How To Deal With Difficult Co-Workers


Let’s face it, everyone knows that there’s always that one person in the office who’s a little bit crazy.  Maybe they aren’t medically crazy, maybe they are, but the one thing that they have in common is that these people are the difficult ones.  You know who I’m talking about, the one who sends out crazy emails to people who forget to wash their bowl for more than 20 minutes; they’re the ones that stomp around exacerbated by, well, no one really knows why.  This person is the one that you try to avoid the most and when you are forced to interact with them, you find yourself whispering quietly as you walk away, “Woosaaaaaaw.”


So, other than listening to your iPod at excessive levels or pretending to be on an important phone call, how do you deal with these people?  How do you really learn to manage these relationships so that every day isn’t a battle.  Let me tell you, it will always be a battle because you will constantly be coming into contact with difficult people, and they will continue to test you.  Now, everyone is different and some methods work better than others.  You just have to read their body language and really get to know how this person works.  This doesn’t require much more than simple observation.  See how they interact with other co-workers, listen to their phone conversations (to a certain extent, some things are really not meant to be over heard), and most importantly figure out what’s important to them and learn how to appeal to their bottom line.


I was given some advice a couple weeks ago about how to get what you want in life, in the work place, and with your boss.  Learn what your bottom line is, know what you want to get out of a situation, and be very clear about both these things.  Learn what this person’s bottom line is and appeal to it, show them how what you want will benefit them.  So, doesn’t sound too bad right?  Or, maybe you’re thinking that this advice is crazy and doesn’t make sense.  Try some of these other tips and see what works best for you in your specific situation.

images (7)

1. Get to know this difficult person through observation, learn what makes them crazy, this makes it easier to avoid being the one they lash out on.

2. Figure out what their bottom line is and learn how to appeal to it.  If you know this person has to go smoke a cigarette at exactly 3pm everyday, don’t schedule a meeting during that time.  Tip: This does not mean that you are giving them what they want, it means that you learn what their goals are and then you frame what you want in a way that benefits those goals.

3. Don’t talk badly about them behind their back.  I know, I know, this is obvious.  But, you would be surprised at how often it happens and we all know offices are worse than middle schools so, please, keep it to yourself.  Go home, vent, move on.

4. Learn patience.  This is extremely hard and can be very trying.  However, that being said, it is one of the most underused methods in dealing with difficult people (this is not a fact, but simply a matter of opinion).  Not only will patience allow you to work more effectively, but it will benefit you in many other areas in your life.  Think of it as an opportunity to practice a virtue that takes a lifetime to learn.

5. Be kind.  This might actually be harder than being patient with someone who you just want to scream at.  “Kill them with kindness” did not become a saying for nothing.  Don’t be overly fake, but be kind.  Kindness can go a long way and you never know who is watching what you’re doing in an office setting.  I don’t know if you believe in karma, but I do and if you try to make their life a living hell, it will come back to bite you in the butt.

Practice empathy_

Another thing to remember is that everyone has a past and you never know what is going on in a person’s life.  I have dealt with many difficult people and have found it very hard to find compassion for them.  However, if you are able to do this it will help you release your anger and resentment from them, thus allowing you to make emotional room for other feelings (like happiness, for example).


What have you found to work when dealing with difficult people?  What are some creative ways to learn how to work harmoniously together?


Learning To Live On Less Than $800/Month

AmeriCorps NCCC banner - Leave Your Mark-M

Nonprofits are generally pretty tight for money and hiring staff can be anywhere from fairly easy to literally impossible.  This is one of the reasons that BiGAUSTIN hires AmeriCorps VISTA members to do a variety of the projects that need to be done.  AmeriCorps is essentially the domestic PeaceCorps, it allows volunteers to serve right here at home instead of sending them over seas.  While AmeriCorps is very similar to the PeaceCorps, there are a few differences.  AmeriCorps has three different programs; NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and the Senior Corps.  Here at BiGAUSTIN we have four VISTA’s that are working on everything from creating a donor database to social media to fundraising.


One of the downsides to AmeriCorps is that you’re a paid volunteer, so you receive a small stipend that is equivalent to the poverty level of the region in which you serve.  Here in Austin, TX, that amounts to exactly $796.84 per month.  You might be asking, how on earth does someone live on that little of an income? Well, that’s what Cally, our Marketing Coordinator, is about to tell you.


It wasn’t easy for me to wrap my mind around making less than minimum wage for a year, but not having to pay back my student loans and the idea of getting almost $200/month in food stamps made the idea a little less daunting.  Aside from these perks, I really had to assess my situation and what I wanted in life.  I had just graduated college and was feeling optimistic about where I was heading, I knew I wanted to get into social media marketing and work at a cool, hip start-up company that offered free snacks and ping pong.  After a couple of months of searching for a job, I realized that my dreams were a bit lofty so I settled for a glorified call center position that had pretty good benefits, monthly 15-minute massages and 18 days paid vacation.


The problem was, I get bored extremely easily.  I couldn’t handle the data entry that was about 90% of my job alongside answering phone calls regarding gap insurance (what IS gap insurance anyway?!).  That’s when I decided that either I needed to go back to school or do something drastic to get the real life skills I needed for the job I wanted.  AmeriCorps was something I had done after graduating from high school so I thought, why can’t I do that again? Needless to say, I applied, got hired, and here I am today handling the social media and marketing for BiGAUSTIN.


Making just under $800 per month sounded a lot easier than it has turned out to be.  No more happy hour.  No more going out to eat.  No more lunches.  No more Starbucks, seriously, who can live without Starbucks?!  Alas, that also meant no more shopping and I could continue, but I will not bore you with everything I’ve had to cut out.  I really needed to take a look at my expenses and figure out where all my money was going, after two months I hadn’t been able to save any money and was spending pretty much 110% of my income.  So I sat down, downloaded an awesome budget template from Microsoft and got down to the nitty gritty.  When I say nitty gritty, I mean down to the penny.  Starbucks doesn’t cost just $3, it costs $3.52 or $4.78, those extra cents add up faster than you can blink an eye.

images (4)

I like to think of myself as lucky, right now I do not have to pay rent because I live in a house that is already paid for.  My boyfriend and I simply need to cover utilities and maintenance costs, which are also more than I imagined on a 30 year old house.  Not only is this house old, but the front door won’t open anymore because the foundation has shifted and now the opening for the door is too small; good thing we have a side door that is easier to use and has not shifted…yet.  Needless to say, the foundation is not getting fixed, but as you homeowners know there are plenty of other things to throw your money at.

download (4)

Maybe it’s not quite this bad…

Back to my monthly budget, as I started hashing out penny for penny where I’ve been spending my money I realized that I’m spending around $300 on miscellaneous items!  You might be thinking, holy cow that’s a lot!  Or, perhaps you’re a spender too and think that’s pretty reasonable.  Whichever side of the fence you are on, it doesn’t work when that $300 is an entire paycheck.  So, here’s how I’m really doing it.  Little by little I’ve started to cut things out.  Don’t do it all at one time or you will go into “not spending shock” and get burnt out very fast.  Skip Starbucks one morning, make your own coffee.  Don’t stop at Target on the way home, everyone knows that you don’t leave Target without spending at least $50.  Lastly, don’t do happy hour and don’t go out to eat.


You might be asking yourself, is AmeriCorps really worth living in poverty for a year, possibly longer?  I can’t answer that for you because everyone is different.  However, in my opinion I believe that AmeriCorps is totally worth it.  Not only have I met some amazing people, but I got a free trip to Colorado for training!  But seriously, the skills that I have learned and the projects that I have worked on are things that I never would have been able to do in a “real, paid” position (mostly because I couldn’t even get hired).  Where else can you be given the freedom to learn as you go?  Without experience, no company or organization is going to hire you to perform a job that you can’t prove your success at.


For me, being a recent college grad with experience almost exclusively in retail, it has been a blessing.  It’s almost like a second opportunity to learn valuable, marketable skills while connecting with the community.  Not only am I networking with professionals in the area, but I’m getting real, quantifiable experience that will (hopefully) help me get a job after my year of service has ended.  Even though this year will be financially stressful, I am confident that it will make me more conscious of my money and help me find some direction in my life.  While I’m trying to figure out my future, I’m working at a nonprofit that helps other people make their dreams a reality through business education, flexible lending, and one-on-one business consulting.  It’s like a double wammy, by helping others I’m helping myself.  I also decided to look at it like this, I am not a paid employee and as such I get to look at this as an experience instead of a job.  By changing my perspective I can more easily drive past H&M or Nordstrom’s or Jimmy John’s; notice I said more easily because it is still not easy.


So, if you are still wondering how the heck I can live on less than $800 per month, just remember the old cliche “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  And stronger I will be.

Tough situations build strong people


The Challenges Of Marketing For A Nonprofit With No Budget


Everyone knows that nonprofits generally don’t have any money.  The image of people working at folding tables with old computers and paper everywhere comes to mind when I think of what the office of a nonprofit looks like.  This is the environment of a place where people value the work they do more than the money they are putting in their pockets.  Being able to see the impact that they are making on the community is why so many people choose the life of meager pay and long hours at a nonprofit.

One of the day to day struggles is that there is not much money for stuff, which is typically taken for granted in the corporate world.  This goes from providing your own coffee to having no marketing budget.  As the new Marketing Assistant, one of my challenges has been having no budget to work with.  Any of you who are familiar with marketing and social media know that this is a difficult task.  However, I believe that we really have made progress in our marketing strategy and social media despite the lack of budget and no marketing plan in place.

images (3)


We went from only having 1,370 Twitter followers to having 1,615 in just six short weeks.  Perhaps to some of you that doesn’t sound like a lot, there are people who go viral and gain thousands and thousands of followers in one day.  Well, let me tell you, that is not us.  We haven’t gone viral nor do I think that we will any time soon.  But, we do try to establish real relationships with people by posting relevant content and engaging with our followers.  Does that mean we get hundreds of favorites or retweets everyday?  Nope. But, those numbers have been increasing as we engage more with our followers and reach out to others. I expect that we will continue to grow and gain the trust of our followers and hopefully some of those followers will then become clients.



Now, you might be thinking, but what about Facebook?  Facebook is a another ballgame all by itself.  This is probably the area that we struggle in most due to not being able to “pay to play.”  It has been significantly more difficult to engage with others and to get others to engage with us.  Not only have we seen less growth, but with Facebook changing their algorithms our posts are being seen by less and less people.  With the current landscape of Facebook it is almost impossible to gain more Likes and engage people in your content, mostly because the majority of the people who currently Like you don’t even see your posts.  Many companies are frustrated with the way Facebook has changed and nonprofits nationwide are left scrambling to come up with more money for their marketing budget.



So, how do we overcome these obstacles?  The obvious answer is to get a budget approved specifically for Facebook and target your ads accordingly to get maximum exposure to the right audiences.  But, what if you can’t get that budget approved and you are left posting into never never land?  Unfortunately, there is not a good answer to this.  There are some things that you can do, one of those is making sure that everyone in your office is sharing your content and promoting your page.  This way more people are seeing the nonprofit’s content and people are more likely to Like something that a friend has already Liked.  One downside to this method is that the majority of people do not want to use their personal Facebook page to constantly promote the nonprofit.  This just means that you need to be more conscious of the things you are sharing and how often you share.


These are only a few of the challenges of marketing for a nonprofit with no budget, naturally there are many more challenges than this.  The main thing to remember when marketing for a nonprofit is that there are going to be many challenges and you have to look at them simply as opportunities to learn creative ways to solve problems.  This will make you a better marketer and help you keep a positive attitude when things aren’t going your way (like not getting a budget approved or no one liking your awesomely crafted post).  Don’t expect to go viral like the Ice Bucket Challenge or the Budweiser “Puppy Love” ad from the Super Bowl (they got over 1.9 million shares).  DO try to come up with ways to get noticed in your community.  Look at how these particular campaigns were successful and look at how you can take your campaign and introduce some of those techniques.

What are some of your marketing challenges?  Do you work for a large company or a small organization?  Comment and tell me about how you have overcome some of these obstacles!

How We Can Combat Domestic Violence And Human Trafficking


Domestic violence is something that should be taken seriously and here at BiGAUSTIN we are happy to see the actions that the NFL has taken regarding Ray Rice and the video that was recently leaked by TMZ.  According to the Common Wealth Fund, “1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.” This is an unacceptable rate of abuse in America that has continued and has been swept under the rug by many common myths revolving around domestic violence.

download (1)

In past years the NFL has tried their best to stay out of these situations and hasn’t given severe punishments for those who have been accused and/or convicted of domestic violence.  Here at BiGAUSTIN, we are proud to see that the NFL has taken a zero tolerance policy and really shown America (and the world) that they will not tolerate those who are being abusive and hurting other human beings.  As a nation we cannot sit back and do nothing about this.  As a nation we need the large organizations and companies to stand behind the people and support those who have been silenced.

download (2)

As an organization BiGAUSTIN stands behind the victims of domestic violence and is proud to say that we have always been involved with providing resources to these victims.

cycle of abuse

One of our current initiatives is our campaign called WOW1000 (Women of Wealth 1000) which is basically a fund set up specifically for women who are victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.  You might be thinking, what does human trafficking and domestic violence have in common?  According to the American Bar Association, “Human-trafficking experts often talk about push and pull forces: conditions that propel or lure vulnerable people into situations of prostitution or forced labor. Domestic violence often serves as a push or pull force. People at risk, usually women and girls, often fall under the control of traffickers while attempting to escape intimate-partner abuse.”  The relationship between human trafficking and domestic violence is arresting and disturbing.  We must all work together to break the cycle of domestic violence so that we can further combat human trafficking, especially for young women.

Human Trafficking

Girls Trafficked Across Texas In One Month

The funds raised for our WOW1000 campaign go directly to women who have been affected by these tragic situations.  This campaign is not just to support these women emotionally, but the fund will provide them with the skills they need to be successful in the work place.  It will provide training, classes, and one-on-one business consulting for women who are interested in starting their own business.  It will also teach them the financial skills they need to run a business and be self-sufficient so that they can break the cycle of domestic violence and human trafficking.  WOW1000 works to connect women from all walks of life through a sustainable platform of lending, mentorship, and networking.  With these skills they will be able to move beyond the hurt and pain and lift themselves up to being successful, independent women.

No one should have to go through being a victim of domestic violence and our goal is to help women fight back (not literally) by learning the skills they need to be prosperous.  Not only will these women have the opportunity to better their lives, but they will have the opportunity to help other women through our mentoring program.  One-on-one they can help other women by teaching them what worked and what didn’t during the recovery process.  These women mentors can serve as an important support factor for other women who are just coming out of domestic violence and/or human trafficking situations.  BiGAUSTIN wants women to know that they are not alone and there is help.

Women Entrepreneurship

Invest In Women’s Entrepreneurship

By supporting BiGAUSTIN YOU are empowering women.

The Best Business Class Tailored Just for You!


BiGAUSTIN has a full schedule ahead of us with tons of classes and information for everyone!  Are you just starting your business?  Or, are you moving full steam ahead but have specific issues you need to discuss with a professional?  BiGAUSTIN is your one stop shop for everything you need business related.  We have classes from Business Law Basics to a 4-part MBA Home-Based Business series that has helpful information for everyone.  

Looking to start a franchise?  Not a problem!  BiGAUSTIN even has a class for learning how to start a franchise the right way! This class is taught by a representative from the Small Business Administration, this way we can bring you only the facts without trying to sell anything.  

Check out our list of classes for further details regarding topics, price, and availability.  There is limited space in each class so make sure to sign up today!

Business Law Basics: September 5th, 11:30am-1:30pm 

MBA of Home Based-Business 4-part series: September 8-September 29th, 6:30-8:30pm

Maximize the Power of Quickbooks for Small Businesses: September 23rd & 24th, 6:30pm-9pm

Intro to Franchise: September 25th, 4:30pm-6:30pm

Start Smart: October 6th-November 20th, 6:30pm-9pm (7 week course, twice a week)

Commercial Leasing: October 21st, 11:30am-1:30pm

SBA Small Business Certification Program: November 4th, 3:30-5:15pm

Borrowing Basics: November 18th, 11:30am-1:30pm

All classes are held @BiGAUSTIN Business and Technology Center

5407 N IH 35, Suite 200

Austin, TX 78723

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 2

Being an organization that currently has AmeriCorps members working for us, we cannot express how much we value their help. As a non-profit it is extremely hard in today’s world to obtain sufficient funding in order to pay employees reasonable wages and sustain the work we do in the community. It is shocking that reducing the AmeriCorps program would even be considered an option. For some organizations it is the only way that they can survive. This is not including the 10,000 public schools where AmeriCorps members teach, tutor, and provide after-school help in more than one-third of the nations persistently low-achieving schools. This year alone only 80,000 AmeriCorps positions were filled when they were trying to fill over 200,000. With decreasing funding it is becoming more urgent that we work to sustain this program.

Have you participated in an AmeriCorps program? If so, what did you do and where were you?


View original post 13 more words