training from Abuzz Creative

I now offer personalized marketing training and corporate training for business groups through my business Abuzz Creative. My Lunch & Learn classes always sell out which tells me people are hungry for learning (see what I did there?).

I recently hosted Google My Business & Local SEO Workshop with Social Guru 4 You and we filled a room with attentive business people ready to learn.

Collaborating with a team like Social Guru 4 You has made something I love doing even more fun! We are planning more events and classes and will be rolling out a schedule soon.

Follow Abuzz Creative on Facebook for Class Updates!

Will you be hosting a Wine & Web class soon?

I am working with Social Guru 4 You and we are planning learning seminars as well as social networking events for 2020. Follow Abuzz Creative on Facebook by clicking the link above.

Invest in your community by hiring local design and marketing talent. Your communication will be better, someone local will be more attentive, and you’ll get support from marketing pros who are invested in your local community.

I own Abuzz Creative and we’re a team of digital marketing professionals who care about creating a great online presence for your business.

  • A local design team like Abuzz Creative knows your community – we live here – and we’re familiar with your target market in northern Michigan.
  • We are working hard to create and maintain a good name for ourselves in our community.
  • When you hire us, we are more likely to use your services or buy your products.
  • We also have relationships and connections that you just can’t get from people in a different city or state.

Local talent is a valuable resource so why not choose marketing experts close to home?

Hire local! ⁣

I started my freshman year at CMU as an instrumental music major with a choral minor. I was fairly certain I wanted to be a band director just like my Dad. I practiced and performed and studied and made some great friends. I spent more time in Powers Music Hall than my home.

Lightbulb Moment #1

As I stood in front of my fellow musicians in conducting class, I realized this was not for me. That was the moment I knew I didn’t want to teach music and direct a band or choir. So, now what?

The Search

After a tour with The Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps as a member of the color guard, I started searching for the right job and career. I lived in Washington, DC and worked in a bank near the Pentagon and was a bartender in a nightclub. I lived in Mt. Pleasant and worked in a community bank. I was pretty bored with banking and hated going to work.

Lightbulb Moment #2

When the new School of Music opened at CMU, I was hired as a marketing assistant. One of my tasks was to maintain the school’s website. And there it was! I knew this was my purpose. I took classes in HTML, CSS and Photoshop. I took classes in marketing.

Unfortunately, my husband at the time had a nomad mentality and liked to move around which required me to change jobs in new cities. I found a great job in Grand Rapids designing books and magazines and managing e-commerce websites. Then my ex wanted to move to Petoskey where there were no jobs for me in design or marketing. I had to take whatever job I could find to survive. It was a lonely place at first.

The Breakthrough

While working as a secretary (boy, I hated that job), I met a woman who dreamed of owning a web design company and The Geeks were born! We ran a successful web design company together for 12 years.

After my partner and I sold that business, I started Abuzz Creative with Eric. I am now in my favorite place in my career doing what I love.

From music education to web design, it’s been a crazy and creative journey!

I had someone tell me I was lucky. They thought because I owned my business and had everything I needed that I was lucky.

I challenged them by saying that I’m fortunate, not lucky. I didn’t roll the dice to get where I am today.

For me, the word lucky just doesn’t quite cover it.

I was fortunate to have been motivated and industrious enough to create the life of my dreams. I worked hard and invested a great deal of time, money, and learning to get to where I am today.

There’s a certain amount of luck (both good and bad) that comes to everyone. Lucky is the turn of a card, a winning lottery ticket, or the random stop of the wheel on a slot machine.

Fortunate feels more appreciative, and more participatory. Good fortune is the life we create and what we bring into it.

I’m grateful for the wonderful life I’ve made and I appreciate all that I have.

I feel fortunate rather than lucky.