All posts by Amy Jones

Born Leaders?

Born Leaders?

Ever since I was a child I have been known as a leader. I always had a little tribe following me around trying to do what I did and talk like I talked. This leadership continued through all of my school years as I was Captain of my sports teams and President of the Student Body This went on as I took over a University Bible Study and then ran several ministries. As a result of these things, I have always been known as a “born leader”. No one ever told me how to lead but I was always the leader who helped others grow in their lives. I have always provided direction for people. So I guess there is a case to be made for me being a “born leader” but I think there must be a lot of leadership development that must occur so that I can be the best leader possible. I may have been born a leader, but I think I need to improve. Born leaders need to be made leaders too.

I currently work for a leadership coach who focuses on leadership development. This guy’s name is Dr. Andy Neillie and he is known for helping leaders become better leaders. He has taught at international and national conferences and has trained several Fortune 500 companies who want to turn their managers into better leaders. He believes no matter how great your leadership skills are, you can always sharpen them. I love to learn from him through direct contact and by way of his writings. He is a humble person who is always searching for new ways that he can grow as a leader too. He reads leadership books and sits in on leadership seminars so that he can glean as much new information as possible. Anyway, one of the main things I have gotten from him is that good leaders know how to motivate and inspire their followers. Great leaders don’t just expect everyone around them to be “born leaders.” They search for ways to help people to become the best leaders they can be by using incentives, outside voices and regular continuing education.

Are you a “born leader”? Do you motivate your followers and managers to become the best leaders they can be? No matter what your leadership level is at this point, I recommend finding a leadership mentor as I have. Or you can also make use of Dr. Andy Neillie’s writings and speeches – some of which can be found at his website (http://neillieleadershipgroup.com) so you can grow as a leader. Regardless of who you choose, just make sure you choose someone. There’s always room to become better.

Winter Fires

Winter Fires

In Dallas, it’s still cool outside which means that fireplaces are still being used. And who doesn’t love a crackling fireplace giving off that special smell and allowing you to sit in front of it to get some normal heat. I remember watching my dad building fires every winter and I loved sitting beside it and watching it do its thing. It brings back great memories of time with him before he died. The problem with building fires in your home is that sometimes we forget to tend to them properly. It’s easy to enjoy, but sometimes we don’t put them out all of the way. This can lead to popping and can lead to an unexpected fire in the home – the sort that can cause major fire damage and smoke damage to your property. This sort of disaster can cause all sorts of problems, not the least of which is getting your insurance claim settled by a competent insurance claims adjuster. The process of getting a fair settlement from an insurance company can be quite tough and I know I have needed help from outside representation to get everything settled. That’s where the help of public adjusters comes into play – they work with you to get a great settlement for your fire damage in Dallas and they hold the insurance companies accountable to being fair. And by fair, I mean getting back the amount of money you need to buy new things to replace the old.

We all have possessions that cannot be replaced by money – pictures and memorable objects, which cannot be recovered with mere money. This is too bad for sure. But when you are at least able to get back those things that can be replaced, it’s a blessing and even an expectation. I know a couple who had to file fire damage claims in Plano and it was an insurance mess from the beginning. But by using the expertise of a public adjusting firm in Dallas (Abba Claims), they ended up redoing their entire house and now it actually looks 100% better than it did before the fire. They were completely satisfied with the way this firm went to bat for them as advocates between them and the insurance company.

So, I guess in summary, I am saying to do all you can to avoid fires in the home. Who needs that sort of mess when trying to live a normal life? But, I’m also saying that if you can’t avoid an accidental fire, make use of a public adjuster firm that will help you navigate the process of insurance claims. They understand the process very well and will get you back on your feet.

So readers, have you ever had to fight with an insurance company to get what you think is a fair settlement? What happened? Were you satisfied with how you were treated? Ever thought of using a public adjustment firm? Feel free to comment on these things.

Houston and Everywhere Else

Houston and Everywhere Else

I know a lot of people who have taken advantage of the services offered by the Houston Public Adjuster staff at Abba Claims (www.abbaclaims.com) to help them get back what they lost. These Texas Adjusters have come alongside these Houston victims who experienced massive flood damage and given them the help they needed in settling cases with their insurance companies. This process is not always the easiest to navigate and so Abba Claims partners with victims to aid them in getting their possession and their houses back. I applaud them and other companies like them. There have been so many amazing volunteers who have come to Houston to take care of victims’ basic needs, but I am blown away by the services offered that actually help people get their homes back in working order. If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey, don’t try to deal with your insurance yourself. Use Abba Claims or someone else who is a professional in the area of Insurance Claims Consulting. They can get you back up onto your feet.

Now I do want to say that while places like Abba Claims are focused on the recovery efforts in Houston, they also help with most other communities in America. And it’s not just for flood damage – they handle fire damage, mold damage and theft and vandalism just to name a few things. So, even if you don’t live in one of the many heavily affected areas of the U.S., make sure you employ the services of an Insurance Adjuster. They can do more than handle natural disasters – they can handle your individual problems that pop up here and there. You don’t have to be alone in your journey back from personal disasters.

Have you ever used a Public Adjuster before? If so, what were your experiences like? Did they treat you as professionally and passionately as Abba Claims can? Have you ever had an insurance company want to give you less than you deserve and even need to get your house back intact? Let me know in your comments. Thanks in advance.

Getting ready for Christmas in August?

Getting ready for Christmas in August?

I cannot believe that I am writing about the Christmas season in August when the sun is still shining (minus the solar eclipse yesterday), but it seems like the holiday season gets here earlier and earlier every year. And I decided that I hate waiting until the last minute to buy gifts, decorate, etc. So, here we are – in the summer – getting ready.

One part of this whole process is decorating. What is too early to put the tree up? And when do you reach out to a company to come and decorate your yard? When should I get someone to put up my Christmas lights? One thing I have learned is about this last issue – holiday lighting. I used to think I could do it well by myself (like Clarke Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), but I have determined that I won’t risk my neck one more year. I’m not getting up on my roof ever again if I don’t have to. I’m 44 years old and I don’t think my balance is good enough to stay up there. Why break my neck when I can let other professionals take their own chances?

Anyway, I have learned that if you want to get a quality job done with Christmas lighting, you need to reserve your place early – like now. And I think I found the best company for this tedious job. I found a lawn company and holiday lighting company who specializes in making your lights just perfect. They are called Lubbock Roots (www.lubbockroots.com) and they have a stellar reputation for turning those lights on bright. But, they are not a fly-by-night company, which will just take your order in December. It turns out that they take reservations as early as now and when they run out of spots, they are done. So, I and several other people have already got our spaces reserved and I have to say that this company is as professional as I have encountered. They asked me a lot of questions about what my desires are and I was impressed that they can give me exactly what I am looking for.

So, I still need to do my gift buying and my tree decorating, but at least I have found my holiday lighting company – not bad for summer right?

I hope this helps all of you out there who are searching for a good company to do your Christmas lighting. If you have any other Christmas prep ideas for me, please feel free to comment. Thanks in advance.

What to do after fire damage…?

What to do after fire damage…?

When you have fire damage that has destroyed parts of your home/apartment and its possessions, there are some important steps that you need to focus your mind on – I know it will be hard to get out of the paralysis that has happened to you, but it is vital that you make some moves so you can get your life back on track.

  1. Ask for a current copy of your insurance policy
  2. Check out your current insurance policy to see what fire damage claims can be made
  3. Do a detailed damage report citing what has been lost to the fire damage – include the property and the possessions that have been affected and make sure to determine how much money you would need to restore and replace what you have lost
  4. Call your insurance company and explain to them what has happened – Get them to come out and to do their appraisal of damage to property and possessions
  5. If their appraisal seems to be too low, immediately call a company that employs insurance claims consultants and ask them to become your mediator in the process of getting your insurance company to pony up the right amount of money. I recommend using Abba Claims to be your public adjuster representative – see abbaclaims.com because they are both professional and effective
  6. Give the folks at Abba Claims (or whichever claims company you choose) your detailed damage report and the number of your contact at your insurance company so that they can take over for you
  7. Prepare for a new appraisal meeting to be held between your insurance company and your Public Adjuster
  8. Receive the money from your insurance company you deserve
  9. Pay for what needs to be fixed and what needs to be replaced
  10. Move on with your life and stay safe!

Those are the steps I would recommend to anyone who has had fire damage – Hope that is helpful.

Facebook and Outsourcing Social Media

Facebook and Outsourcing Social Media – Week Thirty-Eight

Josh said that he needed prayer for one of his landscaping clients because they were always complaining. No matter what he and his crew did to remedy the problems (and they all had gone above and beyond what was expected) this client was angry about what he saw was “wrong work.” Josh said that this client had this reputation, but that he took them on anyway – big mistake. So, Josh was asking specifically that he would be able to fire this client without there being a huge fight. We prayed for this and also for Liz as her Lubbock catering group was being given a lot more responsibility. Basically, they were getting so many more clients that it was becoming stressful. She wanted us to join her in prayer so that she could stay grateful as she went about her business. I was having to hire new employees and so I needed wisdom as to who to bring on. Seemed like all of us had legitimate problems to bring to God. After we prayed and before we started the larger gathering, I went over to greet the Lubbock Pre-K administrator. I told her how much I appreciated her inclusion in our group last week and simply encouraged her generally. She was happy that I came over and said hey. By the way, there are seven groups of three who show up to pray now. We should have a speaker about how these prayer times were helping to grow our businesses, etc. Maybe it will be me, but I hope it is the Pre-K teacher.

At the larger gathering we had a female speaker named Joanne who came from a marketing company. Joanne talked to us about the importance of using social media to get more exposure for our businesses. She didn’t just say that and sit down. She actually got us to pull out our laptops so she could give us specific tools for our Facebook accounts. She mentioned using Facebook ads, but what I took away from her talk was when she said that we shouldn’t just outsource our social media accounts to someone who was not part of our companies. She said that it was easy to ruin your social reputation by having other people have a crack at what we should be doing for ourselves. I took this piece of advice and applied it to my blog as well. I had hired a college student to do my blogs and my social media up to this point and I decided that even if I didn’t do the work itself, I needed to pay closer attention to the sort of posts that were going out to my followers. Why risk all of our hard work and have it tarnished by a busy college student?   I thought this was the best idea that came from the talk.

(An insurance claims adjuster asked several questions because he had not been using social media at all. Joanne answered all of his questions and these answers really made the talk complete.)

So readers, what do you think about this idea of controlling your own social media and blogs? If you agree with Joanne, how do you find the time to do this plus do all of your work? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance…

Until next time…

Building on a Solid Foundation

Building on a Solid Foundation – Week Thirty-Seven

Prayer today included the Lubbock Pre-K administrator for the Christian Private School because the other two people in her group were not present. We all re-introduced ourselves and shared about how each of our businesses had grown from being in this weekly meeting. Anne, the Private School teacher echoed our reports. She said that enrollment in her school had grown exponentially ever since she had joined this group and started putting the teachings into affect. We congratulated her and then went on to prayer. Josh asked for prayer for his Lubbock lawn care company and Liz her Lubbock catering business. We then bowed our heads and started to speak aloud our thanksgiving and our surrender. Anne spoke powerfully to God and showed us how a hardcore Christian prayed. Not that our unprofessional prayers were any less important, but I could sense a lot of wisdom coming from Anne. She was a welcome addition.

As for the larger business gathering, we had another architect speak to us about how to build a business from a solid foundation. He said that if the foundation was shaky then the entire building was going to be weak and even endangered. He said that we as leaders needed to rebuild from the bottom up if we wanted to have success. He asked us to give careful consideration to how we formed our business and asked us if we were willing to look at our foundations – how we began and how we have built from that point. It was a good talk and one that made me think. I didn’t know how my business was founded. I pretty much had just started it and hired good staff to help me achieve my vision for a successful heating and cooling business. I knew I needed to revisit my foundations and strengthen them – do some good “architectural” changes so that when storms hit us, it would not crumble. I’m not totally sure how to do this so I talked to this architect afterwards and he told me how to examine my foundations. I’m glad I asked. He clarified it and made me confident about my future efforts.

So readers, what do you think about resetting your business on solid foundations? What does that look like for you? Let me know with your comments. Thanks in advance.

It was a good week’s meeting. I felt challenged in a good way.

 

 

Choosing the Right Lawyer for your Business

Choosing the Right Lawyer for your Business – Week Twenty-Two

The Pre-K leader caught me before my group of three met for prayer and asked me how we did our prayer time from week to week. I explained that we mostly shared prayer needs for the Lubbock lawn care and Lubbock catering (and my business) leaders and then if something was outside of work that needed prayer we lifted that up as well. The Pre-K Lubbock leader said that they were doing the same things but they had also added a book to read at home – a book specifically dealing with prayer in the marketplace. She handed me a copy of it and asked if I would look over it during my week and ask my group if they wanted to add it as homework. I gladly took it from this spiritual person and said that I would be more than happy to introduce it to my group of three. Anyway, after talking to them, I joined my prayer group and showed them the book that was given to me. They seemed excited to add this new tool to our weekly prayers – we can all use extra knowledge about prayer. During our prayer time, we reported on the things we had been praying for and everything was positive. Liz did say that she was dealing with some minor sickness and explained how it was affecting her mood in family life and at work. Josh said that he was needing to shake off some procrastination he had picked up over the week. I asked them to pray for my general stuff – I couldn’t think of anything that needed specific prayer. I have been meditating on verses from the Bible every day and I think that is keeping me more intimate with God. I get a lot out of those alone times and I think I get most of my specific prayer needs met there. Maybe next week I will have more to share with them.

As for the overall business meeting, we had a speaker who was a lawyer that focused on immigration law. This guy was dressed to the nines and was impressive in his look and his speech. I thought he would be good at speaking about making a great first impression, because he sure made a good one on me. But instead of that, he spoke about how important it was to choose the right lawyer (not in his field) to represent our businesses – no conflict of interest. He said that even if we hadn’t had any customers take us to court or accuse us of wrongdoing in our work yet, there are always times that come our way where we will need to have proper contracts drawn up. He also said that just because we hadn’t been sued yet, we might get pulled into a lawsuit. He said that we should do really careful research about local lawyers who specialize in business law – who is the best to take care of our businesses under legal strains. He recommended that we find this lawyer before some sort of legal problem came up. He said that it always easier to find someone good when there is no pressing problem. Everyone in the audience agreed and some of the people said that they had lawyers on retainer already because they had already faced legal actions. It was a good talk and it showed me that I better take this seriously since me and my team are always entering other people’s houses and taking care of their heating and cooling needs. Who knows what might go wrong and who knows what customers might accuse us of – I don’t want to be reactionary about having a good lawyer. I will be proactive in my pursuit of a good business lawyer. It was a good week.

Summertime Child Care

Summertime Child Care

I have been in many conversations with parents about how much they love the warmth of summertime but hate the fact that they don’t have much for their children to do during these times. In the fall and spring, they are usually in some sort of school, which takes up most of the kids’ days and parents don’t have to think too hard about where to have their children at a given time. What are the best options for kids of all ages in the summer? Where are you going to put your kids so that they are learning and playing and having good summers while parents keep working – most families have both parents working and they cannot just stop what they are doing to hang out with their kids all day at home. (I know a family who is heavily involved in Lubbock catering gigs and wouldn’t be able to slow down just because their kids are out of school.)

I live in Lubbock and can only speak to my hometown, but I think that most of my suggestions can be found in most other cities. What can kids be a part of nowadays?

  1. Basic babysitting – There are a lot of teenagers who are wanting to make some money for the summer. Why not get some good references and find a solid person to take care of your kids.
  2. Vacation Bible Schools – There are so many Vacation Bible Schools, which operate on different weeks, that you can get your young kids (Lubbock Pre-K through 3rd grade) through most of the summer.
  3. Sports Camps – Even though these camps cost some money, it might be worth it to gauge your child’s sports interests and to get them into these places. It will keep them off of the constant indoor video games trail and into athletic pursuits.
  4. Chess Clubs – I could include reading groups (mini people book clubs) since my focus here is really educational resources. But one great resource that is catching fire is chess. If you can find a chess teaching group at the local college, I highly recommend putting your kids into one. It stretches their brain while showing them how to problem solve. The book clubs are good for them because they can talk with kids their own age about books they like – doesn’t feel like school because there is so much peer engagement.
  5. Robotics clubs – I know that in Lubbock there are clubs that teach kids how to create robots, which is super cool. Why not get your children into this fun and academic ride?

 

Okay – so those are my main suggestions – maybe you can combine some of these options to place your kids into valuable summertime activities. Good luck and feel free to send me your ideas. I’d love to expand the list.

Wedding Prepping in Lubbock

Wedding Prepping in Lubbock

There is so much prep that goes into getting a wedding ready. From invitations to cakes, brides and grooms have so much responsibility on their heads in one of the most stressful times of life. I recall my wedding prep and thankfully I have one of the best mother-in-laws on the planet who did most of the preparation for my wife and I. Without her, everything about our wedding would have been super disorganized. Instead, it went off with ease and we were able to enjoy the day from having our pictures made to having our honeymoon car ready and gassed up. At the same time, she picked our cakes (with my wife’s blessing) and chose our venue.

How about you married or engaged readers? How did your preparations go? Is it going great or will it go great? I’d love to hear your take on it all.

Anyway, my wedding in Lubbock got me to thinking about two main things that could have made my wedding even better and might make your wedding a wonderful day of joy and excitement. Check these out and comment at the end…

  1. Catering in Lubbock – Some people have a full on dinner or lunch planned for after they say “I do.” We didn’t. We just had cakes and finger foods to satiate our guests. But, I wish we would have chosen one of the best Lubbock catering restaurants in town to provide better foods – not necessarily more expensive foods, but tastier foods. If you are going to just provide snacks for your post-ceremony, I want to recommend using Chick-fil-A as your provider. They are known for their myriad food choices and can wow a crowd with their customer service. I’ve been to a wedding where they offered nuggets and strips from Chick-fil-A and there wasn’t anyone at their wedding who was disappointed. Pick the place you think is best, but I vote on Chick-fil-A.
  2. Outdoor wedding – If you are going to throw a wedding in an outdoor setting, especially if you are having it in your backyard, you really want to make sure you get some Lubbock landscaping done that matches the rest of your décor. I know of a great crew in this town who has handled the Lubbock lawn care for several outdoor weddings. They basically sit down with you and your prep team and show you some designs that they can do and then they handle it all. They think of everything – things you might not think of – and they beautify your setting with the chosen design. You can look them up at lubbockroots.com if you are interested.

Okay, that’s all I have when it comes to improving your special day. Let me know what you think – tell me what options you have either used or prepare to use and let me know why. I’m always open to hearing what others have to say about both the foods and the designs for Lubbock weddings.