The Win-Win Secret to Earning Recurring Revenue with Your Side Project

When his post on how iDoneThis reached $1,000 in recurring revenue struck a chord with readers, Walter thought it would be enlightening to talk with other entrepreneurs about their own such journeys. One of the most interesting stories he heard was from Adam Rotman, creator of Share As ImageYou can watch Walter’s full interview with Adam here, and today we offer some key takeaways from their conversation.

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Why Foursquare, BuzzFeed, and Shopify Use Google Snippets

There’s one internal communication tool, little known outside of tech circles, that’s been the management engine behind many of tech’s biggest successes. Known as Google Snippets (having started as an internal tool at Google), this single tool has grown to become one that many of the best technology companies use to keep their teams aligned and working in sync while giving them the freedom to work creatively and autonomously.

The reason the system at Google caught on is that it’s not only powerful but incredibly simple to use.

Snippets sends everyone a weekly email on Monday asking you what you did last week and what you planned to get done the next week. When you reply to the email, your response goes onto an internally accessible webpage, and the next day, you’ll get an email that shows you what everyone else in the company is working on.

What began as a modest tool for keeping everyone in the loop became a powerful tool for company-wide transparency, as Google grew from hundreds to tens of thousands of people. With snippets, every employee had access to important knowledge regarding what was happening in the company — a stark contrast from the old days when managers hoarded information and kept it from their reports.

As Googlers eventually spread their wings and left the company for other tech pastures, they brought snippets with them, which is how similar systems became critical management tools at companies like Foursquare.

Here’s why three of the fastest-rising tech companies today use snippets and how it fuels their success:

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Draft + iDoneThis: Celebrate your writing progress

We’ve joined forces with Draft to make it incredibly easy to track your writing progress and share it with your team. When you’ve written up an awesome piece in Draft, record your accomplishment as a done in iDoneThis with a single click inside of Draft.

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Why?

We do a lot of writing here at iDoneThis for our content marketing efforts, so we’re always in search of better writing tools.

We used to use Google Docs for collaborating on writing pieces, but it’s not great at dealing with versions and merging individual edits. I used to use WriteRoom for distraction-free writing, but it’s designed for single-player writing, not for collaboration.

We found the solution in Draft, distraction-free version control for writing.

We use it every day at iDoneThis, and we found that we were always sharing our drafts in our company iDoneThis. We found that it was an awesome way to keep the whole team in the loop on the marketing and messaging efforts that were happening, especially for team members not part of the direct draft-edit workflow.  Also, it was a great way for the content marketing folks to show, not just tell, what they were getting done.

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8 Awesome Tech & Startup Newsletters You Should be Reading

While we’re launching our own exciting newsletter here at iDoneThis, we wanted to highlight some of our favorites from the tech and startup world.*

The common thread running among these eight newsletters is a sense of community and care, that these curators and creators want to share content that bestows value and connection. Subscribe to these newsletters not only to stay up-to-date but to help yourself, your teams, and your communities grow.

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The Only Thing that Matters

The journey of the entrepreneur is to figure out what matters. We know that starting a company requires extreme focus and prioritization.

But figuring that out is no easy matter because of the jumble of possibilities and complexities of running a business, on top of the cottage industry of abundant, contradictory, and just plain bad business advice.

These 6 pieces are the thoughtful reflection of industry leaders on what matters, above all else, in building a successful company from scratch.

The only thing that matters – Marc Andreessen

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The Most Innovative Employees at Google Aren’t Stanford/MIT grads with Perfect SATs

Google has long had a reputation for being a place that’s near impossible to get a job if you aren’t a Stanford or MIT grad. They not only asked you for your college GPA, they even asked you what you made on your SAT as a pimple-faced high schooler.

Recently, that’s all changed.

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Google’s known for being one of the most data-driven companies in the world and in the area of HR, they’re no different. They even have a department of “people analytics” whose job it is “to apply the same rigor to the people side as to the engineering side.” Google takes this extremely seriously: “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics,” according to Kathryn Dekas, a manager in Google’s “people analytics” team.

Their use of data is so powerful that it was able to refute the bias of the company’s founders towards those with an elite educational background that mirrored theirs — that is, top university grads with high GPAs — and it actually resulted in changed organizational behavior.

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An Ode to Distributed Teams

There’s not much mystery behind how a distributed team works. We show up, in our respective locations, talk to each other, and make stuff happen. The alchemy of coming together to make it work is the same that any team experiences when they build something together. There are a lot of ingredients that go into that magic, and these days, people’s physical proximity to each other is not necessarily one of them.

Like many of the teams we serve, our own iDoneThis team is dispersed. While we experience both the challenges and benefits of the form, what stands out is how naturally that form compels teams to consider and resolve the process of daily collaboration. When we get down to it and count the ways we love distributed teams, we see the alignment of four elements — company culture, communication, productivity, and the right people — that help make the magic happen.

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 half of the magic-making iDoneThis team

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Toot Your Own Horn or Get Left Behind

Women face tough challenges in accessing leadership opportunities. Just look at the numbers. While women make up 51.4% of middle managers, they account for a mere 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

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During law school, I participated in a clinical program where students work in the field while receiving practical training and guidance. While discussing a self-evaluation written after a client interview exercise, I noted that I’d been pretty hard on myself, commenting lightly, “Well, who thinks they do everything great?”

“Plenty of people do,” my supervising professor replied. “And they’ll say so, even when they’re not.”

While the extremes of egotism can be awfully distasteful, there is something to tooting your own horn. Among the complex reasons for the promotion paradox that women face, including harmful gender stereotypes and perceptions, is a lack of confidence in communicating achievements, in saying so even when they actually are awesome at what they do.

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5 Ways to Transmit Awesome Customer Service From the Inside Out

No customer service is an island. You just can’t deliver great customer care alone.

These days, customers are tech-savvy, creative, and communicative. Some customers may want to build extensions and plugins to your service. In fact, we owe many of our iDoneThis “goodies” to ingenious users who built them to better suit their workflow. Others request features or find ways to adapt your tool to their company culture that you never initially considered. Still other customers ask highly technical questions. They all use multiple channels to communicate a volley of varied issues.

The worst customer experience is to wait forever for an answer, only to receive a meaningless response. That’s bound to happen when you isolate your customer service team. Ill-equipped to substantively deal with issues, they leave customers hanging while running around asking developers for assistance.

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The best customer experience is prompt, personal resolution of a problem, and this starts with a foundation of strong internal team connections and communication. The better your team is at communicating and supporting each other, the better the customer service results. Customer requests will have a faster turnaround, your responses will be more substantive and helpful, and your customers will simply be happier.

Here’s some key ways and tools to connect your team internally for excellent customer service:

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Why Logic is an Unproductive Way to Address Illogical Behavior

As Chief Happiness Officer, Ginni ensures that iDoneThis is helping teams and companies stay connected, enhance productivity, and improve their inner work life. Every so often, a team leader will reach out to ask why some team members just aren’t getting on board. It hasn’t been a straightforward question to resolve, so Ginni reached out to friend, time coach and productivity expert Elizabeth Grace Saunders, for some help. (This is the 1st of a 3-part “Manager’s Series”.) 

Does this sound familiar?: You’ve been trying to implement a change on your team that will lead to increased productivity. Although you’ve explained why the new behavior is important and saves time, certain people won’t budge. And no amount of explaining—or even coercing—seems to bridge the disconnect between what people should do and what they actually do.

The answer to the puzzle of why people don’t do what is logical and beneficial for the individual and the team, lies deeper than you might think. In such cases, you most likely have a logic-resistant emotional issue to address.

As a time coach and trainer, and author of The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment, I’m acutely aware that addressing underlying emotional issues plays a foundational role in shifting people’s habits. That’s why in Chapter 2 of my book, I go through six crippling emotions—and how to overcome them. To get you started empowering your team in 2013, I’ll cover one of them here.

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