Staying Sane While Working From Home – Part 2

Unprecedented times are upon us. The Covid-19 crisis is affecting all of us. In particular, it’s forcing many organizations to send their employees home to work remotely. This sounds like an easy thing to do – work from home. But for those of us who have been doing it for years, we know there are some things you need to do and do them quickly. It’s all about staying sane while working from home. 

Once you have figured out how to access your business data and applications (blogged about this last week here), you now have to put in place a strategy for working from home.  It can be challenging but with the right plan in place you can make it work efficiently.

Here’s some tips that we have found helpful.

  • You need a specific place to work that is not the kitchen table. You need to be able to spread out and not have to keep moving around your work.
  • You need a schedule – get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, go to work, stop for lunch, then close the day.
  • It helps to try to mimic what you do every day when you are not at home.  Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Take breaks. DO NOT ANSWER THE HOME PHONE. You don’t do that at work, don’t do it at home – unless of course you are using that phone to take business calls.
  • Don’t snack. You have easy access to food when at home and the kitchen will call you – I can hear mine calling now. Ignore it.
  • Move around – you probably go to meetings, meet with other employees, head out to lunch and are moving more than you do at home. Get up and go walk the dog and step outside for some fresh air.
  • Ignore the home tasks and chores that are calling out to you to make you feel guilty. You can do them on the weekend just like you do now. Be realistic with opportunities to multitask. (Laundry + work + Child care is a bit much)
  • Keep regular working hours – learn to just say no and step away from the keyboard at 5:00PM. This is probably the biggest hurdle I have – knowing when to stop working. Many employers have been afraid that people will not work when they are remote – I have found it’s the opposite.
  • Don’t turn on the TV – it way too big of a distraction. If you need to check news, do it online. I have recently noticed a lot more of my friends are posting on Facebook than usual. Again, this is as bad as the TV – step away. Ignore the little Facebook voice saying “feed me.”
  • If there are other people at home you have to find a way to tell them you are working. Good luck with this one.
  • Remember to take care of yourself during this trying time. Feel comfortable knowing we are all in the same boat.  Hang in there – we will get through this, stronger and smarter.

We can help. We know how to get you connected remotely. We know how to work remotely and can help you set up a process to make you productive. Call us today (423)875-2652 or fill out our Contact Us form 

Stay safe. We will persevere. 

Working from Home Tips – Part 1

March 18th, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Cloud Computing, Sales

We live in interesting and scary times at the moment. Many of our customers are having to resort to working from home. But business must continue. We are going to write a series of blog posts this week on tips to help.

The first blog post will be about ways to access your applications and hold meetings remotely. This is where having things in the cloud is a boon. Most applications now have cloud access including CRMs, accounting, and Microsoft Office products.

If you don’t have your tools in the cloud, applications like Logmein allow you to access your computers at the office while working from home. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, provide a more secure method for accessing applications. Terminal server is another way to host applications on an office server that staff can access remotely.

There are lots of ways to communicate with the rest of your company or your customers. You can hold virtual meetings using tools like Gotomeeting, Teamviewer, Zoom or More and more computers have built in webcams. When holding remote meetings use the webcams. It keeps people “feeling” like they are all still together. Don’t just hold staff meetings as well – try to have virtual “coffee cooler” conversations or “happy hours” – it will help keep the staff motivated. Using a web cam while holding remote meetings with your clients also has more of a personal impact.

Another way to stay connected is using Collaboration tools such as Facebook Workplace, Slack, Microsoft Teams or our personal favorite – Google Drive. The key is to keep everyone on the same page as if you were all in the office.

If you do not have good internet access but have good cell phone coverage you can use your cell phone as a wi-fi hub to access your cloud based applications from a laptop. Check with your providers for costs and function.

All this is well and good but not everyone has great or speedy internet access at home or cell coverage. Favorite locations with wi-fi are closing. This removes an option for many of our customers. We work with lots of people who tell us they need to go to a Panera Bread to let us work with them. Your critical applications need to be able to be accessed while not connected to the internet. Look into what remote options are available. For those of our clients who use Act, there has always been the ability to have remote databases that you can use until you can get to an internet access point. If you want more information we can help.

The next blog post will be about working from home. All of my staff are home based so we have lots of experience and tips on how to stay sane while working at home.

Hang in there. We are here to help. We too are doing what we can to stay solvent and successful. Let’s work together. If you want more information, click on the following link to schedule a call.

Act Marketing Automation White List IP Addresses

February 13th, 2020 • By: Patricia Egen Sales

For customers who use Act Marketing automation, the IP addresses used to send email from Act! Marketing Automation have recently changed. Users may experience test sends that do not deliver to their inbox and will need to add the new IP addresses to their white-list.

It is possible that certain ports necessary for Act! Marketing Automation to function properly may be blocked. To ensure that you are able to use Act! Marketing Automation fully you can add the following exceptions to the whitelist of your email domain’s firewall and/or Anti-Virus software:

The following two Ports: 443, 80

The following send servers:


Quotewerks Version 5.4 Build 7 is available

August 27th, 2019 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Business growth, Quotewerks, Sales, Sales management

Quotewerks Version 5.4 Build 7 is available.  The key item (we are excited about) is the integration with Act has been totally rewritten and has so many new features we are beyond thrilled. If you want to hear more or want to see a demo, call today at (423)875-2652.

Click here to see the list of new features in QuoteWerks Version 5.4 Build 7!
Improved Etilize Integration
The QuoteWerks Product Content Subscription (Etilize) now offers an “In Stock Recently” checkbox to limit only items that have had stock within the last 24 hours. Additionally, the integration has been upgraded to return results faster and two new columns have been added on the Etilize search window (List High and List Low).
Amazon Business Integration Update (USA Only)
Place electronic orders directly with Amazon Business from QuoteWerks! Search for items in the Amazon Business product source and place orders for those items through the QuoteWerks Purchasing Window directly with Amazon Business.
Email Template Improvements 
Email templates now include To, CC, and BCC options for the templates. Users are also able to select other users’ templates, making it easier than ever to share email templates across departments and similar job roles.
New QuoteValet Activity Notifications
Activity notifications have been expanded to include more actions from QuoteValet including Payment Failed, Customer Intends to Pay, Comment posted by Sales Rep, Expired Quote Viewed.  Keep everyone in the loop with activity notifications!
ACT! Integration – New Features!
The ACT! integration has been completely re-written to add new features such as linking all attachments and follow ups to the opportunity, the ability to rename any activity created by QuoteWerks, ability to integrate with ACT! while ACT! is not running, and many more.

Email marketing vs marketing automation.

August 20th, 2019 • By: Patricia Egen Sales

We are helping quite a few clients get up to speed with Act! Marketing automation. Many of them were prior users of the Swiftpage e Mail marketing.

One of the top questions I get is how is marketing automation different. There are tons of articles about marketing automation, but here’s what I have told everyone – in a few words so they don’t need to go read those articles right away.

Email marketing is just that – sending marketing pieces out via email “hoping” people will 1) open them and 2) buy your service or product. You send the emails out on faith. And sit back and wait for either a response or someone perhaps clicking on a website link you’ve provided.

That has worked well for many years and for many companies. But how do you make sure it makes you money? How do you insure that the lead generated by that email or click is responded to and a call to action has been implemented?

You need to find a way to automate that process and that is where marketing automation comes into play. It takes email marketing to a whole new level.

Things like automatically creating an activity when someone clicks on a link. Moving that lead into a group that you will follow up with additional emails in the future.

How about emails going out automatically on someone’s birthday with an activity scheduled for a sales rep to “check in” and see how things are going.

One of my favorites is having an email go out if someone has not been talked to, met with or responded to within 90 days – I call it the “neglected clients” campaign.

If you do a bunch of manual steps and processes after you send out email marketing pieces, then you need marketing automation.

Take the time to go research marketing automation on Google. Or…give us a call. This article will actually be in one of my upcoming emails with a click-through that I will follow up on. Compliments of a marketing automation campaign. Yes, we eat our own dog food.

So should you.

Call us (423)875-2652 or email us at if you want to learn more – or click on the following this link that talks more about Act’s marketing automation features.