You CAN Have Your Cake and Eat It Too!

You CAN Have Your Cake.jpgTwo years ago, I fell in love. Not with someone (that happened almost 20 years ago), not even with something. I fell in love with an idea. I started my journey in 2012. I met with Sheri Tomchick, someone who lived less than 2 minutes away from me and yet I had never seen, met or even heard of. Everyone in my circle of friends (including my husband) knew who Sheri was but I had no idea and vice versa. She told me about Plan A and how she needed help and despite the fact that I had worked the same job for over a decade and ran the operation, I took a leap of faith. As I sit here, I can’t tell you (without sounding crazy) why I made that decision. I didn’t even have to think about it at the time. Something was pulling me toward the opportunity and the only thing I can define it as is intuition.

I got to know the ins and outs of Plan A, the staff, the clients, the policies and the procedures. I moved from the role of Administrative Assistant to Director of Health Care Services. I was pushed to try new things, I was encouraged when I had to have new conversations and I was bolstered into new opportunities. I loved my job. I don’t say that lightly. I lived and breathed that job. I came in early, I stayed late and I’m proud to say that I got to play a role in the growth of Plan A. It was an opportunity for which I will always be grateful. Sheri and I were two peas in a pod. She was my boss, my mentor and someone I highly regarded. Sometimes we had no idea what we were doing but somehow, we always managed to figure everything out.

In June of 2014, Sheri laid down the gauntlet. She officially decided that it was time to incorporate StaffStat as a separate entity and bring it to the market. We were using it in-house and believe me when I say it was a game changer. The fine folks at overtheatlantic.com conceptualized our logo and moved forward with developing our website. Everything was coming together! In September, Sheri announced that she had the perfect person in mind to run StaffStat. She was confident that this person knew the product, understood the vision and could give this massive undertaking the legs it needed to get it moving along. Yes, dear readers, her announcement ended with: “and that perfect person is Mel Morin”.  THAT, right there, is when I fell in love. The idea that we would introduce the market to our smoking gun, our trade secret and allow them to use it to solve the same problem I could relate to was more than fitting, it was a gift.

For the next two years, I would hustle. I would learn to be the face and not just a part of the ‘pod’. It was a huge transition. If there was an interview, I would be the one to give it. If there was a huge demo, I would lead it. I was making decisions that I never thought I would have to make. If something was done right, I got the credit. If something was done wrong, I took the heat. It goes without saying that Sheri was there for me. She was a sounding board and she was always more than happy to help when needed. She, however, had her own ship to sail and it was ultimately up to me to get this startup from no customers to successful. Since that time, we’ve built a base of loyal customers. We’ve added a Marketing Manager and two Solution Sales Specialists to our team, a solid team, one I’m proud to work with every single day.

And now, I take the time to bring you some breaking news: effective January 1st, I, Mel Morin will officially be part owner of StaffStat, Inc. I always knew that down the line, my ultimate goal would be to invest in great ideas. It never occurred to me that I could have my cake and eat it too! Beyond sweat equity, I will be putting my ‘skin in the game’. I will be an invested CEO. I always cared. It always mattered to me what happened to StaffStat. Like I mentioned, I fell in love a few years back. But this changes things. The perspective is different. I am now officially tied to ‘the little company that could’.

Despite the fact that I’m a woman who fell in love with an idea, make no mistake, this was a business decision:

  1. In the past year, StaffStat has grown its customer base by 92%.
  2. StaffStat just took home the win from the Innovator’s Den at the OLTCA Conference (we pitched along with 4 other companies and an audience filled with people who work in long-term care every single day voted in response to being asked which innovation would have the most impact in their home).
  3. StaffStat signed its first corporate contract in August of 2016.
  4. Our product is officially being piloted in a hospital setting, opening the doors to a whole new sector.
  5. Speaking of sectors, our product is sector agnostic. We can fill shifts in education, mining, the service sector and the list goes on. With a list that long, opportunities are endless.
  6. StaffStat is getting noticed. We’re being nominated for awards with titles like: “Innovation of the Year” and “Best New Product” locally and provincially.
  7. I’ve mentioned it several times but it bears repeating: StaffStat has an amazing story, and now, it has a whole new twist!

As I sign off, here’s what I know. There could never be a better time for me to invest in this company and there could be no better partner. It’s the ultimate marriage in success and while the future is uncertain, I know (just like I knew 4 and a half years ago that I had to take that leap) that it’s bright!

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Life is Too Short…

With the year coming to a close, I’ve been seeing a lot of the typical end-of-year quotes and ‘new year, new me’ pictures floating around social media, and it’s made me reflect on this past year and all that I’ve learned, all that’s changed and all that’s still to come. Today I thought I would share some quotes that I’ve heard over the past 12 months that I’ve found have resonated with me.

…to wait around.

1

Sitting around and hoping that things will happen the way you want, when you want them to happen and who you want them to happen with doesn’t work. The only way to get what you want is to show that you want it, put a plan in place, and work for it until you achieve it.

…to not spend time with the ones you love.

2

My immediate family lives quite far away from one another. I have a brother who lives in Edmonton (30 hours from Sudbury), my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles live in Hornepayne (8 hours from Sudbury), my oldest brother lives in Cambridge (4.5 hours from Sudbury) and my sister and younger brother live in Sturgeon Falls (1 hour from Sudbury). Until I moved away from home (and even more so now that I live alone), I didn’t realize how important it was to spend as much time as possible with my family and close friends!

…to be wondering “what if”.

3

I was the friend that always missed out on things because of work. My friends would often make plans and I wouldn’t be able to make it because I had picked up an extra shift or I agreed to work longer than expected because someone had called in sick. Making my friends and family a priority, as well as my own happiness (and sanity, if we’re being honest!) has been the best decision I could have made this year.

…to think that money is everything.

4

I wrote a blog at the end of the summer about what I learned during the summer of 2016 and I mentioned this point within that post. I consider myself to be a bit of a workaholic; I love to work, I love having my calendar filled up, and I love making money so that I have less to worry about. But what I’ve come to realize over the past year is that money isn’t everything. And if you look at money as being everything, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to make so many amazing memories with those who matter most.

…to not live it exactly as you want.

5

This is a quote that I saw earlier this year that has really stuck with me. Whether you do the right thing or the wrong thing, someone, somewhere will judge you for it or criticize you. Keeping that in mind, you might as well do what you want and what you feel is the right thing to do, regardless of how you think others might feel about it.

 …to waste it on hating other people.

6

This is probably the hardest thing that I’ve faced this past year: letting go of grudges. I am in no way, shape or form, saying that I’ve mastered the art of letting go of grudges, but I will say that I’ve gotten much more comfortable with the idea that there will be people in my life who do not serve me any good. I’ve also gotten used to the idea that not everyone will have my back and there will be people who are out to ruin my day. But life is too short to dwell on those who don’t do you any good to have in your life!

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Mindfulness While We Prepare for the Holiday Season

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How many of us are frantically running around exhausting ourselves with our holiday to-do lists? Is it really necessary? Will our incessant planning really make or break the holiday season? While some planning is needed as we enter the holidays, we do need to remind ourselves that being mindful is what is necessary; mindful of holiday spending, mindful of the expectations we place on ourselves and mindful of the moment.

Christmas has become very commercialized and there is no sign of this slowing down. Trying to keep it simple has become increasingly difficult. Most parents have to juggle working, planning for and preparation of the holidays, and if the stress of it all wasn’t enough, we now have to remember to transition a silly little elf EVERY. SINGLE. EVENING.

The holiday season comes with much expectations, however, we are in complete control of what we decide is important and worthy of our energy. There is no absolute rule that over-planning, over-scheduling and over-indulging is necessary during the holidays. We tell ourselves we’ll rest up in the new year, when in reality the new year comes with even more expectations on ourselves.

If we can just take a moment to step back and remind ourselves of what is most important during this time of year. If we can also take a further step back and remind ourselves that there are some people who do not find comfort in the holiday season, some who go without and some who do not have others to share the festive season with. If we can find balance within the holidays, a balance of giving and celebrating while being mindful of the realities around us. Taking time to volunteer your time to those in need, teaching your children about giving to others in a non-monetary fashion and instead teaching them mindfulness and to devote some time to making someone else happy.

Remove yourself from this frantic time of year and indulge yourself in the moment and magic of the season. Spend time with loved ones and be grateful of everyone’s presence as opposed to the presents that come with the holiday season. Annual holiday parties should include reminiscing on the year, recalling the quality moments and being grateful for what we have! Enjoying the time, the moment, and giving back is what warms the heart and thus is the ultimate gift.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2017!

Cheers!

mandyblog

Daily Twitter Routine

daily-twitter-routineIf you’re new to social media marketing, you may easily become overwhelmed and feel like it’s a huge time commitment to get started and maintain. Wrong! While social media obviously does require dedication (just as any task in your business does), there are many great tools and tricks available to become more efficient when managing social. In today’s post, I figured I would provide you with a few daily actions you can take on Twitter to increase your brand’s following and spark engagement.

  1. Tweet your own content. Do this once daily at the very least; share a photo from an event, a blog post, information surrounding enhancements to your product/service offering, etc. Doing so will not only help build your brand, but it will help keep your feed current and fresh.
  2. Re-tweet at least 1-3 times daily. This step is easy and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. Use hashtags that are relevant to your industry, product, service or brand. If you’re in software, search something like #TechNews, #SaaS, #Software, etc. You should be able to find reputable content that aligns with what your business is doing. Once you find something you like, click the re-tweet button, and add your own personal opinion as a comment (A.K.A a quote Tweet); this will ensure when others search for your content or content related to what you re-tweet, they will see your thoughts which can help position you as an expert for that specific subject matter.
  3. Reply to others. If someone re-tweets your unique content, thank them for doing so and spark up a conversation by tweeting back to them. Hint: if you begin the Tweet with the individual’s @username, not everyone will see the Tweet. For example, “@StaffStatSuds I love filling shifts in seconds!” will be seen only by users who follow you and the user you are mentioning. Adding the username anywhere else in the Tweet is called a mention and the Tweet is visible and public to all. For example, “Wow! I love using @StaffStatSuds to fill shifts in seconds!” will ensure the account mentioned and all others will see your Tweet.
  4. Follow. Don’t just go on a mass-following spree and follow celebrities, satire news websites or every one who followed you first. Make sure whoever you choose to follow is relevant to your business. Don’t feel bad for not following back every single person who follows you, because chances are they’re just hoping you follow them back to increase their count. Instead, follow industry leaders, influencers, news sites related to your industry, organizations, associations, etc. A helpful hint: visit your favourite Twitter user and check out who they’re following and who’s following them as there’s a good chance they are your target audience. Try to follow 10 – 15 people per day; some of these individuals will likely follow you back and because you’re following relevant people, you’ll be engaging with those who matter in relation to your brand.

Try to incorporate these 4 tips to make better use of your time on Twitter. Think of Twitter as an investment into your business and commit to the 15 -20 minutes that this routine requires daily. Want to learn more about Twitter?  Consider reading my other posts about this amazing social website:

Good luck!

Be Your Own Boss!

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There’s never been a better time to open your own health care staffing company and today I will tell you why.

When I started Plan A Health Care Staffing Solutions, my goal in my first year was to have a staff pool of 20 health care professionals and become contracted with one or two homes.  At the end of that year I had 75 people on the pool and was looking after 5 contracts.  We are now 3 and a half months into our 6th year and already had over 1475 shift requests.  We’ve opened up two more Plan A’s and have two more coming down the pipe for January/February 2017.  If I said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times:  Canada needs more Plan A’s.

It’s almost 2017, the oldest of the baby boomers reached 65 just 6 short years ago and it is already a struggle keeping up with the shift requests.   The demand for services is growing by the week – literally.  Our Long Term Care residents need a back up plan that works, and Plan A does it with focus, passion and purpose.

If you’ve ever dreamed about becoming your own boss, doing more as a nurse or just wanting to make a difference in your community, you can have the best of both worlds with our growing and dynamic business model.  Plan A is a much needed service that is simple to understand and duplicate.  We’ve written the book on how to do it exceptionally well and we have a secret ingredient—StaffStat, a shift-filling software that makes it incredibly easy to fill shifts in seconds; no scheduler required!  We also have a team of mentors who are involved as much (or as little) as you need them.  Together we will help you learn about: our market, building a pool, the policies and procedures that drive the business, connecting with the key players in your community, etc.   In our office you’ll learn the ins and the outs of running a staffing company and you’ll get everything you require to hit the pavement running!

If this is something you—or somebody you know—would like to learn more about, please connect with me today!  It’s never been a better time to open up your own health care staffing company and make your own dreams come true.

Happy Monday!

 

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Been There, Done That!

btdtlogoHave you ever watched CBC’s The Dragon Den or it’s American counterpart, ABC’s Shark Tank? One phrase that’s repeated time and time again, regardless of the idea, the product or the service by entrepreneurs is that they thought to themselves: “There’s gotta be a better way!”. Yes, I’m talking about that moment when you’re doing something the long and hard way and you feel that there must be a solution out there somewhere. Sometimes you luck out, you scour the Internet and there it is – exactly what you were looking for. However, sometimes there simply isn’t an answer. When you reach this point, you have 2 options:

  1. Keep doing what you’ve done the way you’ve done it and get the same frustrating result.
  1. Get creative, find your entrepreneurial spirit and build the solution.

For StaffStat, Inc., we exist because our Founder opted for Option 2. She took a gamble and decided that she wanted to build the solution. Beyond that, once it was developed, she determined that others all around us are likely thinking the very same thing: “There’s gotta be a better way!”.

We’re told frequently that assembling the team that we’ve put together for StaffStat, Inc. is pretty unique. Words like ‘lucky’, ‘serendipity’, and ‘fate’ are often thrown around. Here’s my take: the reason our team is so passionate, so amazing and so cohesive is because every single person that makes up our team started out working for the health care staffing agency that created our product (Plan A).

They’ve all felt the pain point. They didn’t just learn about the software and move on to cold-calls.   Each person that sells our software, not only understands that the people they’re talking to calls down the list every single day but they get it. When we give a demo online or in person, the person who’s currently stuck calling down the list at any organization lights up! They are thrown that we have the ability to do what takes them an hour in just a few minutes. That elation and joy when the people on the other end of the phone get our automated call, our text, our email or our app notification during a demo is something we can relate to. I still remember sitting with our developers when they showed me the telephony platform and that first call came through. I still remember getting that first text and thinking: ‘staff are so going to respond to this system’.

That’s what differentiates us. Every team member has experienced the hardship of calling person by person. We’ve all been on call and carried a binder around. We can all remember getting calls while at events and having to step out to take care of filling a shift. That’s what I love about the people I get to work with every day. No one is ‘faking it’. They genuinely understand the impact and the difference our product makes each and every single day.

Last week, I took the time to tell you our story. The best part of the story is that everyone who works for StaffStat can tell it from a 1st person standpoint. We know the difference it can make because it impacted our first business. Sheri can walk in to any environment and let you know how StaffStat will impact your bottom line, your processes and the morale in your organization. Mandy can tell you how staff responded to the system and the difference between calling them 3 times/day vs. sending out notifications via the system and connecting with them how they want to be connected with. Tessa can talk to you about how StaffStat allowed her to focus on recruitment rather than spending any time calling down the list. As for me, I can tell you about the relief you feel when you’re on call and you can reach all of your staff in under 3 minutes, knowing you’ve done everything you possibly can to help out a home that otherwise would be left working short.

It boils down to this: having the ability to take that impact and deliver it to others is a gift and every single one of us on our team not only believes that but knows it.

melblog

 

4 Social Media Tools that Will Make Your Life Easier!

1465988264Cara-Merayakan-Hari-Media-Sosial.jpgIf you’re just starting out in the world of marketing, you may think that it is impossible to manage social media and complete all of the other tasks associated with running a business. When I first started managing the 8 social media accounts between our two sister companies, I found myself getting overwhelmed. Between setting up reminders to post content on different channels every few hours, and scouring the web for free stock photos, I knew that there “had to be a better way!” Trust me—there is! I spent hours researching tools that would keep me organized and help me work smarter and I thought I would share them with you today.

  1. Hootsuite: I owe most of my freed-up time to Hootsuite! It’s a great little platform that helps you manage and monitor all of your social media accounts in one spot. You can set up each of your accounts into multiple streams to monitor the conversations that are taking place around your brand or industry, and you can easily engage with others without every having to leave the stream! I use Hootsuite mainly for scheduling posts across all accounts; I set aside a few hours of my day every other week to schedule posts in advance. Hootsuite is a great tool for planning social media campaigns, as it also provides valuable feedback in the form of analytics. You can easily track the number of views, shares, comments, etc. Hootsuite is available for free or you can purchase a plan to add multiple accounts on various platforms to your stream. Best of all, it also has a mobile app so you can monitor your accounts on-the-go!
  2. Bitly: I really believe that Bitly and Hootsuite go hand-in-hand. Bitly allows you to shorten web URLs to make them easier to share across social platforms; shorter links look tidier, are more generic, and help you stay within the character limit on social media websites such as Twitter. You can also input a link and customize it to match your brand or its purpose: ex: bit.ly/planajobs is the link I created and use on social media when encouraging others to apply to Plan A. Bitly also provides you with real-time stats, such as number of views, clicks, and the respective geographical locations of each stat. Bitly is available for free, however, you can purchase a more advanced plan to suit your needs.
  3. Shutterstock: Prior to having a subscription to Shutterstock, I spent endless hours scouring the web searching for free, high-resolution images that were available for commercial use. If I was searching for something in particular, my search often came up short. With Shutterstock, you can purchase image packs for as low as $29 for two photos, or you can purchase more extensive packages to suit your needs. Usually, I will use any of the free stock websites listed here for web content, but if I am looking for something specific for print materials or large-scale pieces, I will purchase an image that I will then own the license to and can use virtually as many times as I would like. I also enjoy how Shutterstock keeps your download history on hand so you can re-download images as you see fit.
  4. Canva: I think I have raved about Canva multiple times in my posts, but it is a great tool that absolutely every one should use! You can quickly and easily create stunning, high-quality content with little-to-no graphic design experience required. Canva has hundreds of pre-made templates available to help you make whatever you desire— such as blog photos, cover photos, thank you cards, letterhead and even resumes! Canva also has thousands of stock photos that you can purchase for $1 each and use/manipulate for up to 24 hours! More advanced plans give you access to an increased number of stock photo downloads and allow you to save your logo, brand colours, brand fonts, etc. in a little toolbox for easy access. Try it out today!

Since using the combination of these tools on a daily basis, I have found myself working on more of the things I really enjoy, such as the creative side of marketing. Implementing new tools may take some getting used to, but they will help change your game! I encourage you to figure out what works well for you! Let me know! Good luck!

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