What Do I Do Now?

I’ve had a few people ask me what exactly I do now so I figured I’d write up a quick summary. As Communications Manager at Envirotech Office Systems, I’ll be responsible for the following:

Strategic Planning

Each Tuesday, I’ll be in meetings almost all day as I show the progress I’ve made, and help management determine the best strategies going forward. I’ll be working with a branding company that has been brought on as a growth accelerator as well as the President of Envirotech, to try to make the most out of my days, weeks, months and years.

Website

I’ve started with the fundamentals, making changes to the CSS, content, organization, and really fleshing things out. I’ve also been working on bettering their call to action on various pages. They are ranking well on Google for some terms, but not so great for others, so I’ll be doing some SEO work to try to improve their rankings. They want to see a pretty large increase in overall traffic this year.

Blog

I’ll hopefully be working with a company soon to convert their blog from Joomla to WordPress including both content and design, but I also have to produce content. I will hopefully be sourcing a few freelance writers to help with content generation as I focus on managing the writers, editing their posts, promoting the content, and sourcing imagery for the various blog posts created.

Online Advertising

They are currently spending money on advertising, and I’ll be working with another person in the office to sort things out and make their online advertising more focused and cost effective. They also want to explore banner advertising in the near future.

Online Showroom

I am working on refining their online showroom concept, an area that gives people a better idea of the products available from Envirotech. This is one of the many areas that is expected from used office furniture dealers, and while Envirotech is primarily a re-manufactured office furniture company, the online showroom is where a great deal of traffic currently ends up.

Social Media Accounts

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ are all places that Envirotech wants to be as they covet the attention and potential draw of social media. They were working with a small marketing agency before to do some of this, and they have started me off on good footing, but there is still lots of work to be done.

Branding on Third Party Websites

Outside of social media, there are a number of sites that mention our address and other contact details, but since the companies move less than two years ago, they haven’t had all of those mentions updated. That’s just one of many things on third party, non-social media, websites that I’ll be responsible for.

Basic Graphic Design

They’ve purchased a subscription to Creative Cloud for me under the photography deal that Adobe had. This has allowed me to do some basic Photoshop and Lightroom work for them already. I will continue to be someone they come to for simple image editing, understanding that it isn’t my expertise, but that I’m in the office and can turn things around quickly, if it is in my wheelhouse.

Photography and Videography

With products for sale, and projects being completed, Envirotech wants more and better photography of the things they have available and the work they have done, and with my limited skills, I’ll be filling that gap as well. I’ve already been walking around the huge showroom to try to learn the ins and outs of large product photography.

Training Sales Staff on Marketing and Social Media

Once I’m settled in, and things are going well, I’ve been asked to train the sales team a few basics relating to social media, and I am hoping that they’ll be able to help me from time to time, once they are trained, with pushing out great content for people to read and share. They are the true experts in their industry, and I hope to be able to help them bridge the divide and reduce the number of potential mistakes.

Conclusion
So for now, I have a huge and varied schedule. I’ve been focusing on the things I’m really good at, in hopes of really improving the overall online marketing situation for Envirotech. There is probably enough work to be done for three of me, but I’m working at keeping my head above water the best I can.

Learning and Honing Skills

At my new job, I’m definitely learning new things as well as honing the skills I’ve already built. There is so much work for me to do here, but I’m happy to say that I’m getting more comfortable fast. There are a number of things I’ve already been able to do. Most of my job this week is to fix the fundamentals. The marketing team they had working here was great for setting some things up, but they were acting a little in a silo, and haven’t got to hear all the things I have from management and key stakeholders.

I have big shoes to fill with this job, and there are high expectations. I am hoping to see progress through my efforts. Most of what I’m trying to do won’t show results for the next few months. I haven’t felt so much stress for a long while, and while I’m not the best at handling stress, I’m excited about what I could do for this company. I have to admit that I was hoping my job was more management, training and facilitating, but I’m definitely also having to execute on everything.

There are opportunities to help train the sales staff, and work with freelancers to help with various actions relating to marketing and social media. Doing everything I’m doing right now makes me want to write about social media marketing, SEO and content management again. I forgot how passionate I can be about these topics.

First Week at Envirotech Office Systems

So, I’ve made it through my first week, and have started into my second one. There are people surprised I’ve made it to this point as the position I’m in is one with a lot of responsibilities and stress, but I’m determined to help Envirotech, and see so much opportunity within this organization.

Last week, I spent most of my time learning. I suffered from three days of solid information overload as I got up to speed on where things were currently sitting, all the ins-and-outs of this business, and what the key stakeholders are looking for from me.

Today, I finally was able to finish my first of many blog posts and publish it live on their site. Entitled, Why Aeron Chairs are Highly Desirable, it is available on their blog. Their site uses Joomla as its content management system, and that’s not something I’ve used before, so to be able to iterate fast, I’ll probably start by converting the blog over to WordPress sometime in the near future.

I’ve also been able to start taking liberties with their website, making the changes I think are important. Lastly, I’ve been working on trying to get a snapshot of where they currently sit in rankings and whatnot so that I can prove that my efforts are creating improvements over time.

There is so much work for me to do that I wish there were two or three of me.

A huge thanks goes out to all those that have been supportive in this transition. I can’t explain how much I’ve missed the team at rocketgenius, but I’m also excited about what I might be able to do for Envirotech.

Catching Up With Jeff Chandler

Last night I spent around four hours catching up with Jeff Chandler on a Google Hangout that he hosted. It was casual, and others dropped in and out pushing the conversation towards different things.

Jeff and I reminisced about the good old days where we used to do WordPress Weekly together, and discussed what it is like to be a remote worker. It was great catching up with him. It made me miss working with him, and he’s definitely matured over the last few years. I really enjoyed the conversation. Apparently, it was the third or fourth such late night Hangout.

If you haven’t heard me talk about Jeff before, I recommend you check out the WP Tavern, the website he helps operate. He’s a great guy, and I hope he continues to have success. I also hope to get back on WordPress Weekly sometime soon to chat with him, just like the good old days.

E-Bike Interest

With the realization that my new job is only twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) from home, I’ve started looking at biking options to get there and back on better weather days. Living in Halton Hills, the name fits the location, and I’d have to deal with some rolling hills no matter which direction I take to get out of town.

Add to that, the knowledge that I’ll mostly have to drive on the gravel surface along the roads to stay safe from the transport trucks that drive like maniacs, and I’m looking at a decent mountain bike or hybrid bike versus a lighter city bike.

If I pick up a mountain bike, and peddle at a reasonable speed, I could make it to work in less than three quarters of an hour (45 mins). This would be great exercise for me, and would make days easier for both Annie and I as we continue to be a one vehicle family. Continue reading

Last Day at rocketgenius

Today was my last full day at rocketgenius. I’ll be doing a few things this weekend to help out before I start my new job on Monday.

The last two weeks weren’t anything too special. I said goodbye to a few folks, but otherwise just did my job the best I could, and focused on finishing up some projects and assigned support tickets.

I can’t even explain how much I’m going to miss the team at rocketgenius. Deciding to leave was super difficult, and I truly feel blessed that I got to work with them all. Everyone was so welcoming, so easy to get along with. Carl, Kevin and Alex run a really great company, and I have no doubt that they’ll continue to be very successful.

I know that I’ll always be the number one fan of Gravity Forms, and that I’ll continue to follow what the team at rocketgenius does. You’ll likely see my retweet things from them as releases happen, and I hope to continue to have a dialog with everyone in the company. A huge thanks goes to everyone at rocketgenius for their friendship and support!

Writing on a Train

Since purchasing a laptop, I’ve only had the opportunity to write while on a train a handful of times and I found the experience very rewarding, so I can’t help but feel excited about what Amtrak is doing. Amtrak has decided, after a social media push and trail run to host a writer’s residency.

What does that mean? Well, twenty-four people will be given a two to five day train ride on one of the Amtrak routes, allowing them the opportunity to be inspired by the trip and focus on writing.

Here are some more details from Amtrak:

Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

My first thought was “why didn’t VIA Rail in Canada do this first?” Imagine travelling from Ontario to Quebec and back? Or what about a week long trip on their sleeper cars that head to British Columbia from Ontario?

There are definite opportunities here for VIA Rail to inspire writers with both being on a train, and the beautiful country that we live in. I would definitely sign up for an offer like what Amtrak is offering.

I have no doubt that Amtrak is going to receive thousands of responses before submissions close, and I urge any Canadians reading this blog to contact VIA Rail and point out the program started by Amtrak. This could be the start of a great symbiosis between a company providing a service, and the artistic community.

New Job: Communications Manager

I recently applied to and was interviewed for a new job which I subsequently was offered and accepted. I will be the new Communications Manager for Envirotech Office Solutions. I have big shoes to fill as they bring the role in-house, but I’m very excited about the opportunity.

I will start working there in the middle of March as I wind down at rocketgenius. The decision was super difficult. I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to take the offer at Envirotech, but I’m confident in rocketgenius’ continued success, and this is an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.

What does Envirotech Office Solutions do? They provide businesses with a way to purchase both re-manufactured and new office furniture. Envirotech has worked with companies like Telus, Logitech, Air Canada and Hewlett-Packard on design projects that revitalized their offices, while also reducing waste and saving the environment.

I am looking forward to pushing myself to expand my abilities, share what I’ve learned with the Envirotech team, and help the company grow. I will continue to share my experiences there, so keep checking back for more information on how I’m doing in the new role.

WordPress Theme Changes Again

I’ve gone back to a customized Confit theme on my blog because I find it easier to read and navigate. I find it cleaner than the new Twenty-Fourteen and easier to customize and personalize.

I know the team worked hard to create a really nice new default theme for WordPress, but it didn’t work for me. I hope you all enjoy this design as much as I do.

Thank you all for continuing to read my blog.

Moving My Distributel Service

Despite it costing a bit more money to have Internet in Georgetown, Distributel is the company that I decided to go with after talking to some of Annie’s family and I’ve written about their service a few times on this blog. Feel free to search out my Distributel posts if you are interested.

Today, I had to contact them about moving my Internet from my apartment to the new place I’ll be living, and I did so using their chat system. In less than ten minutes, I had a confirmation that my services would be moved.

While their moving fee of $60 is a bit higher than I’d expect, I am going to swallow it because I didn’t have to waste any time calling them, sitting on hold, and slowly reciting all of my information. Using their web chat system was super easy and seamless, and I really appreciate that they could do such a thing for me through that service.

The agent I had, Genevieve, was super helpful, easy to talk to, and fast at responding. She made sure multiple times that I understood what I was asking for, what I’d get and when I would be charged a moving fee. She also made mention of what the next steps are. All of these are important to making a customer feel confident and were handled perfectly.

I really appreciate the service I received today, and I hope the rest of the move goes as smooth. Thanks Genevieve from Distributel.

February 26th Update
Distributel called me last night while I was out, and let me know they would be going to the new place I’m living to install my Internet two days before I move in. Thankfully, the owner of the place has been really accommodating, and gave me a key to go over and wait for the technician.

As usual, I was told that the install would happen between the hours of eight in the morning and five in the afternoon, an almost useless time range to give someone.

The technician came today at 8:45am and installed and tested the line. After five minutes, he was leaving and on to his next installation. I feel like I’m definitely paying a lot of money for what was a five minute installation, and probably another minute of provisioning. Oh well, at least it was trouble free.