Source: GIPHY

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Bradford Kinney, owner of Warm Star Electronics and founder of Southwest Synth Fest. During the interview, Bradford gave us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a successful music business owner and festival producer. He also shed some light on one of the coolest industries around.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me about your business and what you do?

BRADFORD: Sure. Five years ago, I started my own company making electronic music gear. I make synthesizer modules for a format called Eurorack modular. It’s basically very advanced-use electronic music creation equipment marketed to hardcore users.

Last year, I founded a gear festival called the Southwest Synth Fest. It’s an industry festival that has a gear expo portion, educational portion with classes and workshops, and also a live music portion.

And I perform, write, and record electronic music as well. So I’m pretty much involved in all aspects of electronic music.

ME: That’s so cool! What are your daily communications like to run your business and get the festival up and running?

BRADFORD: On the business end, it’s larger sales to retailers that are really my bread and butter. So those communications are relatively few and far between. I do talk to customers via social media, but the most important business communication is to a small handful of retailers, and that happens when I sell to them every couple of weeks.

As far as the festival, it’s the exact opposite. I’m very actively communicating with large numbers of people. Booking talent, booking brands, talking to people about being educators, giving talks and stuff.

So it’s difficult for me to even guess how many people I’ve been talking to each day. Probably at least 10. And that’s going to happen in June, so it’s going to continue to be a pretty large amount of communication all the way from now until then.

ME: Sounds like a lot! What what would you say are your current challenges and priorities for everything that’s going on?

BRADFORD: That’s a big question. Current challenges for the festival: last year, it was a little, relatively DIY thing with a handful of brands represented. I’m trying to, in a single year, go from that to being a stop on the professional gear festival circuit.

There are a few other electronic music gear events, but none in this area of the country or that time of year. So I’m trying to claim my spot on that rotation by significantly stepping up the size of brands, working on the amount of press attention that I’m getting, making promotional materials, press releases. That kind of thing.

My current challenges for my modular company are two-fold. Moving units and finishing developing a new product. So, you know, I’m keeping my products moving out to retailers, and I’m working with Alright Devices to put the finishing touches on some things for the new product we’re making.

People who like this format of gear are people who like to see new things all the time. It’s very much the home of the cutting edge, so keeping products, even a couple of years old, present in people’s minds and moving off shelves is always a challenge. But I manage.

To see Bradford’s work or contact him, visit his website at http://warmstarelectronics.com.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

We bet you didn’t think that we would do a podcast on architecture, but here it is! After scouring the internet, we came up with three of our favorite architecture podcast. While we are on the podcast talk, dive into our other podcast suggestions! Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s talk about architecture! 

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art.

From prolific styles to renowned architects, architecture is by far one of the most captivating fields of study. It is a field of study that we feel is particularly underappreciated, and because of this, we felt that it was time for someone to show some affection. For more information on architecture, we highly suggest researching other podcasts. Let’s begin. 

Design Matters

With a fun UI (user interface) design and a plethora of categories, this podcast has it all. Host/ founder and author of six books, Debbie Millman is the first and longest-running podcast about design.

With over 300 interviews from design luminaries and cultural commentators, Design Matters has garnered over 5 million downloads, along with a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Since this post is focused on architecture, we looked at episodes that were relative to that, however, we do suggest looking at Millman’s other episodes. 

James Biber

Image from Design Matters

James Biber is an architect that focuses on multi-disciplinary environments. According to the interview with Millman, Biber’s “work centers on a belief that architecture is an expression of identity that is inseparable from its language of form and tectonics” (2012). This belief results in the idea that “architecture ties closely to its context; whether physical, cultural, or metaphorical” (2012). 

Throughout the episode, Millman discusses with Biber on the essence of art and architecture. They begin with Biber’s unusual fascination with the Waffle House. According to Biber, Waffle House has the largest sign to store ratio.

Additionally, they have everything for everybody. What is also fascinating to Biber, is the visual vernacular of the signage. Essentially the signage represents a model of simplicity and efficiency. An important concept to note, that is also often repeated throughout the episode is the mass market.

The mass-market relative to architecture is huge. If one were to slightly redesign any mass marker, such as McDonalds or Waffle House, the impact would be phenomenal. The mass-market + slight change = global market. How is this equation relative to architecture? Biber explains that architects avoid normalcy because it represents generic things that they are in fact trying to change. In other words, from an architects’ perspective, there is a need to change the world, and to change the world, one of the approaches is the mass-market industry. 

“Construction is still an extremely analog activity, it is science, art, craft.”

Biber 2012

Also interesting to note is that Biber makes the argument that architecture is synonymous to biography. Architecture, from Biber’s point of view, is that is it brain made- it is impossible to design something without it being personal, historical, etc. Architecture is always burdened with a set of meaning, therefore it is a brain made, and therefore a biography.

Biber’s work has been recognized by the AIA, AIGA, SEGD and other professional design organizations, and has been published in The New York Times, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, Architect, Blueprint, Wallpaper, Dwell, Metropolitan Home, New York Magazine and the design press internationally.

The Architecture Happy Hour

Yes, we said Happy Hour. We loved the title too. With a classy suave intro, The Architecture Happy Hour is an informal and entertaining podcast that started in 2009 hosted by hpd architecture + interiors, Laura Davis and Holly Hall

“From the very beginning, we wanted the podcast to feel like you were sitting down with friends to chat about architecture and home design. And if you happen to have a cocktail in your hand, even better.”

Davis.

Their podcasts include but are not limited to: 

  • home design
  • home improvement
  • kitchen and bathroom design
  • architecture
  • interior design
  • updating from traditional to contemporary
  • how to select a contractor
  • working with an architect
  • becoming an architect

The episode we will be focusing on is “Episode 87: New Year Resolutions in Your Home.” 

Episode 87:New Year Resolutions in Your Home

The question Davis and Hall propose is that if your home could make New Year’s resolutions, what would they be? Throughout the episode, Davis and Hall discuss several ways to make your home more healthy, better organized, and budget-smart. From sorting to maintenance, to even home designing tips, David and Hall cover it all.

One of the tips to having a healthier is purging. Purge your junk drawer, closets, kitchen, etc. Purging your items will allow you to see the space available, and perhaps further projects to improve on, such as cabinetry, painted walls, flooring, countertops, etc. Purging allows for the impactful benefits of feeling cleaner, efficient, and productive.

Holly and Davis say to start from the floor to doors, cabinets, and then ceiling. Additionally, go room-to-room, and prioritize the list. Lastly, create a calendar. Creating a calendar to input a goal for each month is a great way to improve your house. What are some New Year Resolutions for your home? 

Business of Architecture 

Enoch Sears is the host and founder of the Business of Architecture. Sears started this practice as a resource for firm owners. Further, his mission has been to discover and share strategies, tactics, and tools needed to run a successful practice.

Note that Business of Architecture does dive into the realm of said study, however, it also encompasses the idea of creating a successful enterprise with architecture. Sears’s methodology is adopting the “ArchitectCEO” mindset. The ArchitectCEO takes ultimate responsibility for his or her results and success. Think like a CEO, not an architect.

To show how this method works, we chose “Episode 309: Architect Creates Illustration Brand with Rajiv Fernandez.”

Episode 309: Architect Creates Illustration Brand with Rajiv Fernandez.

Image from Lil’ Icon

Rajiv Hernandez is a trained and licensed architect. He currently is the CEO of his illustration company, Lil’ ICon. As a graduate of the Colombia School of Architecture, Fernandez believed he had more to offer to the world.

After the 2016 election, Fernandez took a risk to jump in unfamiliar territory, illustration, to create a voice. The majority of the illustrations Fernandez creates deals with political and social commentary. His mission is to inspire people to talk and connect his illustrations with architecture.

As a freelance entrepreneur, Fernandez realized that he had to become resourceful and hustle his way to his dream. The way Fernandez hustled was by asking around, “hey are you looking for an illustrator or an architect to do work?”

Further, Fernandez explains that transitioning from an architecture firm to freelance gave him the choice to choose his own projects. Doing so allows him to choose smaller clients. Additionally, by becoming a freelance entrepreneur/architect, it became easier to get architecture projects. 

A piece of key advice that Fernandez gives, especially for those wanting to do more than just architecture, is to spread your business/mission by word of mouth and referrals from partners.

Additionally, having the power to say no to certain projects balances out your creative outlet and work. Lastly, according to Fernandez, having a dedicated office space allows for a rigid schedule and mode of productivity.

Summation

For those seeking to do more with architecture, understand that conquering your aspirations can be a slow grind. However, if you are like Fernandez, who is basically a hardcore hustler, anything is possible. 

These are our top favorite architecture podcasts. Our purpose with this blog post: eliminate the notion that there is only one form of architecture. With the insightful and refreshing point-of-view, we can be certain that there are in fact a variety of ways to use architecture. One is the classic design way, the second, using it in interior designs, and lastly as a form of enterprise. Of course, there are other ways to implement the architecture, but we will leave you to find that out. 

AirSend helps architects, interior designers, and creatives create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Source: unDraw

How are you doing? The end of January is a great time to check-in with yourself on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Hopefully, we’re all still working hard at our new year resolutions. If not, no worries. This blog post is here to give you that extra push you need to keep going.

Whether your resolutions are to be healthier, increase work performance, improve financial well-being, or a combination of those, the top three 2020 health trends can make it easier for you to achieve your goals. Here are the top current health trends to increase wellness and boost productivity.

Trend #1: Meditation

Source: unDraw

Meditation has been mainstream a while now, and it remains a crowd favorite for everything from stress-relief to anti-aging. Other health benefits of meditation include:

As you can see, many of the benefits you can get from meditation have a clear connection to productivity.

So how do you start?

If you’re tech-savvy, there are meditation and mindfulness apps that can help. Two top-rated ones are Calm and Headspace. There are also many videos and articles with simple step-by-step instructions. Here’s a good one to start with: Go to Video >>>

No matter how you choose to start, the important thing is to do it consistently, even if it’s just three minutes a day.

Trend #2: Healthy Snacks

Source: unDraw

What is your go-to snack in the middle of the afternoon when you just want something to nibble? If your answer is a bag of chips or a candy bar, this next health trend is for you.

It’s easy to overlook what our snacking habits do to our health and work performance, but what you snack on can have a big impact. For example, most chips and candy bars are 150 – 200 calories per serving and high in carbohydrates. Eat a few per day and say goodbye to your fitness goals and hello to carb hangovers — both barriers to a healthy, focused, and productive you.

So what should you have instead?

Here are some alternatives that will satisfy your hunger and keep you healthy and productive:

Like most things in life, the key to healthy snacking is finding a good balance. Don’t be afraid to explore and keep switching it up until you find what works for you.

Trend #3: Fitness Challenges

Source: unDraw

Studies show a positive correlation between physical movement and workplace well-being and productivity. This isn’t surprising considering the benefits of exercise. Exercise improves sleep, mental health, and mood. It also tells your body to release chemicals that enhance brain structure and function.

We all know that we need to work out. The problem is getting ourselves off the couch. If working out feels like a chore or you’ve been having trouble getting started, a fitness challenge might help.

Fitness challenges appeal to our competitiveness. Many also come with the additional benefit of community support and accountability. Here are a few popular ones to consider:

Ready, get set, go!

Being healthy and more successful are the most common new year resolutions, and they go hand-in-hand. Taking steps to improve your mental and physical health will always positively impact productivity.

Wishing you a healthy, productive, and successful 2020!

The AirSend Team

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Source: unDraw

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Chin, owner of Northshore Media Productions. The company has been ranked #1 in music and audio production in Austin for four years in a row and has since expanded into photography and video production as well.

During the interview, Kevin gave us an insider’s view of what it is like to be a successful music and video producer. He also provided some helpful tips on entrepreneurship and what to look for when choosing a videographer or producer for your project.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me a little about you and your business?

KEVIN: I am the sole proprietor of a company called Northshore Media Productions, and I consider myself a multimedia producer of all aspects of media production, from audio, music, video, and podcasts to photography. So anything to do with media. I have contractors that I use, but for the most part I can function in all aspects of the job, whether it’s recording or filming or photography and all the editing.

ME: What does it look like for you to go through a week of running your business?

KEVIN: My passion is music actually, so I have a recording studio. I also have an office in Round Rock that does video production and voiceovers for like radio, audio books, and podcasts. So I’m going between those two locations with three or four music recording sessions with artists in a given week. Sometimes there’s a photography session, or I might do a video livestream for a client. And there’s video production.

ME: How do you manage everything?

KEVIN: I used to be in a corporate role as a project engineer and manager and in the oil and gas industry, so when it comes to multitasking and project management, I’m pretty on top of things. I schedule things out with enough time to meet deliverables.

ME: What are some differences between working for someone else and running your own business?

KEVIN: I would say my job now, even though I’m wearing a lot more hats, is a lot more flexible and lax than the nine to five constraints. I can take off a Wednesday if I need to or work on a bunch of stuff, accomplish things, and then just chill out.

ME: Where do you find most of your clients?

KEVIN: There are a lot of meetups that I go to. Also, I was affiliated with this incubator called Media Tech Ventures and became known as the guy to go to or the company to go to for any type of media need in Austin. That helped significantly with building a list of consistent clients since I was dealing with startups receiving funding.

ME: That’s great. How did you get into that?

KEVIN: I met one of their founders at an afterparty. And he saw my capabilities as a music producer and audio producer, as well as someone who works the Austin Film Society. I’m pretty well-versed in all aspects of video production, music production, audio, and photography, and having all these skillsets directly correlated with this. I guess my title would be Chief Media Producer or Chief Media Director within that organization. I kind of molded the role over the last seven years of running Northshore Media. It used to be just music and part-time back when I was in Chicago. But after moving to Austin, I made it my full-time gig and developed my video skills to the point where I can produce TV commercials.

ME: It sounds like networking is where you get most of your clients and also industry information. Is that right?

KEVIN: Yeah, I would say that most of my business is B2B, so this type of structure and networking is probably the best way for me at this point. But I do know that LinkedIn would be a great asset to reach out to marketing directors and companies. But I haven’t really used it. I’m not the type that likes to fish around and spam people.

ME: So, we’re running out of time. I have one last question for you. What would you recommend to someone who’s looking for a videographer or a producer? What would you recommend they look for?

KEVIN: I would recommend them to find someone who’s going to be upfront about costs. Sometimes someone that is new to hiring a videographer or video production company might not know about all the associated post-production costs and all the costs associated with insurance and hiring additional talent or additional labor as needed. And sometimes that’s not communicated.

I also think there are a lot of really creative video producers, but they can’t organize a project and complete it from start to finish. They can lay it out in their heads but they can’t execute within the budget, and they can’t execute the actual production and post-production. You know, they’re more like dreamers than doers.

When I send out a quote or bid, I never deviate from it. I can give an accurate rate based on my past experience. And I think that’s that’s what’s kept me pretty busy. I’m honest and able to get it done.

To see Kevin’s work or contact him, visit his website at https://www.northshoremediaproductions.com/.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Welcome back to AirSend’s Book Corner!! As mentioned previously in our other book corner post, also titled, “The Referral Engine,” we will be breaking this book into two parts. There is so much useful information from the book alone, we felt it necessary to break it into two parts. If you would like to read the first part of the review, click here. If you have already read the first part, and are anxiously awaiting our second analysis, welcome back! Before diving into our chosen chapter, allow us to give a quick refresher to what the book is about. 

Refresher

John Jantsch, author, blogger, and podcast host published what we like to think as the holy textbook to marketing, “The Referral Engine.” Marketing expert John Jantsch offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. Some of Jantsch’s strategies include:

  • Talking with your customers, not at them
  • The sales team is the focal point 
  • Educate your customers. 

One of the secrets to generating referrals lies in understanding the “Customer Referral Cycle”-the way customers refer others to your company who, in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. If everyone in an organization keeps this sequence in mind, Jantsch argues, your business will generate referrals like a well-oiled machine. Whew, now that we have gone through the refresher portion, let’s talk chapters! The chapter we will be focusing on as part of our finale series is “Chapter Four: The Referral System View.” 

Chapter Four: The Referral System View

We believe this chapter holds some very delicate and intricate points on the idea of referrals, and how to be a success at it. Throughout the chapter, the author offers his words of wisdom, along with a step-by-step outline of referral systems. Rather than telling you the step-by-step process (because that will take all day), we will briefly go over each of the steps addressing key points. We of course highly suggest reading the chapter in full for a better understanding of context. Let’s dive in. 

Your Authentic Strategy

This is the first step in creating your referral system. Your authentic strategy should explain a core talkable difference. What makes your business stand out from your competitor? What does your brand say about you? After understanding and figuring out why you are the best in the business, you must then narrowly define your ideal customer. This strategy intertwines with the first strategy. After deducing your uniqueness, what customers can you market to that will also find your brand interesting? Who do you want to be of service to? How/what can your business do to help others? Once you have these two strategies down you are ready to graduate to the next step. 

Core Talkable Difference

As reiterated before, your core talkable difference is the first strategy to implement in your referral system. During this process, you will also inevitably unearth your competitive advantage. 

“This must be something so special that people can’t help talking about your business.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 56). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

With AirSend, for example, we believe we stand alone in the conquest of efficiency. We strive to reach perfection with a purpose. To do that, we needed to create something that no one else could beat. Another example could be your favorite taco joint. Everybody loves this taco joint because they have a product that other taco restaurants don’t have. Are you more likely to go to a taco restaurant that has something no other eatery has, or are you more likely to go to a taco joint that has everything you can get from your local grocery store? 

“One of the best ways to create an innovation or differentiation for your business is to take something people already realize they may want and need and make it even easier to want.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 57). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

How to Create a Surefire Innovation

One thing to take note of is that we are entering an age of simplicity and efficiency. Simplicity and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Look at the technology that is being released. What we are really trying to say is that your innovation should simplify something. The market already understands the offering, and they already spend money here (in your desired field). So, what can you offer to the market that is more efficient and simple than your competitors? A market that already has funding in this desired field? Do not be daunted by this idea! Do not be afraid! If anything these questions should ignite an inner spark! Take these questions and conquer your field. Be the next innovator, not the observer. 

“Much of this advice has focused on entering proven markets. While that’s absolutely the advice I’m giving here, know that you must do so with a significant point of differentiation that the market easily understands and appreciates. In most cases this can be done by looking at the way most folks in the chosen market operate and find a way to simplify your offerings around breaking the mold.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (pp. 59-60). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Another key element to realize is that nothing is precious. Though we like to stick by our original ideas like they were our children, sometimes we have to adapt accordingly. Keep an open mind and study what the market really wants. 

“The owner is the customer. Understanding the characteristics, desires, and behaviors of a narrowly defined target market is very hard work but essential to your success.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 58). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

The Inbound Referral Process

From the traditional business models of hunting customers, we now enter a time era where the referral marketing system is moved from finding to being found, creating valuable content, engagement, and interaction where the ideal prospects are already looking. 

“The dramatic rise in the use of search engines in our daily lives has made being found a vital element in the marketing of every type of business.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 61). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The Customer Network

Fully developed referral system targets two groups: the customer base (direct network) and a group made of other businesses that also serve your ideal customer, who could be motivated to partner with you in some way to exchange referrals and support your customers

The Strategic Partner Network

According to Jantsch, the real unspoken referral opportunity resides with strategic partners. In other words, using businesses to refer to you and vice versa. An example that I believe takes the cake is game stores. When you go to tabletop game stores, (from personal experience especially), plenty of staff members refer you to other similar game stores that sell generally the same product. Why? Well, I would like to think it is loyalty, but in reality, it is to keep the businesses alive. To encourage more customers/ traffic.

“By using technologies such as online Web conferencing and podcasting you can easily tap the knowledge and resources of a large group of experts and partners and make the knowledge available to your customers on demand.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 63). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Fulfilling The Promise

When it comes to keeping promises, rewards are almost always the best answer. Plenty of retailers follow this strategy: “refer five people and receive a $25 gift card.” By far one of the most effective ways of gaining referrals. Much like a give and take system. Of course, remember the best referrals are earned when customers do it because they genuinely want to support the business.

“After working out your motivation strategy, you’ll create a referral follow-up process to ensure that referred leads are treated with special care, and that your referral sources are shown real appreciation to keep them motivated.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 63). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Referral Entry Points

We have finally entered the last section of the chapter. This last section essentially is a refresher course. For starters, get this through your mind: You deserve referrals!

“The expectation mindset must pervade your entire organization—it’s everyone’s job to find leads and convert them into customers.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 64). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Once you finally believe that your business or profession is worth, then create two different referral approaches (check out chapter nine). One for your customers and the other for your strategic partners. Afterward, create turnkey tools. 

Turnkey Tools

“Put tangible referral tools in the hands of your referral sources.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 65). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

In other words, make it easy and accessible for your clients to refer to you. Additionally have multiple creative ways for clients to refer to you.  Have a social online presence everywhere- great for versatility. Then, plan for logical collections. 

“The best time to collect referrals from customers is at the point when they realize and acknowledge a good job was done.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 65). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Finally, after following all these steps, and having a basic outline of how your referral system should be, measure and adjust. Hardly ever do we get our referral system right the first time. Your dashboard (outline) should be used as a place that you can go back to. Much like a drawing board. Mistakes are inevitable, and you may not have the referral system you dreamed of first time around, but with time and confidence in your product and/or service, you will surely reach your goal. 

“This is a place you might consider going back to your referral sources to discuss your referral campaigns, the type of ideal customer you are focused on, the best way to make an introduction to your firm, and your total product or service offerings.”

Jantsch, John. The Referral Engine (p. 66). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

AirSend helps startups create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

In today’s blog post we are going to give a primer to communication. Put simply, the core and tendrils of communication.

Communication has developed, formed, and transformed our society for centuries. Without the development of communication, we most likely wouldn’t be where we are today. In essence, communication is one of the foundations of creation.

Communication

At its core, communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Communication is when the receiver conveys or shares the ideas and feelings behind the message.

According to Skills You Need, there are complexities to communication. Often, messages can have different interpretations depending on how they are perceived. This leads to different feelings than the intended meaning of the message. Conversations come from the idea of interpretation and the intended meaning of messages. This leads to four categories of communication.

Categories of Communication

When it comes to categories of communication there are four main types: Spoken or Verbal Communication, Non-Verbal Communication, Written Communication, and Visualizations. 

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the transfer of information through speaking or sign language. Additionally, verbal communication is seen in face-to-face conversations, video conferences, and phone calls. Verbal communication is the most common type of communication because it is the most efficient.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal is the use of body language, gestures, and facial expressions to convey information to others. This category is most helpful when trying to understand others’ thoughts and feelings. The idea of using non-verbal communication comes from the concept of using communication intentionally and unintentionally. Such as smiling unintentionally when hearing a nice song. 

Written Communication

Written communication is the act of writing, typing, or printing symbols to convey information. Note here that the difference between non-verbal and written communication is that non-verbal dives into body language to communicate.

Much like the Cuneiform script seen in the Sumerian city of Uruk. Common forms of written communication can be seen in the workplace. Sending emails and instant messaging results in a simpler form of communication.

Because of the results written communication has brought, it has now become the preferred form of communication in corporate and self-made businesses. 

Visual Communication

Visual communication is the act of using photographs, art, drawing, sketches, charts, and graphs to convey information. Visuals are often used to aid presentations and provide helpful context alongside written and verbal communication. 

Further, categories of communication are used every day, and because they are the most common types, tendrils have sprouted. In other words, categories lead to the next advanced form. An advanced form in which we use the categories and transform them into types of communication.

Summation

In this blog post, we discussed the core of communication and what it means, which is the base level. Additionally, we discussed the categories which form the second tiers to communication. In the next part, we will discuss the types and styles of communication.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Do you want to learn how to effectively use your communication skills for your business? Click here to read our book corner blog on Verbal Judo.

In our previous post about how to hire well, we talked about some tips on hiring the right person that can be learned from the Thirukkural. But putting together a great team is only the first step. Next you need to figure out how to manage your team in a way that is easy for you and effective in getting work done.

Again, the Thirukkural can help.

The Thirukkural is a 2000-year old classic Tamil text written by Thiruvalluvar on every aspect of life, including leadership. It is considered one of the most important texts in Tamil literature and has been admired by many influential people over the years, including Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi.

Over 40 translations of the text exist, but many are outdated and difficult to apply to modern times. That’s why we chose the easily relatable modern rendition of the text written by Kannan to use for this post.

Here are three tips on how to manage your team successfully.

Tip #1

அறிந்தாற்றிச் செய்கிற்பாற் கல்லால் வினைதான்
சிறந்தானென் றேவற்பாற் றன்று.

“Assign the task to those who know it, can plan, execute and get it done; and not to the most prominent, or likeable, person.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

If you read our previous blog post, this tip might sound familiar. Just like with hiring, when it comes to choosing which of your team members should do a task, be sure you select based on ability and not likeability or popularity.

This can be hard to do. We all want to be good to our friends, but at the end of the day, things need to get done. This is especially true in a small business where every resource (time, money, energy) counts. And despite our good intentions, the best person to get those things done may not be the best liked.

Tip #2

வினைக்குரிமை நாடிய பின்றை யவனை
அதற்குரிய னாகச் செயல்.

“After figuring out who should own a task, equip and empower him to get the task done.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

One you’ve chosen the right person for the job, the next part of your job as their manager is to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.

This could be knowledge, time, or financial resources. Whatever it is, if they don’t have it — provide it or point them in the direction where they can find it. Sometimes this process is called unblocking. A good manager’s job is to remove any roadblocks that are keeping her team from succeeding. The key is to set up the right conditions for excellent work to be created, and then to let it happen.

You don’t want to be totally hands off if its obvious your team member needs help. This could leave them feeling unsupported and lead to bad work. But, you also don’t want to micromanage. This leads us to the third tip.

Tip #3

இதனை யிதனா லிவன்முடிக்கு மென்றாய்ந்
ததனை யவன்கண் விடல்.

“This task – he can do, using these resources : once you reason it out thus, leave the task to him.”

– modern rendition of the Thirukkural by Kannan
Source: unDraw

Don’t micromanage. You hired this person for a reason, and you chose them to do this task for a reason. Once you’ve provided them with all the necessary resources, trust that they will do a good job and leave them to it.

Micromanagement is a killer of team energy. It’s exhausting to deal with and exhausting to do. So don’t do it.

Instead, manage through context rather than control. Context is the information behind all the decisions of an organization. People who have the same responsibilities have the same context. So context isn’t based on individuals, it’s based on function. The stronger context you create for your team, the less control you need to exert to get things done.

Feeling better about team management?

Source: unDraw

Management is a skill, so it takes knowledge and practice to get things right. These ancient, time-tested tips will start you on the right path for both you and your business to succeed.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Source: GIPHY

The start of a new year is a great time to review your previous year in business and set a new vision for the coming year. New year resolutions get a bad rap for being overly positive goals that never actually get done, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The difference between a new year resolution that gets accomplished and one that doesn’t is the goal-setting process. So instead of giving up on new year resolutions entirely, why not try a different way of setting them?

Below is a short but effective visioning process to help you make 2020 your best business year yet.

Step 1: Reflect on the Past

Source: GIPHY

Pull out your journal, laptop, or a piece of paper and take a few minutes to answer these questions. Your answers can be as simple or detailed as you like. Do what feels right to you.

  1. What were some of the high and low points for your business in 2019?
  2. What are some entrepreneurship lessons you learned throughout the year?
  3. Which things do you want to take with you and what do you want to leave behind in 2020?

Step 2: Observe the Present

Source: GIPHY

The next step is to assign a rating to each major area of your business based on your current state. On a scale of 1-10, rate the following:

  • Client / Customer Relations
  • Product / Service Quality
  • Team Collaboration
  • Sales / Marketing
  • Finances
  • Overall State of the Business

Step 3: Envision the Future

Source: GIPHY

After you’ve assessed the present, it’s time to envision the coming year in business and what you want it to be. Write a short story (a few paragraphs) about your ideal year and write it in the present tense as if it’s happening right now.

For example, if getting more clients is something you want, one of your paragraphs might start like this: “I am spending more time networking and am landing more clients per week than 2019.”

Try to take at least fifteen minutes for this part of the exercise and think about what you really want to do. How do you want to feel? What would be fun? What would be a worthy challenge?

Step 4: Set a Theme

Source: GIPHY

In our blog post about start-ups, we talked about the importance of having an overarching vision for your company and product. A vision guides you like the North Star. It keeps you from getting lost in the day-to-day by reminding you of what you’re working towards.

The final step is to give your 2020 a theme. Some examples could be: “2020 – The Year of Expansion and Revenue Growth” or “2020 – The Year of Mindful Habits and Work / Life Balance.”

Write down your theme and pin it somewhere where you will see it everyday.

Ready for an amazing 2020?

At AirSend, we like to give credit where it’s due. This process is something we first discovered on an excellent business coaching Instagram. You can view the original post here. You can also click here for a longer, more personal and detailed version of the process.

We hope that your 2020 is off to a great start and that it only gets better from here!

Happy New Year from The AirSend Team!

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Alrighty, everyone. It is now time to break out our collection of Specifics. This week, we thought we would do something a little bit more fun. Instead of hearing it from us on what real estate is, and how to be incredibly successful in it, we figured we would let others tell you about it. **Pushing the spotlight over. Introducing our three preferred real estate podcasts! From these podcasts, you will absorb what the real estate market is like, tips and tricks, behind the scenes, and humor! Let’s get started with the first act.

Tom Ferry Podcast Experience

Tom Ferry is the founder of Tom Ferry Real Estate Coaching. He is also a renowned icon because his coaching actually works. Stated on his “about” section of the website, their mission is to, “hold professionals accountable to fulfill their greatness.” Additionally, his podcasts and blogs are extremely beneficial when it comes to reviewing every facet of the real estate industry. From high-end clients to just starting out, Ferry has it all.

Ferry has four podcasts: Mindset Monday, The Tom Ferry Show, Podcast Experience, and Throwback Thursday. Of course, as indicated by the subtitle, we are focusing on the Podcast Experience, but we do recommend taking a gander at his other shows. The episode we recommend for first-time listeners is “Episode 44: Optimizing & Operationalizing Your Business with Jeff Mays.

Episode 44: Optimizing and Operationalizing Your Business with Jeff Mays

Jeff Mays is one of our national speakers, coach, and broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Prime. With over 26 years in the real estate market, Mays and Ferry have a wonderful sitdown discussion on the keys to success in operating your business. Mays also dives into the consequences of not being organized, as well as the importance of organization, which summarily, brings greater structure to your business. In this episode, Mays and Ferry decipher what causes and creates growth. Their answer: GETTING ORGANIZED. Or as they like to chuckle about it, “operationalizing your business.” Before diving into the world of real estate or any type of professional service, you first must deduce what you want and why. From there you should implement a schedule. 

“Great growth comes when you get ticked off.”

Jeff Mays. 

Nowadays agents and other professionals who specialize in giving quality service, wing their plans. According to Mays and Ferry, this is a big no-no. Further, Mays and Ferry highly suggest doing things efficiently, the same way each time. AirSend can help you take back control of your time. With AirSend, take the liberty to maximize efficiency by doing everything from one platform; send messages, upload documents, assign tasks, and have a powerful built-in file organizer. AirSend. Connecting people to get work done.

Another interesting key point that Mays points out is that we spend our working days avoiding the hour of power. In other words, tasks that should only take two hours to complete, end up taking 8 hours to complete. Because of this, burnout happens. With structure comes with more time. A system Mays suggests that helps with creating organization is simply following your checklist every day. If you are more of a visual or analytical person, take the time to create a Kanban or a Scrum board. With Kanbans and Scrums efficiency becomes fun.

To close out the episode Mays and Ferry propose several questions. In order to operate and maximize op-edge (maximum operationalizing) what is your exceptional service? How do you personalize your services to make your customer service exceptional, and therefore worth remembering? This should be one of your top questions you must ask yourself every day when creating your business. This question will not only define what your business is, but it will also be the essence of which you stand for. 

Whew! What a great first act! It’s always best to blow away the audience with one of your best acts, however, in this blog post, we have two more amazing acts that will guarantee blow the socks off your feet. Or perhaps blow your mind away. Let’s move on to our second podcast.

Real Estate Rockstar Radio

Pat Hiban is the host and founder of Real Estate Rockstar Radio. His mission is to find and interview rockstars in the real estate industry (who would’ve guessed). Pat Hilban is also a New York Times Best Selling Author, and he is now delivering his insight into his triweekly show. Each episode addresses success, failures, tips, and tricks within the bustling industry. The episode we suggest listening to is, “Episode 865: Success Through Service With Commerical Real Estate Expert Jonathan Keyser.”

Episode 865: Success Through Service With Commerical Real Estate Expert Jonathan Keyser

With more than 20 years in the Commercial Real Estate Industry, Jonathan Keyser has become one of the most famous commercial real estate agents. Not because of his talent of surviving in a cutthroat industry, but by actually doing what he believes is best: reaching success by helping others reach their success. Thus came his business Keyser Real Estate. In today’s episode, one of the leading questions that frequently are asked is, “how do you grow and prosper in the real estate environment?”

“You don’t have to be ruthless to win.”

Jonathan Keyser. 

Indeed. Keyser’s argument, in its essential form, is to create success by helping others succeed. Keyser uses his statement and likens it to hunting and farming. When we hunt, we think for ourselves. How do I survive? With farming, there is patience, care, attention, and resulting in eventual growth. The way farming is applied to Keyser’s argument is simple. Invest your time in people and relationships. Much like growing a tree in your backyard. Every day you must water it, tend to it, and care for it.

The idea of investing in relationships leads to successful futures. However, this is a long game, one that takes on average five years to complete. But, as Keyser boldly admits, he was miserable with the way he was killing it in the industry. He found himself misaligned with his values and for that, he reinvented himself and blossomed into a fruitful success. The way investment in relationships work is that they prove valuable in the long run. With value comes referrals.

“You truly can create extraordinary success by helping others succeed.”

Jonathan Keyser.

So, how do we apply this value to relationship building? Well, according to Keyser, you must provide a different level of service. Think about your clients’ families, the values you want to create, and how you would like to share these values. Note, doing the right thing because it is the right thing should not be the guiding business principle. Selfless service is brought on by the most self-interested strategy. 

“Being kind is not being weak.”

Jonathan Keyser.

The way to best implement the selfless service ironically is through the self-interested strategy, and here’s why: the self-interested strategy should be implemented in the mindset of how you can help others effectively and to the best of your ability. This type of mindset actually increases production, business, and service.

Your approach should have one major task: with every client, you interface with, what are three ways you can be of service to them without expecting anything in return. Through building relationships, be very present, listen, and ask probing questions. Think about who are the people that can impact you and how can you help them in return. Keyser continuously stresses that serving people takes a lot of work, but the endless success is worth it. Finally, Keyser departs some words of advice to all rookies and experts in the real estate world and the business industry: Think big. 

Well, how was that podcast for an awesome act? But don’t start quieting down. We still have one more seat rocker to show ya, that will, like the others, inspire the hell out of you. 

BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast  

BiggerPockets is a company that caters towards helping realtors become successful. They offer content, tools, valuable tips, deals, financing, finding partners, and how to avoid mistakes when making the best investing opportunity. Their mission statement: BiggerPockets is a complete resource for anyone looking to succeed in real estate investing. With all that being said, allow us to finally lift the curtains for the final act. The episode up for discussion today is, “Episode 359: Using an Agent to Find Your First (or Next) Deal With Ryan Meinzer, Stephanie & Hero Cruz, and Rob Kishi.”

Episode 359: Using an Agent to Find Your First (or Next) Deal

Before diving into this episode, we would first like to note that we will be giving a short summary of one out of the three guests. This way you can go find out who BiggerPockets is, and the other essential house hacking tips you can learn. The entirety of this episode revolves around various types of house hacking. House hacking is a great real estate investment strategy when owning multi-family rental properties. House hacking is when you live in one of the multiple units of your investment property as your primary residence, and have renters from the other units pay your mortgage and expenses.

The first guest on the show is Ryan Meinzer. He recalls his experience of house hacking in the most expensive part of the country, California. What is remarkable about his technique is that he is living for free. One of the key tricks that Meinzer implements is the TIC: Tenancy In Common. TIC is a joint tenancy between at least two people. Meinzer gives the example that if you have a duplex, two people own the property together, but they respectfully finance their respective units. The perks to this are that prices were significantly marked lower.

Another perk Meinzer mention is having an agent for assurance and giving the boost of confidence we all need when making a huge financial decision. This, of course, is one of the definite perks and hacks to house hacking. For more information on house hacking and what has worked and not worked for people trying to get in the game, check out the rest of this episode.

Each podcast mentioned brings in their own expertise and specialized knowledge to real estate. From what you need to know, to the secret hacks no one tells you about. Additionally, anyone can learn some insight into the real estate industry and what to look for as a client. With the final act done that concludes this blog post on our favorite real estate podcasts. 

AirSend helps real estate agents create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Meditation is defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation has been known to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, and more. There are two major styles of meditation:

  • Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction.
  • Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.

According to Johnson and Kristeller (2005), meditation often is associated with solitary retreat, if not the preoccupation with one’s own concerns. The question they propose is, “how, then, does such a practice promote compassion for others?” Through their research, the authors proposed a two-stage model. “The first stage involves disengagement from usual preoccupation with self‐reinforcing, self‐defeating, or self‐indulgent behaviors and reactions; the second involves a focused engagement with a universal human capacity for altruistic experience, love, and compassion,” (Johnson and Kristeller 2005). Their findings indicate that with meditation comes altruistic behavior and self-compassion, therefore by enforcing a positive and healthier mindset.

This blog post will explain how meditation is a proactive practice by listing its benefits, why it is now becoming the new practice in business, and mention a few successful leaders that have taken up the practice. Ultimately, meditation has now become a practice that has helped leading businesses and leaders find further success. Let’s start with the benefits. 

Meditation is a Stress Reducer

When increased by mental and physical stress, the hormone cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands, can produce harmful effects, such as inflammation-promoting chemicals. Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress, such as Mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present without judgment. 

Enhances Self Awareness

Some forms of meditation, such as self-inquiry meditation, aim to help develop a stronger understanding of the self. Understanding the self, or self-awareness has been found to improve self-esteem, reduce feelings of loneliness, and development of empathy. Essentially, self-inquiry meditation helps with the process of knowing/finding yourself. This style is also a great starting point for making positive changes. 

Meditation Improves Sleep

Meditation helps control or redirect the racing “runaway” thoughts that most people experience each night. Further, mindfulness meditation can help relax the body, releasing the tension, and placing you in a peaceful state. In addition to better sleep quality, meditation also helps with better memory and self-observation. Now that I have listed some benefits, allow me to introduce the effects of meditation in relation to business.

Meditation=Discipline

In addition to the benefits listed above, which are also beneficial to business, I will list more specific-oriented benefits that focus on your most valuable asset: the mind. By not immediately reacting to feelings of pain and pleasure, we toughen our minds and boost our sense of inner peace. Additionally, we broaden our perspective and capability to understand things that stress us out. Unfortunately, most things in our life are out of our control. However, we can control OUR minds. Through patience and persistence, which is also the key to success in terms of business,  meditation teaches discipline through the mind. The effects of discipline allow the mind to stay focus, become resilient, especially for overworked CEOs, and improve long-term mental health.

“I came to meditation in my own life during a very stressful work period that then turned into a very stressful personal period. But it freed me from so much pain. It completely inverted my entire point of view on life. I’ve been meditating consistently….and I’ve seen an exponential impact. In terms of scale, the more you do the greater the reward. More than linear.”

Ray Dalio

Communicate Effectively While Under Stress

An important trait for entrepreneurs, especially while under stress, is to communicate effectively. Mindfulness meditation can alleviate this stress. Instead of avoiding daily issues, such as investor oversight or negotiations, you can confront them with a level head, therefore increasing the rate of success. With mindfulness meditation, you can hone your communication skills, thus ensuring future personal/professional growth and success. 

Awaken a Deeper Creativity

Allowing yourself some time for peace and quiet will allow your mind for some decompression. Why is it important to give our minds some decompression? Silly question, but it is so your mind can refresh itself and allow you to tap into a deeper and creative self. Additionally, giving yourself some quiet time, allows the mind to better manage emotions effectively and productively.

It is hard to be told that failure=success; however, with mindfulness meditation, the idea of failure makes for more of a positive and motivational feeling. Why? Again, it is because you have given your mind to breathe and understand all the things that went wrong, instead of trying to overload yourself with emotion. Meditation allows for better control of emotions and allows a level head, which is what everyone needs when they are in the face of failure. After all, the way you deal with your failure is what defines your next innovative project. 

“You cannot change the past, other people or the outcomes you will face as an entrepreneur. However, the one thing you can do is be in control of yourself. In doing so, you will easily find that certain situations, your lifestyle and ultimately your business will prosper with a new mindset.”

Kumar Arora

Enjoy the ease of productivity with all the benefits of guided meditation.

Successful Leaders

Now, if you are not fully convinced that meditation is the right practice for you, let me introduce to you a few successful leaders that may change your mind.

AirSend helps the average busy bee create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.