Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The One Star Review by Kirsty Dunphey

I was recently asked (most flatteringly) to give the opening address for a former staff member who has just opened his own real estate agency. As the words tumbled out of my mouth: “I’ve known Richard since his first day in real estate, I’ve seen him get his first listing, make his first sale, receive his first glowing testimonial.” It was at this point Richard with his trademark smile and honesty interjected with “She also saw me get my first complaint!” The audience laughed, and so did I.

Complaints, especially in service based industries like real estate are a common occurrence. Obviously great players attempt to minimise them, but I’ve always been of the opinion that when a complaint occurs, it shouldn’t be something you dread or push under the rug. It should be something that highlights a service or procedural error that you can improve on going forward. It's something that can make you better at what you do.

5 days before the launch I’d gone out on a lovely romantic dinner with my husband to celebrate the day upon which 8 years ago he’d proposed to me. We arrived home around 10.20pm, Saturday and I checked my phone to find a text message from one of my business partners informing me that there was an unfavourable review posted on our facebook site.

I logged on to facebook straight away. After reading the review I texted the two staff members who may have been involved and heard back from them within minutes. From there I spent the next hour in repair mode.

The review gave us one star (this alone was mortifying for me when every other review on our facebook page had given us 5 stars). It stated that the person had called our office and hadn’t had their phone call returned in a reasonable time.

Devastatingly two of the reviewer’s friends had commented on the review already and it had only been up a matter of hours. That’s the power and the curse of instant social media beautifully illustrated. If 2 of his friends had felt they needed to comment, how many others had already seen it and not commented and how many had seen it just by looking at our page.

My first step was to comment on the review that I was looking into the situation and would be in touch soon. I also left my direct email address on that comment. I then went to the person’s facebook page and directly messaged them again stating that I was doing my best to get all the details and there I gave my direct mobile and email address and asked for some more details on the situation so that I could appropriately respond.

From there an email went out to all potential staff involved and all business partners as an update and a request for more information from those involved.

Sunday morning I heard back from the complainant with the details. His frustration was completely justified, we had not gotten back to him in an appropriate time and I let him know where I was at in my investigations, I let him know he had been heard and that I was just waiting on a few more pieces of information to not only find out how he’d been left without contact, but also to resolve the enquiry he’d contacted us with. I told him when he'd next hear from me.

8.30am – I had the information he required from us that he was after in his initial phone call to the office and had that side of the situation resolved fairly quickly.

By midday I also had an explanation as to how the return of his call had been delayed. We’d had a staff member away from the office on medical grounds and this contributed to the delay. However, most importantly, when I relayed this to the complainant, to me the most vital thing was that I let him know that these were the circumstances surrounding the issue, but they were by no means an excuse. Every office is busy, every office has people away sick and every office should have appropriate means in place to deal with these everyday occurrences so that the experience to the customer is seamless.

In damage control mode I wanted to make sure that while I was working on resolving this issue that the unfavourable review wasn’t the first someone saw when they looked at our reviews page. As such I asked a number of clients if they'd feel comfortable in reviewing our services on the page and quickly we had a couple of lovely reviews from very happy clients showing at the top of the page. Now, back on to resolving my one star.

Tuesday - Wednesday
I went to the office in question so that I could speak to the staff members involved and conduct some training based on the feedback we’d been provided.
I kept contact with the complainant informing him of the training I was doing and the progress we were making in attempting to have delays of this sort not be an ongoing issue.

I touched base a final time with the complainant to make sure he was 100% happy with the way I’d handled the issue. When he replied that he was, I asked if he felt comfortable removing the review. His reply was that I’d gone to a lot of trouble and he was happy to remove his review. He was extremely reasonable the entire time I dealt with him. And my final follow up to this gentleman will be to pop something in the mail to him next week thanking him for his feedback and for helping us become a better service company.

Ultimately, with social media, you can typically find ways to remove unfavourable posts and reviews by deleting them. For me that was never an option. If I couldn’t find a way to resolve this issue for the gentleman so that he felt comfortable deleting the review himself, I would have left it there (as sad as that would make me).

Was it a lot of work to go to get him to delete the review? Yes, it was quite a big investment in my time.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. It highlighted an aspect of my business that I wasn’t aware of and that needed addressing.

I’d go as far as to say that I’m grateful for the complaint because of the flaws in our service delivery that were easy to address and rectify that it illuminated.

The next time you get a complaint – will you see it as an opportunity to get discouraged or an opportunity to improve?

Reproduced with permission from the Kirsty Dunphey weekly email. To subscribe to Kirsty Dunphey's weekly email, go to

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 3 Jobs In Life

A long time ago, I heard this from a sales training record, that there are only three jobs in life:

1. Filling the things that are empty.

2. Emptying the things that are full.


3. Scratching where it itches.

I've often thought of this since the early 1970s when I first heard it and I think I have to agree that every job I can think of falls into one or more of these three categories.

Just a bit of trivia for your enjoyment!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 9: A Greater You

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do. The ninth is in a greater sense of yourself and a new sense of identity. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 8: Wake-Up Call

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The eighth is behind a wake-up call or even a crisis. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 7: Lost Dreams

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The seventh In your lost and neglected dreams and your underutilised talent. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject

Friday, August 26, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 6: Who'd Pay Me?

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The sixth is behind the words If only I could find someone to pay me to do it. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 5: Naturalness

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The fifth is through your naturalness, which shows up in other peoples eyes. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 4: I Don't Know

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The fourth is behind "I don't know".

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 3: Shadow Life

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The third is your "Shadow Life".

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way to speaking on this subject.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 2: Resistance

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do... The second is resistance

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Discover The Work You Were Born To Do: Part 1: Inspiration

Nick Williams presents the nine ways to Discover The Work You Were Born To Do and become an Inspired Entrepreneur. The first is inspiration. See

We love these videos by Nick Williams. He has a wonderful way of speaking on this subject.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Six Passions of the New Entrepreneurial Spirit: Part 2

Nick Williams describes the The Six Passions of the New Entrepreneurial Spirit. The second is a passion for creating something that didn't exist before. See

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Six Passions of the New Entrepreneurial Spirit: Part 1

Nick Williams describes the The Six Passions of the New Entrepreneurial Spirit. The first is a passion for the The Work You Were Born To Do. See

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Payroll Etcetera Is Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that Payroll Etcetera is our latest Trend Setter Package client. We are thrilled to have Ewald and Susan Mueller of Payroll Etcetera as our clients. We will be building them a brand new website, along with a new blog, social media including several facebook pages, twitter, and linkedin pages, along with YouTube and Yelp. In addition, we will be doing their newsletter and SEO optimization, and consulting as part of the Trend Setter Package of services.

Their current website is Look for changes coming in the next few weeks along with their blog and social media much sooner.

Payroll Etcetera can handle your payroll needs. The are secure, streamlined and smart and can be reached at 707-426-6394.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tayde Aburto Keeps Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in San Diego

Tayde Aburto, CEO of San Diego based Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce (HISCEC) talks to Hispanic Link Media Network's Maribeth Bandas about the online business association focused on promoting Hispanic businesses via the Internet and the use of e-business tools. For more information, visit

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harvesting the Entrepreneurial Spirit by Wendy Singh

Having grown up in a typical Canadian household, with two working parents who ingrained excellent work ethics in me, I was always under the impression I'd become a great employee for some company. Throughout school, I achieved high grades, was my high school valedictorian, went on to university and have a degree in Nutrition and Food, yet I am not an employee for anyone. Did I do something wrong? No...I chose not to take the employee route and am going after the life I want to live, not the position I want to hold.

For some of my readers, you already know that I am a professional belly dancer, but that is not what I do full-time. I am a full-time entrepreneur that manages multiple streams of income with my husband. What does this mean? Simply put, we have figured out what it will cost to live the life we want to live and are putting together various streams of income (samples to follow) so that we can one day soon live fully on these passive income streams and not have to rely on a traditional job for our income. Why? Because we got married to have breakfast, lunch and dinner together, wherever we wanted...everyday - not just on weekends. Now that I am a new mom, it has given us even more ammunition to get these income streams stabilized so that we can be full-time parents to our son.

In order for someone in my situation to make the mindset shift from employee thinking to being a business owner/entrepreneur, I had to change some things in my life that I was brought up thinking were normal. First off, I had to realize that income was created in more than one way. In other words, money can be made not just by trading time for it, but by using systems to leverage, whether it be through business systems or through investments. The goal here was to remove the "me" factor from the equation. Robert Kiyosaki describes this well in his Cashflow Quadrant book and Rich Dad, Poor Dad book (both of which I highly recommend).

Secondly, I had to understand the behaviours of the wealthy. How did I do this? Well, I am still doing it because I don't think anyone can truly master the behaviours and habits of being wealthy. But what I did was gain mentors in my life who had what I wanted - time, money, lifestyle, healthy and happy marriages, happy families, and good solid principles in which they lived by. I also continue to read books that foster these principles. Thirdly, in order to harvest the entrepreneurial spirit, I became an entrepreneur. I started a few businesses, allowed them to grow, started a few more, and am still developing businesses today. The proceeds from the businesses I am using to invest so that my investments continue to make money. This is an important principle - invest with money that you have put aside and can afford to lose. JD and I have learned the hard way, losing tens of thousands of dollars we didn't have as extra money, and it made things tough for us for quite a few years. But we learned from that experience and now invest with money we have earned through our businesses; money we've put aside for investment. In addition, I do things I have a passion for. Belly dancing, for one, is something that I long for and is a creative outlet for me. But I have learned to turn it into an income stream and have plans to create a business out of it so that I am not always the one either teaching or performing. It's another way that income can be created.

To harvest your entrepreneurial spirit you need to understand yourself, believe in yourself and have courage to put your thoughts into action. To understand yourself, first make sure you know your habits, know your schedule, understand your personality, and determine your strengths and weaknesses. To believe in yourself, you need to have confidence. If you have low confidence, this is something you will need to work on. I am not recommending you become arrogant or conceded, but to realize that you have been given many great talents and abilities and you can be a winner. If this is an area that you need to work on, there are many great books available to help you develop your self-esteem and confidence.

To put your thoughts into action, you need courage! You'll have a lot of naysayers in your life - I did! Even with belly dancing. I've been dancing for more than 15 years and when I started, I was doing it for fun, not realizing what I could strive for. After seeing professionals dance, I knew that was what I wanted for myself, so I worked at it. I performed at my high school's talent show, which was difficult to happen (the idea of having a belly dancer at a Catholic high school was a barrier to overcome). And, having not danced for very long, it wasn't the best performance so I heard about what "they" were saying afterward. But that didn't stop me from pursuing my passion.

Today I am content with my progress as a dancer but will always continue to learn, grow and practice. In a business sense, don't be afraid to start off in a business that is turn-key and has an established system. JD and myself work with an amazing team of people with an entrepreneurial development program leveraging a long-standing network marketing system and this has been integral to a lot of the success we have gained, both monetarily and as persons. There's a lot of great businesses you can get started with, and that's the main point...get started! Have the goal to succeed in mind, but if the business you start doesn't work out, learn from the experience and start again! In summary, some people are inclined to me more entrepreneurial than others. JD was always a free spirit and challenged the system that was laid out in front of him. I followed the system and excelled in it. Together, we have realized that in order to have the lifestyle we truly want, it will not be in the traditional working system, but we need to be creative and to develop income passively using our entrepreneurial thinking.
Wendy Singh, BASc Nutrition and Food

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Type of Story: Documentary, Short Film, Branded Entertainment

"Every company is a StartUp, at some point it started up."

"The Entrepreneurial Spirit" was shot during StartUp Weekend Baltimore. Four promising teams were chosen to be 'followed' during the course of the weekend.

The goal was to explore the type of drive and mind it takes to start a company and the steps it takes to get going.

This documentary was sponsored by and produced by

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sparking entrepreneurial spirit in tomorrow's innovators

Game Changers at Ohio State (1 of 4):
Learn how mentors and instructors at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business are bringing together researchers, students, and business executives to jump start the entrepreneurial spirit in tomorrow's innovators. Brittany Westbrook hosts. Guests include Brad Beasecker, CEO, Traycer Diagnostics; John Huston, Principal, USPrivateCompanies, LLC, Ohio TechAngels; and S. Michael Camp, PhD, Academic Director, Center for Entrepreneurship

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Interview with Warren Brown, 2006 SBA Washington D.C.'s Small Business Person of the Year

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Power of Progress

Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School professor and coauthor of "The Progress Principle," explains the importance of small wins at work.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Easton Construction Group As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that Andrew Easton and Easton Construction Group, Inc. is our latest Trend Setter Package client. Easton Construction Group is located at 1785 Vineyard Drive in Antioch CA 94509. They can be reached by phone at 925-757-6000 and their current website is

Upward Trend will be creating a new replacement website, along with a blog, social media setup and management for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube, along with a monthly newsletter, video, SEO Optimization and consulting. All of these features are included in the Trend Setter Package for one low monthly fee and all items are maintained, updated and expanded regularly throughout each month.

We will be sharing more about this company and their Internet features in the near future.

Monday, August 8, 2011

TEDxAtlanta - Sally Hogshead - How to Fascinate

In today's world of 9-second attention spans, our introductions mean more-than-ever before. Sally Hogshead reveals the seven triggers of fascination and how to get others to fall in love with your ideas, instantly. Thank you to Definition 6 for providing in-kind video editing services for TEDxAtlanta.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

TEDxLondonBusinessSchool - Nader Tavassoli - Disruptive Marketing & The ...

Professor Nader Tavassoli is chair of the marketing faculty and non-executive chairman of The Brand Inside ( Nader was previously on the marketing faculty of the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was also a chaired Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the eBusiness track. He received his doctorate from Columbia Business School. Nader is the winner of London Business School's 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award and directs the executive programme Customer Focused Marketing ( His clients have ranged from high-tech start-ups to over 30 of the Global Fortune 500 companies. Prior to his academic career he lived and worked in England, France, Germany, Spain and the U.S.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Future of Work 2.0

Tom Malone, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the HBR article "The Age of Hyperspecialization," explains why breaking jobs into tiny pieces yields better, faster, cheaper work -- and greater flexibility for employees.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Think Like an Innovator

Jeff Dyer, professor at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management and coauthor of "The Innovator's DNA," outlines the four ways leaders come up with their great ideas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Travis Steffen, and I AM Free Enterprise.

Travis Steffen and Stacy Chinander's submission for The American Free Enterprise Video Contest

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Series: Christina Baird

The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Christina Baird
For those of you that have read more than one post, there seems to be a theme evolving here.
It’s called “passion”. And it shows itself in dozens of ways.
For Christina Baird that passion equates to the Entrepreneurial Spirit. Christina works off of her passion to better the community she lives in…all for the greater good of a true intention. Spend a moment with Christina and the words passion and community blend together.
Her business is connecting people. No products…no sales…no tangible items. Yet, it works.
Christina tells me that by sharing a “need” we present a conscious choice to be accountable and to contribute in the way we see fit. “I am conscious of a need; my highest choice is to do what I can to make people aware of needs in our communities. To keep people “awake”.”
Spend a moment talking to her and you will find out all sorts of things the community needs and does. You will also want to help.
Her passion keeps going…she continually works to improve, grow personally, and practice humility. “We are all conduits. That’s it. We are not self made anything. Mankind is interconnected. Through compassion and understanding, a consciousness is maintained.”
What drives her? “Simple…my faith and my son Christopher.”
What role does risk play in all of this? For Christina that’s another simple answer. “I’m not afraid of risk. I have faith. Yes, I had to take risks. But I chose to fall back and be caught. You realize there are a lot of things you can live without during startups and you are still fine.”
If she had to do things differently, she would start with a bigger savings and save more money. But having said that, she also stays driven. And staying driven requires money sometimes. “When I am asked what those just starting out need to know, this is what I tell them. Stay true to your intention. Don’t stray from it. No one can say what your intention is or what it means…only you know what that is.”
So is she an expert? She just smiles and says she is a conduit.
And is she successful? “I define success as ‘smiles’. I am smiling.” And just how does profit fit into all of this? “The smiles are abundant.” Profit? Definitely…but of an entirely different kind.
Does Christina think she has that Entrepreneurial Spirit? She smiles and says “I am spirit.” I don’t know about you…but I think many positive spirits follow Christina and smile at her. She is a joy to be around…and definitely is an Entrepreneurial Spirit.
Christina doesn’t just sit in one spot. She takes her message to a wide range of communities. To learn more about Christina check out one of these sites…

This series of articles was commissioned by Upward Trend and written by Wendy VanHatten, a nationally published author, editor, and writing coach.