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How to Tech Out Your Home With DIY Security

How to Tech Out Your Home With DIY Security

One of the biggest reasons why homeowners choose not to install a home security system is cost. With monthly service fees, installation prices, and equipment rental costs, it’s not necessarily difficult to understand why some choose to go without home protection from a major security provider.

Although a professional security system might be out of reach for you because of the costs involved, the importance of protecting your home certainly makes it worth your while to look into the more cost effective option of DIY home security.

If the task of building your own home security system sounds daunting, don’t let that discourage you. Building and monitoring a DIY security system is actually fairly simple. Here are five ways you can use the most up-to-date tech in DIY home security to successfully monitor your home on your own and avoid the monthly bills involved with subscribing to a home security service.

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1. Check out DIY security kits

Arguably one of the most time consuming tasks involved in the process of building your own DIY security system is finding all of the necessary cameras, sensors, and cables to support your monitoring system. Fortunately, some security pros have realized that this is a pain point for home owners looking to take the DIY approach to home security, and have created kits that come complete with all of the monitoring necessities.

If you’re not quite sure where to start looking for the right kit to meet your needs, this guide could be helpful. It provides a list of some of the most popular and effective DIY home security kits and explains what home security goals they are intended to meet.

2. Look into doorbell security

If you’re not quite ready for a full camera system, but would like to know who’s approaching your home while you’re gone, a doorbell security system could be ideal. Doorbell security cams are relatively simple to install and should work with most homes that have an existing doorbell in place.

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Once you’ve installed a doorbell security system, you can use it to answer the door even when you’re not home using the built in camera and two-way voice features.

A popular choice for doorbell security cams is the Ring doorbell. If a security doorbell sounds like it might fit your needs, I recommend checking out this particular brand. You can find a video review here that explains how the device is installed and how it works.

3. Consider motion lighting

Sometimes, a sudden light turning on can be enough to deter potential intruders from your home. This is why some homeowners choose to install motion lighting around their homes for security purposes. You could start out slow with a light by your garage or your front door, then add a few lights to your backyard or along your driveway if you find that having motion lights gives you increased peace of mind.

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Home Depot offers up an excellent buyer’s guide to outdoor lighting if you’d like to familiarize yourself with the components you might need before you hit the store.

4. Take advantage of remote monitoring

Most DIY security camera systems provide user access through apps and online portals. Take advantage of the monitoring options your DIY security device has to offer. Call the company and discuss your options for remote monitoring on the go. If you’re confused by a certain feature or are having issues connecting the device to your phone, don’t hesitate to call in or engage with a customer service rep on social to get the problem solved.

The only way you’ll get the full benefit of your DIY security system is if you make sure to keep up on monitoring your home using the apps and tools available while you’re away.

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5. Use automated light timers

If you’re planning on heading out of town for a vacation or even if you simply work late nights, setting up an automated timed lighting system could be beneficial. This system would turn lights on and off at set points throughout the day and night to help trick potential intruders into thinking someone is home without racking up your electricity bill by leaving the lights on all day while you’re gone.

You can check out a guide to automated light timers here.

Hopefully these tips will help you set up an affordable and effective home security system on your own! As your needs and interests change in home security, it’s likely that you’ll need to change your approach, but taking the DIY route is perfect for those of you who need only basic security for your homes at the moment.

If you have any questions or perhaps a tip you’d like to share with other readers, we’re all ears! Please comment below.

Featured photo credit: iStock via istockphoto.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

1. ScheduleOnce

    ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

    ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

    ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

    Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

    Available on Web

    2. Calendly

      Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

      You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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      Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

      3. Assistant.to

        For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

        From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

        While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

        Available on Web

        4. Acuityscheduling

          Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

          It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

          Available on Web | iOS | Android

          5. Pick

            Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

            At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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            Available on Web

            6. X.ai

              For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

              This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

              Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

              Available on Web

              7. YouCanBook.me

                is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                Available on Web

                8. Doodle

                  Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                  It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                  You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                  While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  9. WhenAvailable

                    WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                    Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                    Available on Web

                    10. Rally

                      Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                      Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                      Available on Web

                      11. NeedtoMeet

                        Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                        NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                        While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                        Available on Web

                        Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                        In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                        To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                        Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                        A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                        Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                        If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                        Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                        With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                        Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                        Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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