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Wednesday, 28 November 2012 23:31

How much to tip this season?

Written by Deb Neuman

Tipping is a way we can reward good service, whether it be for one meal at a favorite restaurant or for a year of service from one of your regular service providers. If you're wondering what is the right amount to tip, here are some guidelines.

Experts suggest that 20 percent of the total bill is the going rate for tipping for great service at establishments you frequent often restaurants, bars, salons, etc. However, there is nothing wrong with tipping more for great service or less for not-so great service. I posted this question to Facebook and responses were consistent with the notion that when it comes to rewarding good or great service, 20 percent is the going rate - with a few exceptions. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:53

Tis the season to spend it at home!

Written by Deb Neuman

Here we are again heading into the peak holiday retail season. Many retailers small and large are depending on these next few weeks to end the year on a positive note. For some, these next weeks will mean the difference between staying in business in the new year or hanging out the 'closed for business' sign.

As you make your shopping list, please do your part to support our small businesses and wherever possible keep it local. Small Business Saturday will be celebrated nationwide this weekend. It's essential to the fabric of our communities to support our small businesses any time of year but this time of year especially.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 23:33

What we girls want!

Written by Deb Neuman

'Tis the season for retailers to pay attention to what we girls want and when I speak of 'girls,' I'm talking about women who are just hitting their prime in their 40s and 50s and beyond! These are the women who are going to be out and about shopping for their children, grandchildren, parents, nieces/nephews, siblings, co-workers, friends and neighbors for the holidays. Many of these women are accomplished, successful and confident - with enough life experience to know what they want and what they don't!

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:16

Is your business prepared?

Written by Deb Neuman

Friends of mine in New Jersey are recovering from the impacts of hurricane Sandy. Their home and business lost power, and their summer home on the Jersey shore was destroyed by fire. Like the rest of us, they never expected this to happen. This is a sad reminder that we all need to be certain we have a recovery plan in place for our homes and our businesses.

Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:19

It's time to get with the (social media) program!

Written by Deb Neuman

I recently presented a social media workshop to a group of employees representing their organizations who were there to learn new ways to market their respective work places. I was taken aback when I asked the group to raise their hands if their organizations were using social media as a means to communicate their activities and only a few of the 30 or so in attendance raised their hands. What a missed opportunity! Then one of the attendees remarked, 'My employer wants us to start a Facebook page for our organization but we're prohibited from using Facebook at work.' Do you see the contradiction here?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:48

It's 11 o'clock have you showered yet?

Written by Deb Neuman

For the last 30 days I've been working from home, launching a new business - Maine Dock Designs (shameless plug) - and tending to my other freelance activities. It's been a huge adjustment going from years of working in an office setting to working from home. I can tell you this it's not for everyone! Sure, we all fantasize about not going to 'work' staying in our PJs all day, not dealing with office politics and having complete control of our lives and schedule. All of that is possible when you work from home. The best part about it is the lack of structure. The worst part about it is the lack of structure.

For most of us, our work lives and personal lives are blended even when we work in an office. You may check emails, make phone calls and work on stuff from home. But you still leave the house and 'go to work.' When your work is in your home, it can be extremely difficult to separate work time from home time. It requires discipline to 'go to work' and discipline to 'not go to work.' It can become very easy to fall into the trap of working too little or working too much.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 15:30

and they're off!

Written by Deb Neuman

The start of the Mount Desert Marathon this past Sunday in Bar Harbor was impressive as hundreds of runners stood in the misty rain, early in the morning ready to take on the challenging miles that stood between them and the finish line. I arrived the night before to stay at the Hearthside Inn. My plan had been to run the marathon but I opted out due to not feeling 100-percent. So, rather than run, I spent the evening before and the day of the marathon appreciating and rooting for the runners and the organizers who made the event possible.

Gary Allen began the marathon 10 years ago and it's grown every year. People often talk about the economic impact that events like this bring to a community. I witnessed this first hand.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 17:01

Change is goodChange is scaryChange is good!

Written by Deb Neuman

Lately it seems that many of my friends and family members are going through changes, both personal and professional. I count myself among them. Making major changes in life is part of life, yet it can be very scary and unnerving. But change is necessary if we are to grow and reach our full potential. Making a change that you're afraid of is far better than never making a change and remaining in a situation that is no longer good for you that you've outgrown or that simply doesn't excite you anymore. Life is too short!

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:17

Pizza made possible by Kickstarter

Written by Deb Neuman

When the Maine Grind in Ellsworth decided they wanted to add pizza to their menu, they turned to their customers for help raising the money they needed to make it happen. Using a site called Kickstarter, they launched a campaign to raise $20,000 - and they were successful! Kickstarter is a 'crowd funding' site, meaning individuals pledge money to projects they want to support. Kickstarter started to help fund creative projects - musicians, artists, etc. But more businesses are finding the site a great way to fund their creative projects. There are other crowd funding sites out there, but Kickstarter is among the most popular (do be sure any site you choose is legit!).

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 17:20

Life's marathon

Written by Deb Neuman

I just completed a half marathon and now I hurt. So why do I do it? Why do I put myself through the pain? The answer is simple, yet apparently contradictory. I run because it makes me feel good. I like what it does for my body but mostly I like what it does for my brain. I swear that running clears out brain crud. Many of my most creative and best ideas came to me during a run. I also like to push myself beyond what I think I'm capable of.

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