Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tech Talk - Tools I use to make my life easier

In a previous blog post I showed you how I use Microsoft OneNote 2010 to keep track of my client database, projects, thoughts and more.

I thought I would share more tools I find useful in running and maintaining my spiritual business.

Some of these tools are free (we love free right?!) and some cost money. However, I only pay for tools that are extremely useful and make my life easier.

The Adobe CS6 Design and Web Premium software suite is what I use to create graphics and build my websites. It is a bit pricey for those who don't do web or graphic design professional, however if you want an awesome software package then this is the way to go.

Nvu is a free HTML authoring software you can use to build your websites. It's easy to use and it's the software I recommend to my clients who want to up-date and maintain their own websites. For clients who I build websites for I make a video tutorial of how to use this software on their individual site.
Mal's E-commerce is the shopping cart system I use. I started out using it and then went on to "bigger" and "better" shopping cart systems. I came back to Mal's E-commerce because it is simple. I like simple. They have a free service and also an affordable premium services.

I use Skype for voice, chat and webcam communication with clients and students. Skype is free to download and use however there are premium services that you may find useful such as phone numbers, group video chat, voicemail and more!

If you teach classes or do readings for clients where there is information you want to share with them using a screen sharing tool is helpful. Skype has third-party (I haven't checked this in a while so it may have changed) tools that I have found frustrating. So I went on the hunt for a screen sharing tool that I could use whether I was on Skype or on a regular phone. These are ones I came up with that work for me. What is screen sharing? Screen sharing allows one or more people to view your computer screen. This comes in handy if you have a presentation you would like to show someone while speaking with them in chat or over the phone/Skype. Join.me has a free trial and is easy to use. All the other person needs is a link and they can view your screen. FreeScreenSharing.com is free and also has premium features. Yugma is similar to Skype and allows web conferencing, screen sharing and more. They have a free version but the person you are connecting with must download their software too.

Setster is the site I use for my appointment setting. I've researched and tried others and find Setster fits my needs best. Their platform is pretty simple making the appointment setting process for your clients easy. It syncs with my Google Calendar so that right there is a plus with me. (Read why I love Google Calendar in the FREE download "Re-think the Work-week". Get yours here!) I can collect payment for appointments through PayPal and then the appointment is confirmed. The process for clients to book an appointment is easy as well. When I tried other apppointment booking sites I had clients emailing and calling because they couldn't figure out how to book the appointment. Obviously this defeated the purpose of having an automated appointment setting system so I am sticking with Setster.

Audacity is a great free software you can use to record audio. If you offer meditations, classes, or just want to record something to put on your website Audacity is a good tool to keep handy.

Jing is a free tool to take screenshots or record (up to 5 minutes) of onscreen video. Use it to record free snippets of classes or other offerings.

Have videos you need to store online? Finding a video storage host can be tricky. There are tons out there with lots of different features. Personally I just need the videos to be stored, easily accessible (download or buffering time at a minimum), viewing to be controlled, and affordable. Screencast is one service that I like. It's owned by the same company that makes Jing. Sprout Video is another that is simple and affordable.

Screencast-o-Matic is a free online screen recorder. You can record presentations for classes, tutorials, videos to be uploaded to Youtube, etc. They have a free service as well as a really affordable premium service.

Spruz is a social networking site much like Ning but more affordable. I use Spruz for my online school Mystical Journeys. The platform is simple. They have a free version that has great features and their starter package is very affordable too.

QuickBooks Pro 2012 is the software I use for my bookkeeping. Having a bookkeeping/account software is essential for keeping organized while running your own business. I can run reports to see my income versus my expenses. I can keep track of client and customer orders. I balance my checkbooks using Quickbooks too. And boy does it help at tax time! Reports are easy to generate to give you the specific information you need for tax forms.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium, Version 11is absolutely my new favorite software. If you have arthritis or trouble typing, even if your typing skills aren't that great, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium, Version 11 will be very helpful. I have carpal tunnel, arthritis and nerve damage in my right arm/hand so typing can be difficult for me at times. This software saved me from a lot pain and frustration. It types what you say so you can sit back and tell it what to do and it will do it! Wonderful! 

Whew! Okay, I could go on but I think those are some of the basic tools that help me day to day. Do you have any great tools you would like share? Leave a comment below!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Official Site Launch

The website is officially launched. Thanks to those who were the testers. :)

I'm sure there are other kinks to work out so if you have any problems please let me know.

Don't forget to:

Like the Facebook Page!

Follow on Twitter!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I keep track of clients

This is a quick video on how I use Microsoft OneNote 2010 to keep track of client information and client work. It's a great little software that I have found useful for keeping organized for everything from vision boards to online research.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Paying a Spiritual Worker

There is an interesting mind-set in some of the spiritual/magickal communities that our skills and knowledge are given freely by a Divine Source and therefore we, as Spiritual Workers, shouldn't charge money for our services.

It's an old mind-set that doesn't serve the Spiritual Worker nor the client. Everything has a worth and value. There is an exchange of energy when people engage and communicate. The problem is when people start to think of the exchange of money in a negative way.

In our society we are conditioned to have a bad relationship with money. It has always been seen as something that only a select few have and hoard like it's their last breath. Money and wealth is something we all strive for because we need it to exchange for items and services.

Why is a spiritual item or service any different?

Now, what I usually hear from those that don't believe that money should be used as an exchange is with regard to spiritual services such as tarot reading, spellwork, healing and teaching. I've heard over and over that I was given the talent to read tarot cards freely from Goddess/God and should therefore pay that forward by reading for people for free.

I'm not sure where people are learning how to read tarot for free but honestly I haven't found those resources. I've paid for workshops, classes and books to develop my divination skills. Along the same lines I have paid money for spiritual training by Elders and spent a lot of time in classes and with my nose in a book I bought.

So where is this freely given gift?

We are all spiritual beings connected to each other and to the Divine Creator. I believe that the ability to perform spiritual work is innate in all of us just as it's in all of us to learn to speak a language correctly, we just need to find the teachers and resources to help us embody that skill. However, not all of us have the desire to become professional Spiritual Workers. And honestly not all of us have the skill to work professionally as a reader, witch or run a magickal shop.

When we put spirituality and magick into a box separate from other skills and talents we are putting it outside of ourselves. It becomes something that is different from everything else in our lives. It's something that is "over there" and not "here".

Personally, I wouldn't work with a Spiritual Worker that hasn't taken the time and energy to develop their skills as far as they could. There is only so much you can do with what you have been given, at some point you need to seek the teaching of others and value that teaching with an exchange of energy.

I have and will continue to trade what I offer with what others offer. I do trade-for-trade, meaning that if I have something you want or need and you have something I want or need we can trade for it no matter the monetary value of the item/service.

For example: You offer a class and I offer a class. You would like to take my class and I would like to take your class. You charge $30 for your hour long class. I charge $50 for my two hour class. I'm not looking to make up that $20 difference or that extra hour. It's a trade-for-trade energy exchange. It's even-steven in my book.

Trade-for-trade is my favorite way of doing things. Unfortunately the gas station down the road isn't interested in my tarot readings for a tank full of gas.

The mind-set that charging money for something makes it less spiritually connected is hog-wash. An unhealthy relationship with money and wealth will keep you away from the wealth you deserve. Exactly why would financial abundant energy want to hang around a person who thinks ill of it?

photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos
Meet Sara (fictitious person). She's an artist. When she was 7 her mother found her laying on the livingroom floor sketching the family cat Bonzo. Her mother was amazed at Sara's talent and found out that Sara loved to draw and paint.

For a few years Sara kept a sketch book of her drawings and enjoyed the art class at school. Finally when she was 12 she asked to take a summer program art course. Her mother agreed and Sara's love for art grew.

Sara went to college and got a degree in art. She now works as an illustrator for a big fashion magazine. Sara took her divinely given gifts and turned them into a profession. Should she not be paid for her talent?

Why is a talented artist being paid any different than a talented spellworker being paid?

Where is the line drawn that separates divinely given gifts that are okay to buy and sell and divinely given gifts that are not okay to buy and sell?

Is the ability to do art not as sacred as the ability to read tarot? Maybe that is where this mind-set lies. I don't know.

I'm a crafter. I make clothes. I have a degree in fashion design. Was I born with some of these abilities? Sure. Could I make a living using these talents if I had never paid money to develop these talents further? Maybe. Did I pay for training to develop these talents? Most definitely.

For me there is no line. Value those things around you as you wish. It's your choice however don't get your panties in a bind when others value those things differently.

As for paying money to train as a priestess/priest or for initiation - well that isn't any different. The people I have learned from are a wealth of practical knowledge that we are just not born with. They have studied hard the history of cultures and traditions and know their stuff. They have used an abundance of energy to learn what they know. I will always value that and gladly exchange money for their knowledge.

Be smart. Research anyone you choose to learn from or buy from. If what they are offering doesn't feel right to you to pay money for it then don't. Move on and find something that jives with you. They may not know their stuff or maybe they just aren't the right Spiritual Worker for you. Either way if you aren't willing to pay them money then don't waste energy complaining about them charging for their service/product.

It's important for us to support our spiritual leaders, teachers, and workers the same way we support the person who changes the oil on our car or the person who grew the apples we buy in the grocery store.

And at some point in our future where money is not the #1 method of exchange we can pick-up this topic again.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Excited about the official launch

I am super excited about the official launch of Business Alchemy Coach! As I write this I am consulting with a couple of clients that I have worked with over the last year. They are now ready to take the plunge into the sea of abundance and really get down and dirty with creating their dream of being of service to their community through the spiritual gifts and talents.

The process to come to this place isn't easy. I know, I have been there. However, the rewards are great and at the end of the day having had the opportunity to create a beautiful spiritual product or work with a client on a spiritual concern is why we are here.

Let's walk this path together...