Psst…Louisville…We’re almost ready!

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Boy do I wish that the picture in our header were of Louisville, with its awesome color-changing pedestrian bridge and its beautiful skyline. Why do I wish it were a photo of the coolest place in Kentucky, possibly the world? Because that’s where we are, working hard in stealth-mode to get Earnest up to snuff and ready for its Louisville debut. We’ve got Mission Data on our side, blindingly sunny optimism, and lots and lots of passion and we can’t wait to get started!

Just a few more weeks and we’ll be up and running! We’re going to give the talented people of Louisville everything they need to make money doing what they love. Do you love to walk dogs? Get hired by people in your neighborhood using Earnest! With us, you get a free webpage, payment processing, free advertising, and you work only when it works for you. It’s sort of like driving for Uber except you’re not limited to driving. If it’s a service, you can do it in Earnest.

We can’t wait to get to know you and help you do what you love. See you soon!

On Being Awesome at Email

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Being good at email (and nailing this look) is so incredibly important to representing yourself, your business, and maintaining your sanity. No matter what business you’re in, corresponding promptly says a whole lot about who you are and how you operate. It’s not always easy and things will definitely fall through the cracks now and then, but here are a few tips to help you step up your email game.

1. One in, one out. When you get an email in, respond to it. If you can’t (need more info, waiting on another piece of the puzzle to fall into place), answer a previous email. It’s a great way to keep the avalanche of emails from piling up like Boston’s snow situation.

2. Filters! Let the spam be spam! Let the coupons go unseen! Let the promos fold into the email abyss! These are weekend/evening emails. Don’t let them throw you off track.

3. Reply with a rote note. Maybe you’re in the middle of ten things and can’t squeeze a minute. Send a quick note, ‘got your message! Will get back with you soon!’ This can contribute to to email avalanching though, so it should be used sparingly. How to unbury yourself after a 4 hour meeting fest? Continue on to number 4.

4. Set up a few times a day to reply to emails. How often you do this is going to depend on how you work best and what makes sense for your business. If you’re not a super-multi-tasker, take 5 minutes to address your emails on the hour. Are you working in a focus-heavy job? How about morning and night? Or just lunch? If you schedule your email times into your day, you won’t miss a beat.

Earnest is going to be at the Warren SOUP!

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SUCH great news! Earnest is on the menu at The Warren SOUP!

The Warren Soup is an awesome organization that invites local projects to pitch a room of community activists over a steaming hot bowl of soup! Each guest pays $5 for their soup, a seat, and an earful of the newest ideas in our community and the project that gets the most votes gets the admission fees to support their project!

Soup? Hot ideas? Supporting local business? The word trifecta comes to mind.

Stop by the Warren SOUP this Saturday, March 14th at 6pm and vote for Earnest!

Zombie Girls: Small Business Mondays

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Business: Zombie Girls

Owners: Rikki Farina and Kelsey Web

Where: Austintown, OH

What you do: Zombie and theatrical makeup in addition to classic hair and makeup services

When it started: 2012

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zombiegirls3   Phone: 330-718-6574

Earnest: How did you get started? Rikki Farina: Youtube. I actually started teaching myself using Youtube videos during my senior year of highschool.  It’s a funny story actually, I was in my bathroom just looking at my toilet paper, and I thought I wonder if I could do something with this. I learned how to make a gash using toilet paper and elmer’s glue and I was in my bathroom practicing with what makeup I had. When I was done, I sent a picture to my boyfriend who ended up calling me frantically telling me I had to go to the hospital.

It escalated from there. I ended up experimenting with different techniques, trying different products, making different products…I started doing it for my friends and after they started telling people and they saw my work, they ended up asking me if I could do makeup for events like zombie balls, zombie sweetest days, zombie runs, all kinds of things.

E: How do you get the word out about Zombie Girls? RF: When people hear the word zombie, they’re like ‘Oh yeah, you’ve got to make me into one!’ We just have a Facebook page and business cards right now. It’s mostly by word of mouth. You’ve got to start somewhere.

E: How much did it cost to get started?RF: It took us $150 to start, we spent it all on makeup and supplies. I wanted to go to school for this kind of makeup but it was too much money so I went to regular cosmetology school and now I have my license.

E: What are your aspirations? RF: We’re just local right now, but I’d really like to do some stuff in Pittsburgh as well.  I would like to get my own building so I can have a salon/studio where people can also buy the products they need to do this kind of stuff. We really dont’ have anythign like that around here, except for online.

E: Who are your competitors? RF: I know of other people who do zombie makeup, but not as a business. We’re sort of one of a kind. I don’t want to toot my own horn but we’re pretty cool.

E: What’s the hardest part about running your business? RF: You don’t know what you’re going to run into. You don’t know what the client wants until you sit down and meet them. You don’t know if it’s going to be a zombie, if it’s going to be an alien, if it’s going to eb some kind of mystical character, you have to be open to everything. THe weirdest one I’ve gotten so far is an alien prostitute. It takes some creativity.

E: What advice do you have for people who are starting their own businesses?RF: If I could give any advice to them, it would be it might be hard but you’ve got to hang in there. Because when everything is finished and everything is the way you want, you have to stand back and be like, I did this, I conquered my goal, I did what I wanted to do. You feel really proud.

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Awesome Ladies Friday

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It’s Friday and I’m itching for my Saturday off! I’ve got big plans to cuddle up with my dogs and watch the entire Ken Burns documentary of the Roosevelts (mostly for Eleanor, LOVE her) while the snow falls around my little Northeast Ohio house. If you’re thinking I’m a huge nerd and probably 85 years old, you’re half right.

I’m getting the weekend started early by doing a post about the thing I love most, empowered, awesome ladies!

Recently, Forbes did an article on the 15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015 and my little heart skipped a beat!

I’m inspired by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams, co-founders of In Good Company, Bridget Hilson of LSTN Headphones, and Erica Nicole, founder and CEO of YFS Magazine (one of my personal favs).

Or how about this little ray of lady sunshine: Women working in Construction are forming a local advice group!

According to the Buffalo News, “two trade groups have teamed up to help create a new forum for women and “like-minded” construction professionals to share challenges they face and explore ideas for solutions.”

How awesome is that?!

And I’d like to conclude our Friday Feminine Roundup by congratulating the first EVER class of Merglane Companies- all woman led, all amazing! And congratulations too, to Sue, Hannah, and Elizabeth, the brains and muscles behind this woman-in-business-empowerment machine!

Check out the 2015 class here!

Cold Calls are the Worst

But also, they’re kind of the best.

Today, I called a few select local businesses to let them know about a job that’s waiting for them on earnest. Out of five calls, three were wrong numbers, one was a busy signal (twice) and then an answering machine, and one was AMAZING!

The man I spoke to was curious about Earnest, interested in getting new jobs, and really really nice. Cold calls can be punishing, but that one pleasant interaction with another person can be oh so rewarding!

Another take:

Imagine I was a customer trying to find someone to do that job. Like most people the numbers I got were on the vast and unknown internet and three fifths of the numbers I called were wrong numbers! One took three calls before I could LEAVE A MESSAGE. If I was a customer I would be burned out and ready to throw my project on the back burner for another year.

THAT’s another reason why we made Earnest. If you need something done, just post it to the jobs board and interested providers will reach out to you! No more busy signals, no more dead numbers.

It pays to be a business in Earnest so you’re not missing out on jobs like these. AND it REALLY pays to be a client in Earnest because the businesses come to YOU and if they don’t, you have a cheerful little me who will call providers all day long until I find one for you!

2015 Outlook: Green Construction

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Environmental construction is more than a trend, it’s becoming the new norm. According to a study by McGraw-Hill in 2013, 53% of construction firms in the US expect at least 60% of their work to be green in 2015.

This timely, exciting, and burgeoning market is set to take off in coming years as the demand for environmentally conscious building intensifies.

Need proof? In 2011, there were 100,000 new jobs in green construction, a nearly 25% increase in green jobs over the span of a single year. This kind of data is always slow to make it through the analysis phase and onto the internet but if historical data is any indicator, we can expect some very exciting projections to come

So what does a green construction professional do? They build structures while adhering to special criteria.

According to the BLS, Green Construction Jobs are:

  1. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
  2. Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

Want to learn how to become green-certified? A little Googling is a great place to start!

Try these sources to get your feet wet: eHow, National Association of Home Builders, US Green Building Council

With our culture rapidly shifting toward environmental friendliness in new ways, Earnest may just be the perfect place to help your green career blossom!