Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nothing says Father's Day like a BBQ!

Dave and I are pretty casual when it comes to Father's/Mother's day celebrations. Right now we hit up one of our parent's house a week early, and the other parent's house the week of. But since we are yet to be parents we don't do much as far as our immediate family goes. All we really do is use it as an excuse to buy something frivolous for each other. And it's always nice to get something you don't need at all :)

So for Father's Day this year we worked on fixing up Dave's BBQ. Dave's been desperate for a BBQ since we moved into our house. We have a killer Gazebo that has lights, a ceiling fan, and everything needed for one awesome bbq experience. A few weeks ago my co-worker offered us her BBQ free of charge because she was moving, but it needed a little work (possible gas leak, needed some cleaning and didn't have a propane tank). So for fathers day we bank rolled the fix up project!

It took us around 2 hours to deep clean it (we're very grateful for oven cleaner), and it now looks awesome! Dave did the technical work to fix the leak; he says everything is running smoothly now. We added lava rocks to the inside (not sure why, but I'm told it was necessary), attached the propane tank, and I got some grill utensils and a scrub brush. So Dave was ready for his Father's Day grilling extravaganza!!! All we needed was guests. So we invited Dave's family over for a Father's Day BBQ.

It worked out well, and thanks to our free craigslist picnic table and our $15 DI table and folding chairs (yes, that's $15 total) we had seating and table space enough for everyone! I have a feeling this gift will lead to a plethora of BBQ's this summer. I think the next one due is a Brown family BBQ... Maybe the weekend of the 24th, we'll see!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My 1st Week at Neutron Interactive

My first week working for Neutron Interactive is over! The company is just great, they treat their employees like gold. There are even more benefits than I was aware of when I accepted the job. Not only do they pay your entire families medical bills, they also do dental and basic eye coverage as well. The HR lady said only about 4% of companies now days have this kind of coverage free to their employees. After a year they also will put 5% of your salary away into a 401k  each year. You don't have to match or anything, it's just done for you.

I've never wanted to work after I had kids, but this kind of company makes me wonder if we can work something out so I can work from home full time, or even just go into the office a few days a week for meetings! I know I could pull it off, but it's a conversation that we'll have to have when that challenge arises.

As far as the work, it's good. I love that we're selling post-secondary education! It's something I believe in and advocate, so it's a far easier sell than internet dating was for me. Our Affiliate program is so small right now (only around 7 active affiliates), but that means there is tons of room for growth. I've got some good leads, have had some great conversations, and hope to get traffic flowing soon.

I've also been riding the train to work (since the company will pay for our Trax pass). It only takes a little longer than driving, and I drive a mile east to hit the station. I love that this morning my odometer showed that I had driven 15 miles this week rather than 400 miles (what I was previously driving). Not only will this help the environment, but also our finances! No more filling up twice a week for us!!!

Also this week we got a surprise from Blaine and Angela (Dave's brother & sister-in-law living in our basement). They are pregnant! We promised them when they have a kid we would build out a second bedroom for them, so we've started brainstorming what we want to see. Because the living room space is so huge, we are thinking this bedroom will be the biggest in the house. We want to make it nice so one day it can be our bedroom if we want. Also, we'll probably add a storage closet to the basement as well. We'll keep you posted on our plans and the construction! It feels like we always have a construction project in the summer...

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Yoder Reunion

Last weekend Dave and I headed down to Zion's for my Mom's family reunion (the Yoders). I had been off on a business trip* the night before so I had packed prior to the trip. At the point of packing the weather was supposed to be 80-90 degrees... When we left on Friday morning the whether was threatening to not even get up to 50!

*side note: on the business trip the hotel accidentally gave away my room so they had to upgrade me to a 2,300 square foot suite with 2 living rooms, 2 bathrooms, a jacuzzi tub, 8 flat screen tvs... the works!

Dave and I decided to carpool with my parents (since we were both going and leaving for home at the exact same times), so we all carefully watched the temperature rise as we headed south. By the time we reached the Cabin, the weather had reached a pleasant 70 degrees. So we decided to have a quick jaunt up Angel's Landing with my Uncle Emil, and cousins Emil Michael and Noah.

Even with the 10 year old (Noah), we still made it up and back in 3 hours! We really trucked it, and it was great to get to know them better in the process. It's been great getting to know the aunts and uncles as an adult (a little different than our relationship growing up).  We planned to do some canyoneering over the break as well, but couldn't due to flash flood warnings.

Over all the whole weekend went well and was a great opportunity to get to know the relatives better. I had many conversations with cousins/uncles/aunts that helped me understand them better and grow closer to them. It was a great trip, although I wish we would have taken a day between starting and going back to work. It was rough to jump right into a new job. But the Job is going great! I'll write more about it later...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Business Networking

I’ve been thinking a lot about business networking lately. Because of connections I found out about my current job. Networking helped me in more ways than one procure the job I start in 2 weeks. In the business world it’s all about who you know and what they can do for you/you can do for them.

When I got my soon to be job I sent thank-you cards to my references. Since one is a really busy lawyer I included a Starbucks gift card in his thank-you card (because his time is money). It only took me 10 minutes to write out a thanks, but I can’t believe the responses I’ve received from these people! From Facebook words of encouragement along the lines of “Thank you for taking the time to write and send a hand written letter. I'm very happy to hear that things worked out for you...You totally rock at what you do and deserve the best for it!” to text conversations asking if I would contact the referral once I get settled into my new job to start up an affiliation.

I think what it comes down to is everyone likes receiving mail, and everyone loves being appreciated. Going that extra mile really makes a difference and will help you procure relationships that last beyond the company they were cultivated in. I still receive emails and questions from affiliates I worked with two companies ago, and I still answer their questions to the best of my ability and point them to the person at that company that could better help them. In return I know when the right offer comes my way, these affiliates will be more than happy to try it out.

Also, treat your top partners/business relationships like they are kings/queens. They are what drives your business and bring in the revenue. I’ve sent affiliates $100 Christmas gifts, flown them out to see the company campus, and taken them to expensive restaurants/skiing/snowmobiling, etc (all on the company bill of course). This helps foster more than just a business relationship but also helps the affiliate have a greater commitment to the company and to you.

With everything going on with the economy companies are cutting corners left and right and the schmoozing is one of the first things go. I’m not saying you have to go overboard, but even a Christmas/Holiday card/congrats on your wedding/baby card hand written telling the company/person you appreciated their business and look forward to another year of success will be well received.

Maybe some industries aren’t as inbred as the affiliate world is, but in my industry everyone seems to know everyone else. People can tell when you truly care and go out of your way for them. So if you’ve worked for and impressed some of the big names, your name will go a long way.