You know what they say about mushrooms? Kept in the dark. Fertilized with -- well, you know. Yuck! Technology mushrooms are those humans FRUSTRATED with technology (who isn't?) who really believe that they can continue to remain in the dark. You can recognize "shrooms" as the ones who don't make much effort to learn the rules of the online road, or even the basics of email. They are typically the first to scream "I'm not a techie and I don't want to deal with this!"
LEARNING TO BLOSSOM
Well, if you want to be online, it will behoove you to become as much of a "techie" as you can possibly stand. I've been involved in the tech scene for decades, and in the online world since the late '80s. I learn something new everyday, embrace the challenges around every corner, get excited by the unbelievable POTENTIAL and opportunity technology offers each of us -- if we want it. However, in order to grow, you always have to experience some initial frustration.
HERE COMES THE SUN
I thought I would give you some tips to help you relieve that frustration, put things in perspective, let you know what you should prepare for, and make sure you have realistic EXPECTATIONS. No, I don't expect to turn you into a techie overnight. But I can certainly help you come out of the dark and into the sun -- and maybe, just maybe, you may bloom into dandelion. Dandelions use the sun and grow and prosper. Put weed killer on them, they come back. Pull them out, they come back. Lack of rain, they still grow!
CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK
There is no way you will ever get a handle and know everything -- so don't try. Make a list of the issues you want to address, the things you want to learn. List them in an order of PRIORITY that matches your goals. For example, your first task might be to get really proficient at using search engines -- next, you may move on to participating comfortably in a chat room -- and then on to starting your own online marketing campaign. Tackle one issue at a time and master it. Stick to deadlines to complete your list in a realistic time frame and don't put this off! Online success requires tremendous personal DISCIPLINE because regardless of what all the junk mail would like you to believe, only you can make things happen.
MAKE THE TIME
Time is not infinite. There isn't an abundant supply of time -- only so much in a day, as they say. So look at your schedule and see where you can slip in an hour here or there to increasing your web SKILLS and KNOWLEDGE of how the internet works -- and then once again stick to that schedule! Making time when you are booked solid with other responsibilities requires commitment. Learning to use the web to your advantage requires practice -- you need to do it daily to become really good at it. It won't happen by osmosis!
FIND YOUR GURU
You need to find someone you can rely on to give you the straight scoop, the REALITY of the online world -- whether you like it or not. It may seem at first that every one is an "expert" -- but most have only just a tad more experience than you do! You will need to look for a successful track record and check their references -- successful gurus have word of mouth referrals sending them more clients than they know what to do with. Treat them with that respect and you will always get more than you pay for. Once you find a guru you can trust, listen to them and follow their recommendations. Don't get upset if they disagree with you or CHALLENGE you to be the best you can be. The worst thing you can do is gravitate towards those who make technology sound easy -- it simply isn't.
LEARN YOUR TOOLS
First and foremost, you need to have a strong understanding about how to use your main tool -- your COMPUTER! Take a class, read a book -- find the resources you need to teach you how your computer works from top to bottom. In addition, there are three pieces of software that will make a huge difference in your level of frustration and success -- your EMAIL program, your virus software and your Web BROWSER. Take the tutorials each offers either in the Help menu or at the software manufacturer's site. Master their options and functionality -- because when used properly these tools can be a partner in your success!
UNDERSTAND THE CULTURE
There are PROTOCOLS and RULES that have been in existence on the Internet since before the World Wide Web came into existence. Read up and learn, then practice them. Check out: OnlineNetiquette.com. Don't think that the lack of a formal off-line law makes it okay for you to just disregard the established ways of communicating online. You will regret it!
EMAIL SKILLS ARE MANDATORY
Your worth on the internet will be perceived according to your email and WRITING skills. Understand that folks don't have anything other than your email by which to JUDGE you. There is no friendly face, warm handshake, or eye contact that builds trust. I've met many great sales people who cannot put two sentences together in writing. No matter how good their skills are off-line, the very same salesperson will fail miserably online without email skills. Underestimate the impression your email communications will give at your own risk!
SET REALISTIC GOALS
No, you don't have to have an inch-think business plan reflecting where every penny will go for the next five years. But it would be a darned good idea to have some sort of WRITTEN PLAN. Fail to plan, plan to fail. I recommend all clients get a notebook that they call their “web book”. Carry it around with you always -- this way if you get an idea, you can write it down before you forget it. Use the list analogy and write down what you want to accomplish and when in order of priority. Review it daily to make sure you are on track. If you miss a date, don't beat yourself up. Reschedule that goal at a later date and make sure it happens!
ACCEPT CHANGE AND MORE CHANGE
Technology is always rolling on! There is no way to keep up with all the latest info, trends, new products, and opportunities. Realize that by becoming involved with the internet, you are getting involved in an arena that is in constant FLUX. This will not change for the foreseeable future, so don't get frustrated when you find you are having difficulty absorbing all the information available. Take things in small chunks.
Those who succeed online are rabidly AGGRESSIVE. They don't sit back and wait for things to happen -- because they know that would be a very, very, very long wait. Get out there, join lists and become involved in the online COMMUNITY. If you are invisible, nothing happens -- certainly not any level of success.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
And a NECESSITY online. As with any venture off-line, online success takes patience, tenacity, and dedication if solid success is your goal. Technology will push you to the edge; your patience will be tried at levels you would never have imagined possible. In the online world remember that you will need to rely on PARTNERING with many folks to help you succeed. Treating them rudely – showing a lack of respect for their time or knowledge because you've lost your patience or are frustrated by your lack of understanding -- will send them running.
WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE
So, come out of the dark and into the light! Online OPPORTUNITIES abound and are there for the taking. But it won't happen without you!
Judith Kallos is a respected Technology Muse and Coach specializing in Technology Fusion Business Services and Personalized Business eStrategy Consulting. Visit her website at www.theistudio.com or contact her directly at .
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