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Wednesday Wisdom: Visualization Success

October 21, 2020

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

The white large cardboard sheet of paper propped on the couch in my home office featured a rough drawing of my pool house with pink sunbeams streaming out the windows in all directions. Inspired and drawn at a winter’s retreat at Blue Mountain Lake three years ago, the image on the paper was etched in my memory. At the time I envisioned writing my first book, a collection of 15 years of “Wednesday Wisdom,” in that space. The pink sunbeams were the feminist vibes spilling out from the written wisdom to the world of women entrepreneurs. Not far away from the windows was my sparkling aqua pool waters and greenery around the deck there to produce additional inspiration.

Visualization methods are used to cement deep yearnings and goals into reality. You have heard the quote, “If I can see it, it will happen,” thus the intention of the winter retreat exercise. Sure enough the vision came to reality except for the alteration of the book being about dealing with the loss of my self-image and uncertain entrepreneurial journey after losing all my hair to alopecia. Stripped away from my perceived beauty, I was faced with seeing myself not from the outside, but from the inside. My feelings needed to be shared and the lessons of kindness and compassion shown to me from strangers everywhere who saw me bald and assumed I had cancer. So the “pool house writing dream” became a reality just like the exercise predicted but with a slight change.

“Books are the business card for women entrepreneurs,”
is a statement often heard from conference presenters, female authors, and women business owners with multiple books under their belt. I knew for a long time I wanted to be an author to add to my resume but I didn’t know what I wanted the book to be when I first had the inkling. Like tasty recipes on the stove, some creations are best when they simmer. In some cases, becoming an author isn’t dreamt of but realized due to personal or business experiences eager to be shared. I’ve spoken with enough women to know a “book” lies within them at some point in their lifetime.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to think about that question of whether or not you have a “book” within you wanting to come out. The pandemic has offered many lessons to be shared and given us more time to use idle time wisely like finally writing by starting a blog, book, or future conference materials or even submitting short stories or poems to magazines and newspapers. Like all things “women” we are inspired by other women who have gone before us as published writers leaving their thoughts, expertise and personal wisdom in print for eternity. Once your words are printed in a book form, they are there forever leaving a nice legacy for you and your family.

Create your own “writing space” image today on a blank piece of paper and keep it close. I bet if you stare at it enough times and believe it can happen, it will or join us next Tuesday to be inspired by female authors in our midst. Trust me.

You Have More Power Than You Think

October 20, 2020

A 5-minute inspirational podcast to remind you that you have more power than you think in most situations. Check it out! 

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham
Women TIES

Moving on From Well-Established Business Relationships

October 16, 2020

Friday Feelings, wisdom and inspiration for women entrepreneurs, female business owners and small businesses

Wet leaves covering my front lawn, which just yesterday crackled when I walked over them; illuminate my mood on this dreary Friday. Just yesterday as I filed through fifteen years of event recaps with hundreds, if not thousands, of names of women attending my company’s luncheons to promote their enterprises and gathered to inspire each other higher in business, a constant name appeared in a majority of the regions, a sponsor who worked collaboratively with me promoting and funding my programs for a decade.

Every sales presentation I’ve ever heard talks about “filling the sales pipeline” with leads so when a company loses a major client, they aren’t thrown into revenue limbo. As an event planner for ten years with my first company, I lived this strategy as event clients ranged from 3-month to multi-year contracts. Always hoping my customer service and expertise landed me their repeat business, I never knew if they would return until the new contract was inked. On average those large client events stayed with me nine years which was a gift but I always added new customers just in case a large customer didn’t need me anymore.

Running a promotional and marketing organization for women entrepreneurs for fifteen years was different than operating an event management business in the sense that businesswomen came and went year in and year out so constantly filling the sales pipeline was essential for my revenue stream and the effectiveness of my company’s mission to connect women across New York State so they could do business together.  Sales and member retention became the lifeblood of my work even though in my heart I wanted to focus more on promoting my members, connecting them together, and sharing our feminist business mission with the world to inspire women to buy from women first and foremost to help with pay inequality and put money in the hands of other women – not a small feat.

So when news came quite unexpectedly from my major decade-old sponsor that she and her organization were retiring and closing, I realized two things. First, how blessed I was to have their financial support for a decade making it possible to host events to reach more women in the state, and second how much I’ll miss our collaborative partnership going forward. No one quite fills the shoes of old, familiar friends, not even a new exciting one so moving on from well-established business partnerships is difficult emotionally and financially for women entrepreneurs because we invest so much into our corporate relationships.

Today’s Friday Feelings are to remind you it is okay to rely on beneficial, long-lasting business relationships to make everyday entrepreneurship feel good, but remember like all things in life, good things don’t last forever. Be prepared at any point in business to lose a major client or supporter, and still remain steady in your progress. If you depend too heavily financially on one entity, try diversifying now. Keep the sales pipeline open. Make plans to replace steady customers.  It might be easier to be business prepared, than mentally prepared, when you have to say goodbye to a long-lasting relationship. Let your constant supporters know you appreciate them too so they stay around as long as they can.

Wednesday Wisdom: You Have More “Power” Than You Think

October 9, 2020

Friday feeling for women entrepreneurs, female business owners, small businesses

Returning from a trip back in time to the pioneer days where Laura Ingalls and her family were close friends of mine, I landed back in my home office with electricity, power, water, and all the modern conveniences women living and working from home offices are used to having. Even though I reside in a house built in 1866, doesn’t mean I want to “live” in those times. Since the sudden wind burst which occurred on Wednesday at 2 p.m. knocking out everything needed to conduct business the way I’m used to out of my home the past 25 years, today is the first time I’ve seen the “light” to write a blog post to inspire you in the ways of boldness, advocacy, and tenacity.

When the NYSEG restoration time for our electricity kept creeping later and later every hour we checked it, and into a dark night and cold house with no running water because the water pumps out of a well from an electric pump, we grew increasingly unsatisfied with the delays since only 9 houses on our road were without power. Calling the “emergency outage” number to get a human being on the phone to talk to was harder than walking 20 miles on the Nebraska plains in a sand storm to find someone to listen to us.  Properly following the automated prompts by a robo-voice left us frustrated until I decided to truly claim it was an emergency demanding to talk to a human being. By being so forward and not following the rules, we talked to a helpful woman, filed a complaint and learned the trouble was caused at an electric pole 4 miles from our house.

Jumping in our “wagon” we drove to Electric Pole 338 to find it totally fine with no working crews near it. We also noticed all the houses from the end of our road to the pole had electricity meaning there was no logical sense what the woman told us. “Did they find out we aren’t Trump supporters and I’m a feminist with a photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in our front yard so they turned off our electricity?” I asked my husband half joking.  Knowing we were smart, we called NYSEG again this time getting a man on the phone who kept trying to tell me I didn’t understand the way their electrical system worked. I said, “Dude, I’m smart and it makes no logical sense that only 9 houses on our street including ours that don’t have electricity and everyone else does. Your servicemen are wrong. They need to come back out and check again.”  Within 2 hours, 3 NYSEG trucks drove up our road and within 5 minutes our glorious power was back on. I waved to the trucks as they drove back down the road thanking them for finally figuring it out.

No, I don’t want to become a detective or a NYSEG employee to help with electrical situations, but I do want to remind you that have the “power” to fix a situation that doesn’t seem right. Don’t just trust what someone is telling you if it doesn’t make sense. Use your logic and tenacious spirit to get solutions to problems. Sometimes you might need to take on extra responsibility and communicate your findings to others to get situations resolved.

If we didn’t follow our guts and logic, I would still be taking a shower in my cold pool, drinking coffee by candlelight, and reading a “Little House on the Prairie” book to feel kinship with women from the pioneer days.

Speak up! Be your own best advocate always.

Wednesday Wisdom – The Lesson of Obtaining Multiple Vendor Quotes

October 7, 2020

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

She arrived dressed in crimson attire standing ten feet tall, at the entrance to our house. She was a beauty to behold. As I approached her majesty, I wondered her name. Quietly I heard the wind rustle between her delicate limbs quietly saying, “Skarlett Oak’Hara.” The reason she appeared in our yard one beautiful autumn day was simply due to mastering the art of obtaining multiple contracting quotes on a home renovation project that saved us $500.

Yes, Skarlett Oak’Hara is a gorgeous Skarlett Oak tree to adorn our property and yes, I love trees more than most people; but I also love saving money like most women entrepreneurs. The thrill of getting extra quotes which lead to similar quality services for less money so the spare dollars can be used someplace else, is exhilarating. If we don’t shop around once in awhile to ask for bids on major entrepreneurial expenditures, projects, contractors, or staple items, we’ll never know how much we are saving by choosing the right vendor.

When we were searching for the perfect oak tree to accompany our existing century-old maple trees, we also found distinct differences in the quality, service, and knowledge of the landscaping companies. You won’t be surprised to discover a young, educated college salesperson who worked for the last company we checked on for our tree, was a bright, helpful female who won my money from the start. Her exceptional knowledge of trees, big smile, and warm tone of voice made me want to buy more than one tree if it meant she got the commission. This was just another reason the new tree had to be named after a woman – as a gentle reminder that our money went in her hands.

So, what does this short story have to do with you today? As you know there are lessons in all fables if you search for them. On this Wednesday Wisdom day, I hope you are inspired to get multiple quotes when working on any small or large projects because that extra time on the phone asking questions could land you big savings. Secondly, remember your customer service attitude could seal the deal especially with unfamiliar customers with a pocket full of money to spend, landing the sale in your bank account. Also remember, if you aren’t the main salesperson for your business, your staff reflects the friendly, helpful, and expert advice you want portrayed.

Sometimes the simplest sales transactions lead to an instant customer-fan for life. I know for one thing the next time we need another tree to compliment Skarlett Oak’Hara, my new friend Sarah, the landscaping saleswoman from Chittenango, will get the money we saved by obtaining quotes on another project. Remember, don’t just say “Frankly Dear, I don’t give a damn” about saving money, make it happen.

Wednesday Wisdom – The Value of Obtaining Multiple Vendor Quotes

October 7, 2020

A 5-minute podcast aimed at inspiring you to obtain multiple vendor quotes for any major or small business or life project. 

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Wednesday Wisdom: Female Business Friendships Matter Most

September 30, 2020

A 5-minute podcast to inspire you to embrace and celebrate more female friendships that make your business and entrepreneurial life thrive. 

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Wednesday Wisdom: Good Ole Girl Power

September 30, 2020

Providing 15 Years of Entrepreneurial Wisdom, Economic Ties, Events, and Business Success Strategies for
for Women Entrepreneurs

When a late September warm air billows between rust colored leaves and pale-yellow sun rays, my spirit floats back in time to the Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles where for nine years 150 women gathered at the Women TIES special autumn retreat for women entrepreneurs. Every year we had stellar weather, which was so deserving for the hard-working female business owners driving from all corners of the state to meet other women, learn from top female experts, and settle into a non-traditional business day. The place, topics, music, food, kinship and setting were to inspire success deep inside these women to bring back to their office.

Monday as I set poolside in the most glorious weather day, reminiscent of our Retreat days, waiting for 3 women entrepreneurs from Rochester to enjoy my invite to rest by the sparkling aqua water to relax, talk business, network, or fill-up on peace and beauty, I recognized the blessing in making this happen for them. Not every Monday is filled with such positive anticipation for the host and guests but it was that day. I’m sure my neighbors could hear our friendly banter, catch a glimpse of our large smiles, and sense our joy of a last summer day swimming and “catching up” under a canopy of golden leaves in the back hilly sanctuary of my nature-filled back yard.

It wasn’t all fun-and-games though, even if the setting paints it to be that way, we had some pointed discussions on the benefits of contacting clients more effectively via email vs. phone, how each of our business industries were doing since the pandemic hit, our different type of preferred sales styles, buying franchise businesses vs. starting one from scratch, and a few of us were landing business contracts as we gathered. I suppose it was normal in a woman’s day of work in 2020.

If the pandemic has taught me one thing, it is how much I miss my favorite customers, members, new women, and old collaborators when live events went dormant. I appreciate that Zoom can bring them closer to me via computer screen once in a while; but there is nothing like real human interaction to make one’s heart sing and to bolster personal relationships which women live, survive, and work best with. It doesn’t matter if the setting is inside a conference room, in a beautiful wooden lodge, or poolside in bathing suits. Women were meant to feel better being around other women.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you as this beautiful summer weather exits our part of the world and the threat of Covid-19 looms as the cold weather arrives, don’t forget that if you are a woman, you need lots of female relationships to not only get your through business and life, but to lighten up your days with additional sunshine, love, laughter, and good ole’ girl power. Don’t be so nervous about getting sick that you isolate yourself from other women, who with the proper precautions, can safely be invited to spend time with you while sharing business wisdom, and laughter. We need each other.

The letter F is for so many important things in our entrepreneurial life – finances, fearlessness, frolicking, feminism, fashion, failing, flourishing, and above all things female friendships.

What Inspired Me (and You) about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life

September 25, 2020

An inspirational 5-minute podcast which begs the question, “What do you hope people will say about you at the end of your life?” Listen to be inspired. 

What Inspired Me (and You) about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Funeral

September 25, 2020

Friday Feelings, Inspiration, Wisdom for women, women entrepreneurs, female business owners

A memory of sitting in high school writing class being assigned a creative writing piece about what we envisioned our obituary and epitaph would say, rose to mind as I biked along the autumn colored leaf path listening to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral service. Typically listening to rock music to make the fitness time go by fast, I instead rode listening to final words about this amazing woman who rightfully deserved to be heard and remembered. The aura of golden light was a perfect setting for my reflective mood of a woman who dedicated her life to women’s rights.

A few of the spoken words said by the female rabbi specifically touched me heart as I proceeded on the paved road ahead:

* Bader Ginsburg once said, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

* Although RBG did not land a job after graduating first in her class at Columbia Law School, because no law firm would hire a female, she instead used her time to ‘evening out the rights of women and men.’

* After 5 bouts of cancer, she came back every single time more focused to press forward.

* Her legal dissents spoke to a future age, they were ‘blueprints for the future.”

The female rabbi concluded with some powerful words herself saying, “We the people must carry on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy, by rising with her strength and moving forward. Let’s be inspired by her strength, blessed with her courage, intelligence, bravery, and unbreakable in our resolve to pursue justice.”

As the final mile of my 9-mile bike ride came to an end as the silence on my earplugs was the only sound to hear after the finish of her funeral, I asked myself, “Tracy, what do you hope people will say about your life’s work?” I thought for a moment and answered myself, “I hope they say I worked passionately to inspire women to support other women financially helping to find a solution to pay inequality by creating strong economic and personal ties between women.”

What do you hope they say about your life’s work?

Like so many women before us, our life work is only rewarded partially during our lifetime, and mostly when we are gone because the issues, we try to resolve are so large and engrained in our history. As the rabbi mentioned, it takes every woman’s strength, courage, intellect, bravery and resolve to pursue equality and justice in the areas that mean the most to them. Thank you Ruth Bader Ginsburg for all you’ve done for women today and in the future. I for one am honored I lived during your lifetime.

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