Google Voice and Talkatone App

GoogleVoice-LogoWe got rid of our land line and home phone number over 5 years ago. We’ve never looked back as it was a monthly bill we didn’t need. Our decision was based partly on the fact that we had 3 teenagers in high school who needed cell phones more than we needed a land line. I’ll save my editorial on cell phones, Sprint, and our service for another day.

I’ve been using Google Voice for almost two years. It works well for me since the bulk of my days in my home office are spent on the computer and on the phone with coaching calls during business hours. I dial from my computer and it saves me from using my prime time cell phone minutes. One feature that I really like is that I have my Google Voice number set to forward to my cell phone and it “translates” voicemail into text messages and email – the translations can be pretty entertaining. You can also record a separate voicemail greeting with your Google Voice number. It has some great features.

The few difficulties I’ve encountered are really no different than cell phone problems. Sometimes there is a bad connection which can also be dependent upon our internet connection and not just Google’s service. My Mac laptop has some cooling fans with their own personalities which can rudely interfere with the audio connection.

I’ve been working on several big projects that have required literally hours on the phone. On Friday, Sprint sent me a friendly text that I was almost out of minutes. This motivated me to do a little weekend research to see if I could use Google Voice on my smartphone without the minutes counting on my cell phone plan. Surely someone had already invented this and I just needed to learn how to use it!

I read about several different apps, their functionality and consumer reviews. You can make voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls with your smartphone and some tablets.

Talkatone App

Talkatone app icon Hello Talkatone! They had me intrigued from the first sentence on their website…

“Millions of people use Talkatone to call and text over WiFi or a data connection without using cell minutes.”

Talkatone does exactly what I need. I’m using the free version and so far, so good. We did laugh at the potential of taking calls on my iPad. Don’t worry, I use the earbuds with the built-in microphone.

I’m still testing the different features and I’m experimenting with another app I bought for $2.99 called GV Connect. Some people say it has a nicer interface than Talkatone and they can work together – I’m not convinced yet.

I always try to find apps that are for both iOS and Android as we are a house divided with our technology choices. Cross platform compatibility is important for my family. It also helps me recommend things to my clients since I’ve heard people are still using Windows computers. 😉

Have you tried Google Voice or any other phone apps? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below.

Summer Power

printable quote

Flexible Summer Schedules For Small Business Owners

You might think I took the summer off since you haven’t received a blog post since late June. That’s one of the best things about being small business owners – the flexibility to set our own schedules.


But alas, I did not take the summer off. In fact, I’ve been working harder than I’ve worked in a very long time.

It’s been a wild carnival ride. Minus the ride because just thinking about spinning around on a ride makes me queasy.

My family has been extremely patient and loving while my work hours have been a little crazy.

Understanding the seasons of our business and our schedules is helpful when we decide to climb aboard a wild ride and it helps to know the ride will end. In the short term, in a phase, in a certain season of our business – it is important to know that extra work and that feeling of being out of kilter is not permanent and will help us with our long term business plan.

Grand Re-Opening

I’m back! I’m very excited to share some fabulous things happening and I can’t wait to show you what’s coming to Big Picture Coaching very, very soon. While I wasn’t writing blog posts, I was behind the scenes getting some exclusive things ready just for photo organizers.

Through my coaching calls with clients and staying connected with Appo members and being a certified photo organizer myself, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of business tools and systems would make your business life easier.

In keeping with my mantra that we do our best to not “overwhelm the overwhelmed” including ourselves, I’m going to reveal a few new things…

One at a time.

Starting next week.

Just giving you a heads up so you have something to look forward to!

Summer is NOT over

According to my stellar math skills and if you are reading this today, September 10th, we have 12 days of summer left.

The first day of autumn happens to fall on a milestone birthday for me this year. Ahem. I tell you this because I’m not rushing the end of summer.

Hope you will enjoy these last days of summer with your family and friends! Especially if you live in the Midwest and have been enduring an unseasonably long heatwave. Hotter than Atlanta. That’s crazy hot.

This also means that it’s still way too hot for baking apple crisp and pumpkin bars. Let’s not rush this, okay?

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share what you did this summer…even if it wasn’t work!

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P.S. Add to your email contact address book so you won’t miss any updates and they won’t accidentally be hiding in your *spam* folder. 🙂

Make Room In Your Life

BPC Bolen quote June 27

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Seeds That You Plant

BPC Stevenson quote June 20

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Do What You Can

BPC Arthur Ashe quote June 6

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Keep Momentum Going

BPC Michael Korda quote May 30

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Written Goals

BPC Brian Tracy quote May 23

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3 Tips to Measure Your Marketing Results

tape measure

I ask every client I work with…

“How do you keep track of your clients and your client prospects?”

The answers range from a notebook to a spreadsheet to customer relationship management (CRM) software.

If you don’t currently have a system, you are not alone.

More often than people like to admit, the response is “I don’t really have a good system.”

In the business coaching process, we start working immediately on developing a system for measuring results.

3 tips for creating a simple system to measure marketing results

  1. Keep two lists – one for clients and one for prospective clients (note how you got their name)
  2. Keep track of when (date and time) and how (phone, email, in person or social media) you contact each person
  3. Review your list on a schedule (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually)

By reviewing this list on a regular basis, you will begin to see patterns that will help you with your marketing strategy.

An example of measuring results could look like this:

  • Passed out 50 marketing postcards at 3 networking events
  • Received 25 business cards from people who expressed interest
  • Called 15 people; left 12 messages and talked to 3 people
  • Sent 10 emails; followed up with 5 phone calls and 5 facebook private messages
  • Scheduled 2 client assessment appointments

Now you can see if the postcard special yielded results. You can make decisions on how you contacted people and what methods are most effective.

It is always important to know where your existing clients came from, who to continue to follow-up with and how you will spend your time getting new clients.

Bonus! 3 ways to keep your list

  1. If you use Gmail and want to try out a free CRM that integrates with your email, try
  2. If you like spreadsheets, try Google Drive’s spreadsheet which you can access on any computer
  3. If you like good old-fashioned paper and pen, use a notebook or binder specifically for client info

Keep a list – seems so simple but I’m constantly surprised by how many times this step is skipped. Don’t over-complicate this. Pick a method that makes sense for you and start your list today!

How do you keep track of your clients and prospects so you can measure marketing results?

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Goals and Gifts

BPC Les Brown quote May 2

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