Category Archive 'Internet'

5 Tips for Networking on a Budget

Business & entrepreneurship, Career, Internet

Getting the word out about your new product or service is one of the most important parts of starting a new business/endeavor.  Networking is one of the most effective (and cost effective) methods of advertising both you and your business.  At the same time, you’ll have to be careful in planning your networking activities.  You will have a limited amount of time and money to accomplish your networking goals.  This post will discuss Networking on a Budget.  By budget, I mean budgeting both time and money–as we’re often short on at least one or the other.    

Networking on a Budget, Tip #1 – Plan in Advance

And make the planning part of your networking.  Call up important people in your industry, and see if you can take them to lunch.  While there, ask them what activities they find useful and who you should talk to.  At the same time, you’ll be letting an important figure in your industry know that you exist and have a business.

You would be surprised how willing people are to help you, even in a bad economy.   If not, then they’re not worth having on your side in the first place.

Once you have an idea of the types of activities, clubs, charities, and other networking possibilities, you can figure out their cost and the budget.

Networking on a Budget, Tip #2: Make Effective Use of the Internet

The internet can really level the playing field between you and the larger companies.  If you utilize an effective website, use the internet to communicate with people who might otherwise be outside your current social reach, or blog regularly, you may be surprised at the results.  The best part about the internet is that it can be effectively utilized even with the smallest of budgets.

Networking on a Budget, Tip #3: Make Use Of Your Own/Natural Network

(Hopefully) There is no easier sell than to the people who really care about you: your family and friends.  Even if they might not have a direct need for your product or services, you might be surprised at just who they know.  Having a solid team of unpaid yet committed “cheerleaders” is quite a privilege.

Before going out and trying to network with strangers, make sure your extended natural network of family and friends is aware of your latest endeavor, and how passionate you are about it.  Give them an elevator pitch just like everyone else, so they can parrot it later on to potential customers.

Networking on a Budget Tip #4, Decide on Whether You Have Money or “Sweat Equity” to Offer

There are some networks that you can buy your way into.  Other networks require “sweat equity” for positive results.  Determine which asset you have more of, time or money.

If you have more time then money, then you can try volunteering to take on roles within the organization that will put you into contact with a lot of different people.  If your greater asset is the almighty dollar, then see what types of memberships could be valuable in raising your profile and connecting with your target audience.

Networking on a Budget Tip #5 – Don’t Just Participate–Lead

Leadership roles require you to participate regularly in an organization.  They also, by their very nature, put you into contact with a lot more people (and in a much less forced setting).  There’s no easier way to network than by having people come to you.

Finally, a leadership position gives you instant credibility.  The more you take on leadership roles, the quicker your profile will increase.

More importantly for this blog post, it will increase the rate at which everyone knows who you are, and what you do/your company has to offer.


What are some of your additional tips for networking on a budget?  How long does it take for networking (if done correctly) to start developing consistent leads?  What are some of your networking success stories?

When India and China overtake the Western world

Current events, Internet

One website I enjoy immensely whenever I have time is , and I thought I’d share it here. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and is a non-profit that hosts lectures from thought leaders across the world on a regular basis. Although tickets and invites to each event are astoundingly expensive, they provide all the content for free on their website.

One popular speaker I’ve admired a lot is a professor from Sweden named . In addition to presenting his findings and data in a very visually understandable manner (through software he and his team created), his lectures themselves are very thought-provoking.

As mentioned recently, I’ve started , and I found one of Prof. Rosling’s presentations quite pertinent. It’s entitled . He predicts the year when the average pay per person per month in India and China will be equivalent to those in the US and UK.

As part of his lecture, he shows how the data move historically over the last century and half. Part of why I think his lecture is especially interesting is that, although it’s gotten better, I remember always having to learn about the history of major Western civilizations in high school — Greece, Rome, Medieval Europe, the Renaissance — but never once hearing about the histories of China and India. You’d think they never existed or weren’t learning about, at least in my day.

So, take a look at that lecture, and bookmark that site and browse around it when you have time. There’s a lot of good content — not only on geekery and intellectual topics but also music and art. Enjoy!

This will make your day (a.k.a. when technology really *is* wonderful)

Current events, Internet

I don’t think this is new, but it’s still worth taking 5 min. to watch and definitely will make you smile :)

The org behind this is called the and its goal is to build and connect music/art schools around the world. Pretty inspiring.

The best way to take baby passport photos (and for just a few cents!)

Internet, Parenting, Personal finance

I found this great, essentially free service to use to take our baby’s passport photos called . Actually, this method works for anyone’s passport photos, not just a baby’s! However, trying to get a squirming, few-weeks-old infant to sit still for a passport-compliant photo is a unique challenge in itself.

The site’s tagline is “We put an end to the passport photo rip-off” and they really do make it easy assuming you have a digital camera. Even better, they can create passport photos that are compliant for the US as well as 60 other countries.

The part that took us the longest was getting a usable photo of our baby. Eyes have to be open, background white, mouth closed, no shadows on face or background, looking straight at the camera…I think we took 50 shots before we found one that was usable of him that we liked. We tried putting a white sheet on the crib and shooting there but ended up with too many shadows. Finally, a white pillowcase on cushion, filler flash and ambient light did the trick. I can’t imagine how much longer and more frustrating it would have been to go to Walgreen’s or somewhere to get his pictures taken.

Once you’ve got your photo, you just go to the site, upload your picture, and click-and-drag a box to make sure the photo you’re using will fit within the required passport dimensions. There are two green boxes to make sure you’re doing things right.

Once that’s done, if you have a photo printer at home, you can print out your photos for free. We don’t, so I signed up for a snapfish account and then had the photos printed out to the local Walgreens for $0.19 and picked them up 30 min. later. I’m so pleased with the service (and no, I’m not receiving anything from them for this post) that I’ll definitely be using it for my own photos in the future. Finally, a way to get decent-looking passport photos!

How do you manage your online passwords?

Internet, Personal finance

Now that so many financial transactions are online and electronic, do you ever worry about managing your account passwords? I was browsing Fatwallet Finance the other day and came across a thread on just this subject.

Several software applications were recommended (KeePass, Roboform, and Any Password seem to be the most popular), and then a member named KGZotU suggested the following:

One thing you might find useful is a password scheme, so you can figure out any web password just from the name of the site you’re on. You might start with a secure random passphrase that has at least one each of a capital letter, lower case letter, and a number. Then take the first letter of the site and bump it up by two letters, then insert it into the third position in your passphrase. Then take the third letter of the site and bump it down by one and insert it into the fifth position of your passphrase. For example, I’m signing on to FatWallet. My secure passphrase is u8lnBt. From ‘FatWallet’, f -> h and t -> s, so my password for FatWallet is u8hlsnBt.

Might take some getting used to, but his solution seemed like a straightforward idea in lieu of buying or installing software. Personally, I memorize and use several nonsensical passwords, each unique, on each online account I have that has the potential to access money, and they aren’t written down anywhere. (I do try to minimize account proliferation though.)

Anyone have other methods they use?