Blog Posts

Is there anything you don’t do?

Someone once told me that I should run a special where I give people $10 if they can find a task I won’t or don’t do. Obviously there would be restrictions, but that isn’t a half-bad idea!

Do-you-know-your-limits

So what tasks can’t The Go-to Girl help you with?

Personal Training/Legal/Dental or Medical Tasks  No, I can’t do that surgery to save you money. These are definitely areas where you want to consult a trained professional. But I can call around and get you an appointment, if you don’t have time!

Accounting – Now, will I help you enter your receipts into Quickbooks? Of course! That is easy. But I can not help you file your taxes. But if you need a referral to someone, I can certainly help you out. My guy is great!

Graphic Design – I can do that thing where you add words to a picture, but that is about it. If you want me to design a logo, I’ll flat turn you down! I’m not that kind of creative. But my friend that I send that work to is a whiz. And yes, I will refer you to him rather than marking it up. I’m all about honesty and transparency.

Cleaning – If you follow my Facebook page, you know I have helped people out in the past due to extenuating circumstances. But I will not do regular cleaning jobs. Again, I have a great cleaning lady I’d be happy to introduce you to!

Transportation – I can help you out if you need a ride from home to the auto body shop (and vice versa.) But if you need your kids, pet, or grandma taken to the doctor or an activity, you are better off calling my friend, Jill. I’d be happy to put you in touch with her.

Haul-away – I don’t have a pickup truck, so I can’t help you move that couch. But I have a few companies that I can call to help you out. Again, I don’t mark up these services. I just refer you to them.

Not sure if I’d be willing to help you out with your special request? Visit my contact page and get in touch with me there!

 

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Omaha My Home-aha

I am not originally from Omaha. But I love this city so much! Let me tell you why.

Sometimes, when I am driving into Omaha after a weekend in my hometown or somewhere else, I catch sight of the downtown skyline. And do you know what? It makes me tear up. Six years ago, when I moved here, I never imagined how much the city of Omaha and its citizens would help me to grow. The skyline makes me think of all of those changes and the reasons I love Omaha.

The People

When I moved here, I only knew 3 people: my sister, a friend from college, and Holly, my best friend since high school. It was really lonely. I went to work and then went home. This is probably the time that shaped me into the hard-worker that I am today.

About six months after moving here, I was assigned to a project at work. The girl I worked on the project with eventually asked me to go out after work with her and some friends. I went and she introduced me to two or three people. The next week? She introduced me to five or six new people. As our friendship grew, so did the number of people she was introducing me to. Today, those friendships have grown deeper and changed as they have gotten married, had kids, changed jobs, and I’ve started my business.

I’ve made other friends, too. Through other jobs and growing my business, I have found amazing people to surround myself with. Friends who have encouraged me and helped me grow my business. People I can call if my car gets a flat tire or if I just need a happy hour buddy.

What makes these people so special and different? Well, they have helped me be more comfortable with who I am, especially those friends from my early twenties. I have never felt like I had to apologize for who I am or change to fit in. That is a very at-peace feeling! I think it is a bigger city thing – I came from a very small town. But I think it’s only a Midwest thing, too. Have you ever seen The Real Housewives of Any Big City?

The Food

Someone once told me that Omaha has more restaurants per capita than some bigger cities. (Side note: also more millionaires, apparently, which is great for a single woman like me. Kidding!) I’m not sure if it’s true, but we do have some great one-off restaurants here. Have you tried Kitchen Table, El Basha, Mula, Wheatfield’s, The Blackstone Meatball, Burrito Envy, The Dundee Dell, Vino Mas, The Omaha Bakery, or any of the restaurants owned by Flagship Restaurant Group or 88 Management Group? If not, that list should be a good start for a tour of Omaha and its eats.

And there is a Farmer’s Market for every area of town! Aksarben, Benson, The Old Market, Wenninghoff’s Farm, Village Point… And if it’s the off-season, there are places like Tomato Tomato (I can’t do the umlaut!) and Fresh Thyme that offer fresh locally-grown produce.

The Growth

The city of Omaha and its suburbs are consistently on lists like “Best Places for Young Professionals”, or “Best Places to Live,” or “Places with the Best Pizza.” Okay, I made that last one up. But if you haven’t tried Dante or Ragazzi’s, you are missing out!

There is a reason Omaha makes it on these lists. Of course there is the people, but I also look at how the city has grown and changed in the last six years. The two areas I think of that embody this growth are Benson and Blackstone.

When I moved here, those areas were not even starting to develop. And then suddenly, almost overnight – or that’s how it felt – they were full of restaurants and bars and entertainment! And many of those businesses are locally-owned! For that sort of economic development to happen with so little red tape and for it to revitalize neighborhoods in that way is really awe-inspiring!

Not to mention the large companies that are moving to the area. Google has a data center in Council Bluffs, Yahoo! has a data center and advertising hub here, and now Facebook is building a data center, too. Those companies come here because they see the benefits – low cost of living for their employees, a big enough city to offer them hiring options, and tax breaks for coming here.

And then there are the companies here that are always growing and adding jobs: Union Pacific, Berkshire Hathaway, Kiewit. By being here for so many years, those companies deserve most of the credit!

The Politics

I talked a little bit above about the lack of red tape. The city makes it very easy – at least in my experience – to start and grow a business here. And really, any where you have to deal with bureaucrats in this city, it is a fairly easy. If the DMV is the worst of it (their process is so slow!), then it isn’t so bad. I’ve been in line for 15 minutes or less pretty much everywhere else. And the people have always been helpful!

We are also close to Iowa – home of the Iowa Caucus. Every four years, we get the opportunity to cross the river, meet the candidates, and decide who we think will be the best leader for our country.

When there are political rallies here, they aren’t violent or lead to crime and arrests. Remember the Black Lives Matter protest on 120th and Center? No arrests, OPD officers showing up in peaceful solidarity, no mob mentality or looting. Just signs, honking, and sharing of ideas and opinions.

Not to mention that our mayor is a woman who came into office and cleaned house! She cut our city budget from a deficit to a $10 million surplus. Sure there are flaws in the plan – as potholes abound – but overall any campaign or time in office is full of trial and error. I think her next term will be even better. Plus, from my time in news, I can tell you that she is a tough, but lovely human being.

The Culture

I started a business here, too. In the first month, I grew my business from zero clients to a full-time job through referrals and word-of-mouth. Many of those coming to me or talking about me were also small business owners.

There are so many ways to meet people and grow a business here: Center Sphere, Networx Business Exchange, and The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to name a few. And all of those organizations have a similar culture. They are full of people who want to grow their business and refer customers to other small business owners. Those friendships and business relationships have changed my life, literally!

To sum it up, Omaha is a city that has embraced me for who I am. There is great food here – and I love food. We get to participate in the political climate of our country. Its economic growth and culture have shaped me into a successful, female business owner with a powerful network of friends and business associates. That’s why, Omaha, you are my “home-aha.”

“How Can I Help?” And Do I Mean It

hand-565588_640I had a realization today that I wanted to share with you, my loyal friends and clients.
My friends recently had a new baby – which is such a joy and blessing – but adjusting to that change can be hard! Not that I know from experience, but going from one child to two is supposed to be tough. Heck, having one baby is tough.
Just like having a business is tough! Can you see where I’m going with this?
The other night, my friend posted on Facebook about how sleep deprived and stressed they are. It didn’t come off as an accusation towards anyone for not helping – as he felt the next day that it did. But it was a good reminder for me to always be offering to help.
So I took over a couple of freezer meals, offered to throw in a load of laundry or whatever else they needed in that moment, and reminded them to call if something else came up. Laundry, dishes, holding a crying baby so they can go to the bathroom, whatever!
I take that same approach to running my business. There is no task that I will not help my clients with. And if I can’t help, I will find someone who can – or several people and what each of them will charge. That is what I refer to on my services page as “research and development.”
I will admit, I personally am not the best at asking for help. I prefer to do things myself.
How many other business owners are like that? I hear – often – from potential clients that stuff will come up and they will think about calling me, and then they feel that they should do it themselves. Don’t! Don’t feel like you have to get/be organized before you can call! Don’t feel like a task is too trivial for me to be willing to help with it! Just call if something comes up or you have a need, and we can go from there.
Not only am I here for you as The Go-to Girl. I am also here for you as a friend and fellow human!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Staff Your Trade Show Booth

tradeshow booths
Staffing your trade show booth is imperative when it comes to ROI and lead generation.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been to a couple of trade shows. While I was at these events, I noticed that there were booths that did not have people staffing them. I found this to be astounding, for a few reasons.

  1. You spent the money on the booth. – When you spend money on something for your business, sure, you can write it off. But why wouldn’t you want to measure that return on your investment?
  2. You are missing out on talking to potential leads. – It takes an average of 8 contacts before a lead is even willing to meet with you. If your trade show booth isn’t staffed, you are missing out on those leads.
  3. Your staff needs to be committed to the booth – Yes, it is important for your staff to go network with the staff at other booths. However, if they are leaving your booth unattended, maybe you needed to bulk up your staffing for the event. Or maybe you couldn’t get anyone to sign up to staff it.

If you as a business owner are finding challenges in these areas, you are not alone. There are a few articles at ExhibitorOnline.com that are dedicated to this challenge. One article had this to say:

“Clearly, then, staffing a booth at a trade show has never been more challenging than it is today. But with the proper training, outsourced personnel can effectively perform many functions, such as greeting attendees, staffing the info desk, distributing giveaways, gathering crowds, etc. What’s more, hired help may even outperform your own internal staff – all for considerably less money than it would cost you to send your employees to the show.”

The Go-to Girl can help you with trade show booth staffing. Whether you have an overlapping appointment, or need extra help for managing traffic, The Go-to Girl is an affordable option. My team is committed to learning your business, and making sure any incoming leads get accurate information and great customer services while visiting your booth.

5 Things I Learned Between College and Now

In April, I was asked to give a speech to sophomore college students at UNO. I would like to share a shortened version on my blog for other small business owners. I hope you find it helpful. – Grace

1936256_232979913732209_5062532331175311865_nHad you said to me just one year ago that I was going to start my own business, I would have said, “no way!”

My path to this point hasn’t always been smooth. For the last five years, I have jumped from job to job without finding any real satisfaction or success. I was broke – a lot. I made mistakes, both personally and professionally. And I took a few risks that ended up paying off.

Millennials sometimes get a bad rap. I hear words like “lazy,” “entitled,” and “self-centered” used to describe my generation often. But I don’t think that’s always true. I walked across the stage at graduation, and then out into a tough economy. So did my peers. But I think it all depends on how determined you are to get to where you want to go. I took the hand I was dealt, learned some lessons, and got to where I am today.

Here are the lessons I learned:

Your path might not be exactly what you think it is going to be.

And you should do your best to accept or prepare for that. Have you ever heard the saying, “we make plans and God laughs”?

Well in my case, it was true. I thought that, at 27-years-old, I would be a news anchor, that I would be married, and that I would own a house. All of that has yet to happen for me, and that’s ok! I had to be flexible and trust that His plan was better than my plan. And it was. My life is – in many ways – better than I thought it would be.

Roll with the punches.

Trust me, life might hit you hard. But it won’t kill you, which means it only makes you stronger!

You have to get back up after a setback. At the beginning of last year, I had just broken up with a boyfriend. Ten days later, I lost my job. On top of which, I had roommates that I hated. I wanted so badly to just give up. But my cousin, Kelliann, sent me this quote: “Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”

Had I given up, I would have missed a few really good things that happened to me. In 6 weeks, I had found my dream job, met a really nice guy, and I was moving out of the house I was living in. Your path can change in the blink of an eye, and if you get “knocked out” you might miss the good stuff.

Find your cheerleaders!

I didn’t have very many friends in high school or college. My hometown is substantially smaller than Omaha, and I never really felt like I fit in.

But I always had my family. I am the oldest of five children, and my parents have been married for almost 30 years. My mom used to say that we weren’t allowed to pick on each other because home was our sanctuary – the one place we all felt truly safe to be ourselves.

I know not everyone has the blessing of a strong family in a safe, loving environment. Which is why I also had to build a network of other small business owners, girl friends, and people who always make me feel good about myself. That being said, though, they’ll also tell you when you might be making a mistake.

And if the person that does these things best is you, be your own best friend. Be your own cheerleader.

Get your degree, but if you already have it, keep reading and learning.

A college degree is so important, even if, like me, your career path doesn’t go as expected.

Every job I ever applied for required at least an associate’s degree. So I wouldn’t have had any of these opportunities if I didn’t have my degree. I once had a professor tell me that there are two things that are important after you graduate from college: that you have a degree and that you are willing to learn how to do the job. I see now how true that is!

Do not put it on social media if you don’t want it to be found. Ever.

Luckily, I never lost a job because of this, but I know people who did!

It’s also important to realize, that your Facebook friends are only sharing what they want you to see. Every single person on this planet will have a set back at some point in their life. But putting it on social media won’t help you get through it. And venting about it may cause you to have more problems later on – employers have Facebook too, after all.

My path after college is far from what I expected it to be. But so what? I rolled with the punches, picked myself up when I failed, and I was always true to myself…even if that meant I was the only one cheering for me. No matter what setbacks you encounter, I hope you have the backbone to look for the next opportunity.