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Wednesday Wisdom: The Waiting Game

January 13, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Hump Day, Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, and Small Business Owners

Sitting dutifully on a small chair in a bright elementary classroom, students wait until their turn to get up and proceed down the hall to gym class. Raising one’s hands to be chosen to answer a question in class was another waiting game through high school. Then came time to wait until a thousand names were read before yours to receive a college diploma – another example of patience needed in the waiting game of school.

Quietly waiting isn’t necessarily the first image conjured up when someone thinks of a woman entrepreneur. Images of packed schedules, lined-up client appointments, phones ringing off the walls (okay, maybe texts lighting up the phone), and working 24-7 are more like it. Even trying to get into a packed restaurant, standing-room-only conference, and a foursome tee-time requires hang time. Now during the pandemic waiting has become a way of life providing a snail-like pace filled with apprehension.

After last Wednesday’s attack on our nation’s Capitol our country was in an intense waiting status with nerves lingering until the 46th President and first female Vice President are sworn in safely. Sometimes weeks feel more like years, and years feel like weeks depending on your viewpoint. As I wait in quarantine with a husband who was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Saturday, my days have slowed down, time almost standing still, waiting to have the go-ahead to live life fully again. With no symptoms of my own, I remain diligent in my practices which means doing business and living in a space blocked off from my husband who is slowly improving.

If you are “waiting” for new clients to call you, the world to open up again to conduct business as usual, take my advice, use this continued down time to appreciate the normal and annual parts of your business like tax work, marketing reviews, quarterly business planning, or website assessment. Stick to the black and white tasks.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you there is a multitude of things you can do when faced with a quiet period. Don’t mix up those boisterous Hollywood images of corporate America energy with what’s true for solo entrepreneurs and small business life because it is different. We move at our own paces based on our industries, time of year, and even time of our lives or special circumstances.

Before you and I know it we will be back in the swing of things with more duties on our plates relishing the good ole’ quiet days when we were simply waiting.

Monday Motivation: Women Rise Up

January 11, 2021

Monday Motivation, Inspiration, Feminist Thoughts for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owenrs 

As the bus drove 120 women south to our nation’s capitol, the air inside our vehicles was filled with chatter, laughter, singing, and even a light show put on by the bus driver, also in our feminist mood. Announcements of women flying in from as far away as Alaska, announced over the speaker, set off cheers inside the charter bus I booked and filled with positive, smart, activist women from Central New York knowing more sisters were joining us to show the new administration and world, women can peacefully march to remind everyone we make up 52% of the population still lacking in 100% equality.

I said to my husband before I left, “I hope I don’t lose any of them during the Women’s March on Washington and we all return safely,” to which he replied, “They are adult women Tracy, they’ll be fine and you won’t lose anyone.” If I ever thought for a moment this hopeful crowd of females I took responsibility for was going to protest in violent ways, like last week’s Capitol insurrection, I would have never organized the effort. But I knew that they like I were there to just show up in numbers and be counted in solidarity on women’s issues.

As a leader of an all-female business organization, you know how to passionately lead others through words and actions. I never doubted every one of the 120 women coming with me, under my company’s name, were going to be anything but orderly, although they might be vocal carrying signs with their activist words for others to witness. Interestingly enough, someone saw me holding up my sign reading “Women TIES believes in the Buying and Selling Power of Women” with the Capitol behind me as she watched Gloria Allred’s movie, “Seeing Allred”. I was proud to see myself wearing pink with my pink glasses on top my head representing my company’s mission posivitely by carrying that sign.

As the angry crowd of Trump supporters breached the Capitol walls Wednesday, I watched in horror, like so many other law abiding citizens, because I was there in such a peaceful, beautiful activist way in 2017.  Only seeing “women” in situations as I watch life, I hardly noticed any women on the screens carrying confederate flags and climbing walls, only angry white men. I know there were some women there, just like we had some men at the Women’s March on DC, but the majority of the insurrectionists were men of all ages.  All I could do as I witnessed this unbelievable scene was to acknowledge publically what I was feeling on social media. My words read:

“I know with all my heart women need to be in more roles in every single aspect of leadership, politics, and life to show the right way to behave and act for our world, community and generations to come. No one will ever convince me otherwise.”

If you are reading this blog post, please be inspired today to look inward and contemplate what you can do personally to rise up into any social, community, political or business leadership roles to pour more female insights, attitudes, and intellect into today’s organizations, newsfeeds, and actions. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s book “Off the Sidelines” empowers me today to say the same to you about making our own communities and nation a better place because women rise and lead. We don’t have a choice. Choose to do something positive in your life’s role.

NOTE: If you are interested in running for a political role and don’t know how to get started, one of our members Sharon Nelson of has an online course starting soon that can help you get started. I Learn more at their website.

Wednesday Wisdom: Make Your Own Sunshine

January 6, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Faced with another dismal weather day, where the grey sky meets the dark brown landscape this time of year, there was a choice before me to either allow the sunless panoramic to set the tone for the day or make my own sunshine. Remembering how the good ole Mainers in Kennebunkport would walk along the crashing winter waves taking in fog and midst from the ocean, I bundled up and headed out for one of my 9-mile bike rides at lunchtime since the snow only left a wet surface. I knew I’d get a long brown stain up the back of my jacket, making me look ridiculous but who cares when you’re outside getting dirty. Isn’t that why someone created washing machines?

Reading our local newspaper, with sad weekly updates on the restaurants and establishments closed due to the pandemic, was another moment when I had a choice to either allow the bleak news to weigh me down or to create more PR sunshine for my members, who are all small woman-owned businesses who have taken a financial hit. Remembering how my grandparent’s generation survived the Great Depression by rationing, working, gardening, and cooking enough food to feed anyone who needed it, I buckled down at my desk and got working on creating more PR benefits for my members to use in 2021.

Listening to the daily radio reports of more Covid-19 deaths, England back in lock down and examples of exhausted medical workers, I choose to focus on how blessed my family and members have been escaping the disease and saw the illumination of sun rays around my family and friends protecting them from harm. My choice once again was to look for the positive in the situation, to do what I could do to control positive change in my own business community, and not let fear of catching the disease stop me from living and working. As my friend Kathrine Switzer said to me once, “Tracy, when you are fearless, you are free,” wise words from one of my favorite women as I committed to run the 2017 Boston Marathon with her and 100 other women. 

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to create your own sunshine in any situation you face today – whether it is fear for your health, anxiety about your business surviving, political worries, or personal concerns. I have learned the best action to take when you don’t feel great about your scenario is to do something, anything you can, to change it and make yourself feel better. It might be as easy as walking in the rain, turning off the television, praying more, reading inspiring stories of extraordinary people who suffered more than we are experiencing now, or re-working your business plans by doing an audit to set new goals to excite yourself again.

When I think of taking control of something out of my hands, it means finding some sunshine in my day, plans or life to give me exactly what I need. I hope you are inspired to do the same.

Look for 2020’s Silver Linings

December 31, 2020

New Years Eve, New Year Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Entrepreneurs

With my shiny black book with pink flowers adorning the cover, I embarked into 2020 with big hopes as a first-time published author. Brimming with excitement, my planner had penned in dates for book launch parties and celebrations along with speaking gigs to launch my paperback to wider audiences. Nothing was going to hold this new author back in the New Year, “watch out world,” I thought to myself as the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2019.

Luckily I slid in two television interviews, two book launch parties, a couple podcast interviews, and a radio gig, before plans halted in early March. The event industry was one of the hardest hit industries, and still is today; closing down all planned activities, even our first trip to Seattle where I had a potential speaking gig lined up to coincide with seeing my favorite band at the Gorge on Labor Day. Nope, “watch out world” was not about Tracy’s glimmering speeches but rather cautiously witnessing Covid-19 spread globally.

Staring at a blank event calendar for the first time in my 30-year event management and planning career, only personal goals, safety and health took priority over business for once in a long time. Always one to look for the silver lining in life, my large backyard became my sanctuary and playground, along with multiple visits from my New York City sons and their girlfriends who had to escape the bleakness of silent streets and stone buildings to breathe again. Fireflies, campfires, fireworks, hot summer nights swimming, and intimate conversations capped our time together. It was a brilliant silver lining.

While my company’s revenue took a couple massive hits, losing my longest financial partner and supporter, and members who couldn’t pay their dues, the only thing that helped my spirit rebound was watching small amounts of silver hair start blossoming on top my two-year totally bald head. Could my backyard sanctuary, abundance time with my loved ones, and a reduced work schedule be the contributing factors to my health renewing itself? Was the constant drive for event perfection, increasing revenue, topping previous sales goals, and traveling all over the state be partially the cause of my hair loss?

At Christmas I gave my mother a book about the benefits of spending time in nature, something she has done for 80 years as well as taught me. On my work lunch breaks, you can typically find me running, biking 9 miles, swimming, kayaking, and then returning to my office to work again. With Covid-19, the work portion was gone, only writing, keeping in touch with my clients, hosting some easy Zoom meetings from my pool house (such a tough venue to conduct business in), and hosting a few late summer small gatherings to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the US (a must!).

What I hope for you this December 31st, at the end of the most bizarre and tragic year for so many people, is to look for those silver linings within the pandemic that brought you closer to people you love most, changed your outlook on work vs. home life balance, perhaps even engaged you in more mentally and physically health activities that wouldn’t have happened if this horrible virus didn’t stop us all in our tracks. Nothing bad lasts forever so 2021 will be better than 2020, so take time now to look back fondly at the positives of the year because at one time we might just wish for the blessings 2020 gave us. Happy 2021!

Wednesday Wisdom: 2021 = Improvement

December 30, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Business Success for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners for 2021

Taking out my trusty printed, hand-held, calendar planner used this year, I look front to back at each month noticing some months filled with lots of dates with activities attached to them, and others more sterile especially beginning in early spring 2020. One date sticks out, March 17, 2020, the day my husband and I drove $500 worth of food to our sons in New York City to make sure they would be stocked when the European model of the pandemic came to America. They all thought I was overly cautious in my helicopter parenting of two grown employed sons – oh well, I was right – thus cementing my place in our family of paying attention to international news.

If there’s one word that comes to mind as a New Year begins, it is the word improvement. Not only do millions of women set goals to improve their weight, fitness and diets, women entrepreneurs conceive plans to improve their companies whether it’s increasing the number of customers, prices, or new offerings. January 1 automatically prompts us to seek improvement from the previous year as if staying stable or maintaining the status quo isn’t desirable. For 2021, maintaining status quo while still in a global pandemic might be smart business. It doesn’t mean we are lazy business owners, just logical, intuitive, cautious, and smart.

While women attempt to maintain balance in their companies, doesn’t mean they can’t take calculated risks in their personal lives. As I committed to run 2,021 miles in 2021 with 5 other national women, giving us each 404.2 miles to individually run, it made my blood boil in a good way. A group effort with other women, which will challenge us individually while staying safe and healthy, is a great risk to live on life’s edge. No matter what your extracurricular passions are, look for a way to get involved in something safe and exciting as you begin this New Year.

Making “safe and exciting” improvements in your business could mean signing up for online courses, joining a new group of like-minded business women, re-branding your company, reworking your business plans for post-pandemic business, working on new marketing materials, or creating an exciting new mission statement. Not all improvements require money but rather a focus and dedication to change or action.

This last Wednesday Wisdom of 2020, a year when I hope my wisdom has inspired you in times of doubt or trouble, write down 3 simple or even complex improvements you want to make in 2021. Once you have your “improvements” on paper, write down actionable steps to achieve them, set target dates, and  take the action needed to get them going. Seek input or education if needed or just start if you have what it takes to begin now. Women TIES has experts in many categories to help you so don’t forget our valuable connections. 

I hope anything you start dreaming about today gets your blood boiling too. I truly believe we possess what it takes to accomplish improvements and abundance in 2021. We just have to go for it safely and wisely.

Wednesday Wisdom: Accept The Blessings

December 23, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Holiday Message, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

One Christmas season when I was growing up, the front part of our house which contained an old beautiful brick fireplace, bountiful carpeting, big floor to ceiling windows, with a small kitchen attached to the living room was gifted to a woman in our community who had escaped an abusive husband. She had nothing to her name really and needed a place to stay safely. Since the apartment was open, my mother offered the space to this woman. I didn’t see or speak with her due to her circumstances but I knew she was there.

Just before Christmas, my mother gave her some food and a few small gifts knowing she had nothing. To our surprise, on Christmas morning the woman was gone without a note or clue to where she went. We didn’t think her abusive partner found her but maybe the warmth from the toasty abode she was safely tucked into gave her strength to move forward.

I often think of that woman when I think of this time of year. Where did she go? Did she end up with a better life? Did the small amount of kindness from our family help? Did she consider paying the kindness forward? I’ll never know the answers to the questions; I can only assume the best and hope she set forth on a better path touched by the generosity of my family. Sometimes small exchanges in the darkest nights shine forth a beacon of light to follow.

To this day, I remain someone who would rather give, than receive. The past two years I have been overwhelmed with the love, support, and financial donations to the Alopecia Areata Foundation fundraisers my family and friends have hosted. Today of all days I want to prove to you that your love, kind thoughts, contributions, and warm sentiments made a positive impact in my life. I have turned from a totally bald woman to one with a crown of silver, fuzzy hair about ½ – 1 inch long on top my head. I wonder if it is a Christmas Miracle like the one we gave to the woman so long ago.

This Wednesday Wisdom, the last one before Christmas and a New Year, is meant to inspire you to look inside your own snow globe of 2020 and find the bright, joyful, special moments that lit you up from inside even among the pain, suffering, and anxiety for our health, businesses, others, and the globe. Because within every dark place, light and hope blend and spark new strength, resolve, and anticipation for a better tomorrow – whatever our better tomorrow means to us personally.

Sometimes the miracle is waiting to happen to you, and other times you are the miracle waiting to happen to someone else. As my priest always says, “Be blessed and be a blessing.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you!  
Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Getting to Know the Media Better

December 17, 2020

Business and Entrepeneurial Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Sitting in my car in a parking lot in mid-December twelve years ago, just about ready to watch my son play basketball on his birthday, I received a phone call from a producer at Good Morning America. She proceeded to tell me my creative idea for a Christmas gift that could be made, instead of bought for a family that didn’t have a lot of money, had made it for final consideration. I remembered submitting something to a national media query but didn’t know it was for this popular national show.

“In order for us to make the final decision between you and a woman in California , we need some photos of where this gift would go in your own house and images of you with your husband or children,” she continued. Still dumbstruck while eager to gain national exposure since I’m such a media diva, I started asking more questions. Finally at the end of our communication she said, “Well, this gift would actually be coming to your house on Christmas Morning and we’d show your family’s reaction live on TV since you can’t afford to buy the ping pong table yourself for your kids.”

In the query, I suggested instead of buying a ping pong table one could easily be made from any type of material with minimum costs for a net, paddles and balls. WE didn’t need a ping pong table, but I’m sure someone else’s family did. In fact, my husband just received his Christmas bonus and we bought a brand new ping pong table for our son’s birthday. It was at home. All I could think to myself was, “Tracy, you and your crazy PR ideas, look what you’ve gotten yourself into.” Yet, I didn’t tell the producer anything going on in my head because I had to think about it some more and talk to my husband.

Sure enough my husband declined the opportunity worried his bosses would see the show and think he couldn’t manage his salary well enough to buy his son a ping pong table. So I tried desperately to find a needy family in our area that could use one on Christmas morning. My church provided a name of a family who in confidence I approached about the idea. They were touched and agreed to be in contact with the GMA producer to work it out.

A day later, the GMA producer called me back to tell me the family really needed bunk beds instead of a ping pong table – both made out of wood and easy to make if one had a small budget. She told me the California family was winning the gift based on their idea of making a doll house and thanked me for my honesty and efforts to help a family in need.

What’s the lesson for you? You never know where a media query can lead, that’s for sure. Most times they lead to free exposure for you or your business. Reaching out to media and developing relationships with them is not hard to do and can lead to valuable press. Local media often query for story contributors, quotes, or appearances locally based on national stories so getting to know them is a worthwhile venture.

Put “Getting to Know Local Media Better” on your Christmas list instead of a homemade ping pong table and you might just get what you need!

Wednesday Wisdom: Noticing the Difference

December 9, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Success Strategies, and Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

As I walked in through the doors, with my mask on, gloved hands, and sanitizer in my pocket, the lights seemed brighter than I remember. It was if having not been in this place the past nine months erased the illumination of its presence not only in my heart but eyes. Staying away has been difficult, but out of abundance of caution for my comprised immune system, I reserved attendance until yesterday.

Sitting six feet away from anyone and a pew apart, the musicians began their songs. Live music never sounded so beautiful – a gift to my senses once again. I basked in the melodies of the song and piano keys. Only the young female singer could be heard since everyone else was masked which was fine because her voice was so beautiful. “What an unexpected morning gift I gave myself,” I said silently as I left daily mass.

I’ve only seen a handful of my members and clients the past nine months since the pandemic began and being with them in person felt like mass this morning – comforting, joyful, and special. I reminisced on the faces of 3 women who visited me poolside for a business chat in September, joining 10 Rochester women at Susan B. Anthony Park to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with an impromptu lunch afterwards, and a few Christmas shopping visits to buy from members.

As women entrepreneurs we have missed so much in 2020 – revenue, customers’ faces, sales calls, correct business projections, marketing opportunities, and more, but what I can tell you about 2021, as witnessed yesterday, is once we can be together again it will be glorious, bright, happy, and a comforting return to normal. Patience isn’t always the easiest emotion to exercise but shortly we will revisit what we did before perhaps needing to pick up the pieces a bit, reinstating new policies and pricing, being more assertive in revenue collection, drafting a new PR and marketing plan, and working harder on our businesses.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you this quiet time, no matter how challenging it’s been, will return to normal where you can enjoy the fullness of your enterprise, its customers, vendors, and outlook. The next few weeks are a special time of year in most households so hold onto the time you have, make some calls to your major clients, send cookies or cards to show appreciation, share love, start making plans for the New Year, and immerse yourself in the joy of what you can do right now because it is a gift to recognize.

And……shop with women-owned companies this holiday season.

Doubling Your Effort

December 3, 2020

Friday Feelings and Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners

How many times do we pre-determine a goal or decision before we start on our way? I bet more than not we do this more than 50% of the time. Within the past 24 hours, I limited my thinking prior to beginning tasks and ended up doubling my efforts because the rhythm and energy of what I was doing swept me up.

When it is 37 degrees out, planning a 10-mile bike ride at 8 a.m. isn’t the first distance you think about completing – maybe a 2-miler or 5-miler. But as the sun hit my face and my legs got juice pumping in them, even with the brisk air coloring my cheeks, my spirit soared and I clocked in a joyous 10 miler.

Similarly with a list of ten sales calls in front of me yesterday morning, I figured if I got through half of them, I’d be happy. I created my “no thanks,” “yes!”, and “maybe” response columns prepared to receive a multitude of answers to my sales pitches. What happened? Once I got to five, I wanted to keep going because the answers were positive and the enjoyment from talking to clients made me want to do more calls. Who would think that would happen doing sales calls?

Sometimes the “quantity” of goals gets doubled if we allow the right mindset to evade us and if our natural tenacity for challenge overcomes us. It is perfectly okay to feel resistance at the start of anything really; but once we get going most times our motivation and fulfillment moves us further doubling our efforts making us more eager the next time to do it again.

Wednesday Wisdom – The Business Pendulum

December 2, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Business Advice, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses 

“I can’t wait to travel everywhere as soon as I can,” announced my son planning a ski trip to Utah in January. “It has been too long staying in one place,” perhaps a typical response from a 25-year old. Thoughts of our own west coast adventure in 2020 were put on hold along with a trip to Italy reminded me our vacation plans were halted as well, just like thousands of other people.

Yesterday, a New York Times article crossed my desk highlighting the prosperity of national print media in the election year but also the halting and closing of local print newspapers struggling with the popularity of the digital revolution and the extended pandemic. Success swings in our favor, and not, at times that’s for certain. Like a pendulum, we ride the high points, and wait patiently in the low ones.

Thinking back to the member survey we conducted in April 2020, the statistic that stands out is 65% of our members wouldn’t attend live events until mid 2021. It reminds me as much as I want to greet women in my organization face-to-face, there is a practicality about waiting and hoping the pendulum on live events and small gatherings with like-minded women will swing upward in the near future.

What have you halted during this strange time in history? Are you still marketing your business even if you aren’t getting the response you planned on perhaps sitting in that low position scratching your head? Have you contemplated closing your doors wondering if fate is finally sending you a message or are you throwing cares to the wind and saying, “Hell no, I’m moving ahead as planned?” I must admit, I like a good “Hell no” response any day of the year.

But is “Hell no” practical or is it mentally necessary at times. I wouldn’t have accomplished some of my biggest feats in life if I didn’t jump on that instinct. I wouldn’t have crossed the 2017 Boston Marathon finish line after running 26.2 miles if I didn’t say “Hell no, I’m trying it!” I certainly wouldn’t have created a 25- year career in entrepreneurship, meeting amazing women if I didn’t say “Hell no, I’m doing it!” Making a bold decision takes some thought but mostly a gut instinct to try it after some consideration. Without the “Hell, no,” there wouldn’t be a final decision.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to have you contemplate if you are in the upswing or low point of your business or life pendulum. If you are in the upswing, how can you promote, maintain and take full advantage of what’s working so well so you can replicate it in the future? If you are in a low point, contemplate other low moments in your career or business and remember the fortitude, strategies, or actions that got you going again because before too long your fortune will change.

I would also dare say, think of the “Hell, no, I’m doing it” moments that exhilarated your spirit and life making big challenges worth experiencing and then embrace that feeling and keep riding the wave with a fire in your soul and a smile on your face because as my son said, “It’s been too long to stay in one place.”

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