Author Archives: technodivatraining

About technodivatraining

Kania "TechnoDiva" Kennedy focuses on empowering small business owners leverage technology to make their business run more efficiently and productively. My Team and I work with you to optimize your website (or get one), utilize all the cool gadgets you have, and be able to play with the Big Boys even though you're small (yet mighty)!

Author Tech: Get Money!

Like I wrote before, being an author is like being a small business owner.  You have products (books) to sell and its up to you a lot of the time to get the word out (marketing) about how awesome your product is!  If you are a self-published author you also spend a lot of time selling the product too!

So its important to know about PayPal, Google Checkout, Square Up and any other easy payment gateways out there because you want to GET MONEY!! Right?

So here is my official review of Square Card Reader for SMART Phones (Androids & iPhones, sorry Blackberry peeps).  Now if you’re reading this I HOPE you have taken my advice (from previous articles) and picked up your SMART Phone and Optimized it!  So now you’re ready to do business on the go!

I signed up for the Square Card Reader for a couple of reasons.

  • I am an author and need to sell books on the fly or at book signings and other events
  • I do home parties and sell products and services out and about
  • I wanted to try a cool new gadget to review for you all!

While I already had a mobile payment solution , it was for another business account and I wanted an alternative to keep funds separate and the money straight. Also with the other solution I have to key in all the info which can be a pain. With this reader, it’s swipe & go! You can also capture their signature using the touchscreen, this is good as a secondary way to prove they were really there in case of a dispute (always a concern when using plastic).

Getting It

After opening my account (very simple, but you do have to give your SSN & link it to a bank account for payment), I thought my reader was on the way and would arrive within 2-5 days (as promised), but either I missed some instruction or there was a glitch in the matrix b/c a couple of weeks went by with no reader. So I logged back in to see what was up and lo and behold there was a “ship another card reader option.” My reader arrived within a week! (Yay! It looked so cute, nestled in its little box & protective foam).

Installation

I  put the unit into the audio jack (3.5 mm only) on my phone and then headed over to the Android Market Place and downloaded the Square App.  Once installed I simply entered my username/email address and password and I was pretty much up and running.

Using It

The interface is pretty simple, key in the dollar amount and then add the description by typing or  (this is really cool) TAKING A PICTURE!  How awesome, especially if you sell physical items!  Next SWIPE THE CARD to charge and it will tell you immediately if its approved or not.  Finally the person signs using their finger (pens don’t work) and you choose whether the receipt is texted or emailed and input the appropriate information.  What’s cool is that there is a option for tips & taxes and you can eliminate the signature option for payments <$25 (but that also eliminates the tipping option).  What’s nice is that  you can pull up your sales history right from the app or via the online account management tool.

Pretty simple right? What’s nice is there is no worrying about paper and pens, but if you’re in an area with spotty reception, you may be cash only!  Also keep your charger and/or extra batter handy.

Getting Paid

So next up is getting my money!  This Diva does not like to wait to get paid.  My favorite thing about PayPal is INSTANT access to your money if you get the debit card.  Too bad they don’t allow swiping yet :-( .  With Square, you do have to wait a couple business days to get your money.  I did a transaction Friday night and the funds were available today (Tuesday).  The delay I am sure had to do with it being the weekend.  Yes they took out their 2.75% fee (as was expected), but overall the experience was simple and my money is now safely home with me :-)

Refunds

I just put in request to REFUND one of my test payments and will update this post with how long it takes to complete.

Conclusion

Overall so far Square is alright with me, but its still pretty new and some people have had negative experiences.  I know there are some limits in how soon you can get your cash for transactions over $1000 in a week AND getting to customer service is only available via email so read the fine print and be aware.    It also records the GPS location of each transaction which is kinda creepy to me.

I prefer to collect cash and will still use my PayPal Virtual Terminal for payments over the phone or other keyed in methods b/c I want access to my money quickly, but this is a great tool to help increase profitability because you can take deposits, retainers, or sell products via credit card wherever you are that has reception!  The only thing I need now is a cute little carrying case to protect this baby!!

Kania "technodiva" KennedyKania “TechnoDiva” Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University and holds her B.S.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to being a self-published author she is a life long fan of technology, loves “gadgets,” and she has always been the “goto” girl when technological things need to be “hooked up” or “figured out.”Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn
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Author Tech: Give Me A Home

Every Author Needs a Home on the Web

I am a technology consultant and coach for small businesses and as I said before EVERY AUTHOR should consider themselves a small business.  Now if you’re lucky and get a great publishing deal maybe you can outsource everything and simply focus on writing.   However even New York Times bestselling authors have to go on tour and show up to sign books right?

I’m willing to bet however that MOST of the authors reading this article have to do some/most/all of the work of getting their product (book) and brand (name) known to the world.  Here is the good news, you can reach almost anyone in the world these days without ever leaving home.  Here’s the “bad” news, you have to use technology to do it.

Its my job to help small business owners get themselves out there within budget and looking like a million bucks.  With that being the case there are a few foundational items I cover with new clients.  The essentials that I say EVERY business should have, so take a moment to rundown my checklist and see how you are doing.

Small Business Essentials

  • Domain Name
  • E-Commerce enabled Website
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • Twitter Account
  • Youtube Channel
  • Paypal Account
  • SMART Phone
  • Linked In Profile

Are you a yes to all of the above?  If not, it seems like you have work to do!  Today I’m going to start with the first two items on the list.

Domain Name

You want to get a personal domain name.  Not your book title, your actual name.  If you have decided to publish a book and put yourself as the author, guess what?  You are now a “personality.”  People will start to look you up and that’s a good thing!  We want to make sure they find you.  So visit a domain name registrar like Go Daddy or my personal favorite Name Cheap and spend the roughly $10 to buy http://www.YourName.com.  Hurry you don’t want someone to beat you to it!

There are two reasons for this

  1. If you publish more than one book, you want a single location where people can go to find out about you and all your work
  2. We need to build your home on the web i.e. your website

Website (E-Commerce enabled)

If you are reading this, you already know what a website is, but you may not understand why you need one OR why it should be e-commerce enabled.  The short of it is that websites are the number one way people get information about you on the internet (with Facebook running a close second these days).  Let’s say you want to have your book published by a major publishing house and you are sending off manuscripts and proposals, they are not only evaluating your work, they are evaluating you!  So being able to send them to a professional informative website about their next potential author will work in your favor!  If you are self-publishing, your readers will want to find out more about you too, make it easy on them.  Now this site does not have to be complicated but it should have an about you page, information about your work, a way to purchase your work, and a way to contact you.

This brings me to the second part of the site, the E-Commerce.  End of the day, you want to sell books right?   You may even want to consider offering your services as a speaker, if so you want to make it EASY for people to buy from you.  Having a merchant account and a shopping cart and/or purchase links on your site means your visitors can purchase books or book your right there versus having to contact you via phone and then sending in a check or arranging to meet you somewhere.  A wise business owner once told me to remove as many barriers between you and your customer’s money as possible!

Don’t worry getting a merchant account these days is easy check out PayPal and Google Checkout for free easy ways to get started.  Both these services make it easy to accept credit cards and other forms of payment online, as well as offer tutorials on how to add their “buttons” to your site.

So where do you get a site, if you don’t have a website designer?  I’m going to give you a few EASY resources and I encourage you to use one of them or something very similar.

  • Webs.com:  This is a great service with both a free (ad supported) as well as a low cost pay option (no ads).
  • Intuit Websites:  Low Cost ad-free option
  • WordPress.com: WordPress is a free option, BUT it is not easy to add the e-commerce option.  There are work arounds, but it will take a little effort.

I am sure there are plenty of other options out there, but these are three that I can recommend.  While all three of these options are designed to be user friendly, I highly recommend working with a professional to make your site look its best.  The great thing about these tools is that you can put up all the content (information you want to share) and then bring in someone (like me) to “tweak” it.  Its a way to save time and money.

We will tackle the rest of this list in my upcoming articles so check back soon!

Kania "technodiva" KennedyKania “TechnoDiva” Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University and holds her B.S.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to being an author she is a life long fan of technology, loves “gadgets,” and she has always been the “goto” girl when technological things need to be “hooked up” or “figured out.”Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn
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Author Tech – SMART Phone 101

If you took the time to read my AuthorTech Article about SMARTPhones, you know I think it’s a must for every entrepreneur Author who wants to work SMART vs hard.  So once you have the phone, what do you do with it?

Getting the phone is just the first step, then you have to learn how to use it!  If you’re pretty tech savvy it may be simple for you to get the basics, however depending on your level of expertise doing anything beyond making calls and checking Facebook may leave you scratching your head.  (If this is you, no worries, I am awesome at setting up gadgets and teaching you how to keep things running smoothly Call me)!  Once you get the basics down, its time to upgrade.
The BEST part of SMART phones are the Apps.  Now depending on what platform you choose for your phone the exact Apps you use will vary, but I am going to create a list of the TYPE of apps I recommend to optimize the use of your phone for business!
  • Banking: You want to be able to access your money so make sure you download your bank’s mobile software. Be careful about using this as there are predators out there, but having quick access to your money is good move
  • LinkedIn: I’m assume you already have set up your LinkedIn profile right? (If not, hop to it!) Now get the mobile app so you can access contacts in your network easily!
  • Mobile Credit Card Payments:  You want to be able to accept credit card payments from WHEREVER you are so you need an app to do that.  Options include:
    • Mobile Merchant Pro which offers a FREE app, the thing is you have to use Authorize.net or PayPal Web Payments Pro.
    • Square Up they offer a FREE cool credit card swipe tool that plugs right into the media jack on your phone!  The money gets deposited right into your bank account.  This is perfect to accept payments on the go.  I am currently awaiting mine to be delivered and if you follow my Adventures in Tech Blog, I’ll share about my experience once I start using it!
    • Intuit GoPayment: Similar to Square Up but powered by Intuit (same people who make Quickbooks).  It comes with a card swiper too (so convenient)
  • Gmail/Google Apps
    • Sync your calendar, email, and contacts only works if you’re using Gmail and other Google tools
    • If you’re using Google Apps to power your back office this is essential!
  • Paypal: You can request money, send money, and check your balance but even better you can receive CHECKS while on the go! No more running to the bank, you can use the camera feature on your phone! PAYPAL rocks!
  • Email Sync: If you’re using another mail service, find their app and load it. You want to be able to read and respond to messages on the go.  Who knows when opportunity is going to knock?
  • Social Networking: Twitter, & Facebook in particular.  You’re an author so you need to be able to “micro’blog” on the go.  Your readers want to hear from you.  The articles on “Social Media for Authors” are perfect to find out how to use these tools once you get them set up!
These are my essentials and there may be others that will work PERFECTLY for you, but you have to start somewhere right?  Just remembers these phones are not just for talking and if you’re paying for a data plan, make sure that phone can make you money on the go!
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Author Tech – SMART or Not to Smart (phone)

Kania "TechnoDiva" Kennedy

Greetings Authors!

I’ll admit it, I’m a geek and proud of it!  I love video games, can write computer code, and I loooove gadgets.  While I don’t have to have the latest and greatest in cellphones, when I do upgrade I tend to add all the bells and whistles I can afford!

When my old cellphone went kurplunk a few years back I entered the SMARTphone world.  I heard a lot of hype about these phones, but wasn’t sure if it was worth the cost (these plans are not cheap).  I’m not cheap, but I’m frugal so before I implement a new a new piece of technology or add anything else that will cost me money I like to weigh the practicality of the decision.

I started with a Plam Centro (Do they still make those? LOL) and it was cool.  Ultimately why I was a yes was to have the ability to combine my PDA (Electronic Calendar) with my phone AND sync them with my calendar while on the Go!

I am committed to being FREE.  I don’t like be tied down to a desk or a city.  No I don’t have commitment issues, because I am committed to being free :-).  My dream is to be able to travel and live my life without having to put my business on hold.  If I want to work in front of the lake instead of being trapped in my home office or tethered to wi-fi at a coffee house or something, I can do that (awesome right?).

So what on earth does this have to do with Authors and writing?  
Well guess what, when you become an author…you become a business or rather a personal brand!
Yep if you plan to sell your books you are instantly in business and have to go to work on getting your  brand established (get your name out there and your works sold)!  With that in mind, don’t you want to spend MOST of your time writing and as little possible running the business side of being an author?
One of the tools that will help you with that is a SMARTPhone!  It’s a must have tool for every small business owner.  So in part 1 of this 2-part series, I’m sharing my experience as I entered the SMARTPhone market and making the case for every person in business to have one.  So back to the story!
 
I use the Google Apps for business to run my back office (yes I can and do help small businesses implement and learn how to use these tools) so that means my email, contact list, and calendar are powered by google and with all of the lovely Apps out there for the SMARTphones I cab sync them from anywhere!
So if I make an contact while at a networking event, I enter the data on the spot and INSTANTLY my address book is updated.  Same for appointments and events.  This means less work entering data and keeping my schedule straight.  Pretty SMART huh?
Since my first experience with Palm I have upgraded and experienced both the Blackberry and the Android operating systems.  I have not made the investment into an iPhone, mostly because although I love Apple, my life is very PC and Google.  Currently I’m using the DROID 2 from Motorola and while it has had its kinks its decent.  Since I’m frugal, I’ll probably keep it until my contract is up or they offer a discounted UPGRADE!  In addition to the calendar and contacts features, I use my phone for accepting payments on the go (gotta be able to make money at any time), blog, tweet, stay connected on Facebook, make and take business calls, email, and soooo much more.
End of the day,  EVERY entrepreneur Author who is serious about their business selling their books needs to invest in a SMARTphone.  It helps you stay quick, accessible, and connected to your business personal brand (aka YOU) from wherever you are.  If you’re worried about needing your space, don’t worry…they all come with an OFF BUTTON!!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I”ll break down how to optimize your phone for your business personal brand.
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