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Remembering An Olympic Dream & How it Helps Women Entrepreneurs Today

July 23, 2021

My blog posts don’t often begin with these words, “Don’t laugh at what I’m about to share with you,” but today I feel it is necessary since I’m sharing a personal story of my own short lived Olympic dream since today marks the beginning of the Olympic games in Toyko. For sixteen days, American will focus their attention on the international world as elite athletes from all over the globe compete for Olympic Gold.

In 1972 after watching Mark Spitz win seven gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, I turned to my stepfather and said, “I want to start training for the Olympics too.” I had been swimming since I was 5 years old (I was 8 in 1972) so I thought I was a pro. We lived on Lake Delta in Rome, New York so I had the means to swim every day if I wanted. Enthusiastically he said, “Okay, I’ll coach you.” I’m positive now he knew his coaching career would be short lived but he didn’t express it.

So for the next two weeks, I swam across the cove on the lake twice a day building up my Olympic muscles. One night at dinner, I said to my coach, “I don’t want to be an Olympic swimmer anymore. Is that okay?” He smiled (or smirked I’m not sure which) and said “Sure Tracy it’s your dream.”

I know what you are thinking, what does this story have to do with besides getting excited for another Summer Olympics? I’ll tell you what I learned and what I hope you walk away with after hearing this story:

* You must be a dreamer to start anything. Whether you are beginning a new career, a new business or taking up a new endeavor. You must dream and believe you can do it before you ever even try!

* Becoming an Olympic athlete, like becoming an entrepreneur, means it is easy to set the dream in action but when time goes on and you lose passion, get tired or aren’t really prepared to dedicate your heart and soul to it, you can fail or at least change your mind about proceeding forward. To do anything really big takes sheer will, training, focus and determination.

* When you realize something you started isn’t working, it is okay to walk away if you have thought about it thoroughly. It only took me two weeks to realize I was caught up in the Olympic spirit and the glory of gold to realize that was why I wanted to become an Olympian.

* As a 26-year woman entrepreneur with two successful businesses, I have proof that I can start something and stick with it uplifting me when I think back to my Olympic fail. Not all dreams work out; but many do.

I hope you turn on the Olympics and cheer on the female athletes competing for gold. As a once member of an Adult-Learn-To-Crew team, I’ll be cheering on the USA female Crew team in the Olympics and of course every female athlete in every sport. If you happen to catch a shimmer of something sparkling in the air above Tokyo, it could be my Olympic dream from 1972. I say, “Keep Dreaming!”

Wednesday Wisdom: Finally, the Great Pink Yonder

July 21, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

Photo from en.newsner.com

As the Blue Origin rocket took off into space yesterday morning carrying one of the richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, he was accompanied by three other people including Wally Funk. At first you might think Wally is another wealthy man rubbing elbows with Bezos, but if you read about Funk you quickly learn she was one of 13 women who did not pass the NASA medical tests back in the early 1960s because the agency didn’t truly attempt to fly any female astronauts until the late 1970s. In fact, it took until 1983 until Sally Ride because the first American woman to venture into space.

Funk, now age 82, was a talented pilot who dreamed of flying into space, but was never part of NASA’s vision, but it didn’t mean she gave up on her passion. Without a chance to fly into the wild blue yonder, Wally instead built a career as a pilot and flight teacher. Over time, she accrued 19,600 flight house on various aircrafts and taught more than 3,000 people to fly.

Photo from sightmagazine.com.au

When asked what she thought of being selected by Bezos for the flight she said, “I’ll love every second of it. Whoooo! Ha-ha. I can hardly wait. Nothing has ever gotten in my way.” She added, “They said, ‘Well, you’re a girl, you can’t do that.’ I said, ’Guess what, doesn’t matter what you are. You can still do it if you want to do it and I like to do things that nobody has ever done.” Amazing, right?

Well, today’s Wednesday Wisdom is simply to inspire you to live like Wally Funk, not allowing sexism, government limits, or your own personal limiting thoughts, to keep you from launching your own personal passion to a higher level. If you have passion in your specific business field, don’t let anything stop you from embracing it and partaking in it, maybe in ways you didn’t envision at first, until you’ve reach a ripe old age. If Wally can fly into space at the age of 82, after decades of waiting for her chance, what do you still have waiting for you by continuing to follow your own lead.

A friend called Funk to congratulate her on the chance to finally fly into space and Wally responded, “I’ve waited a lifetime, honey. I’m going up there for all of us.” Spoken like a woman after my own heart. I only wish Bezos could have gone one step father and painted one bright pink stripe on the outside of the Blue Origin rocket signifying a woman who never gave up her vision was on board. 

Wednesday Wisdom: Start to Give Again

July 14, 2021

A premature baby weighing 1.5 pounds wrapped in beautiful colored beads called “Beads of Courage” show how many treatments he received, shares his earliest story of struggle and stamina battling cancer. The beads represent not only procedures, surgeries, and blood transfusions, but strength he has fighting an unfair illness at an early age. Flash forward to a year later when a white cake adorned with multi-color M&Ms saying “No More Chemo” celebrate his extraordinary story.

As I listened to my favorite band perform a song with moving lyrics that include:

“To change the world,
Start with one step.
However small,
The first step is hardest of all.
If you give, you begin to live.
You begin, you get the world.
If you give, you begin to give
You get the world, you get the world.
If you give, you begin to live.”

I think of how many non-profit agencies supported this little baby born into illness from the start of his life, and for his anguished family. Contributions to any organization, whether small or large, make big impacts, in small ways over time, even for the smallest of us.

As woman entrepreneurs, with generous hearts and pocketbooks, we must contemplate where we want to make a small or big impact with our corporate dollars the rest of 2021. Do we have a cause near and dear to our hearts based on experience or familial situations? Do we have customers who need our support with their 503C organizations in terms of dollars or volunteers? The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t just effect businesses, but agencies that need annual financial support to survive and provide life-altering support and services.

On this humid summer Wednesday Wisdom morning, when your body is comforted by warm breezes, be moved to make a commitment to financially support an old or new non-profit organization that speaks to your heart. Yes, our financial reserves might be lower than they were last year, but our heart is full enough to recognize, as the Dave Matthews Band says in their song, when we give, we begin to live. And isn’t that kind of living that makes us happiest? 

Creating the Perfect Summer Business Timeline

July 13, 2021

As you open your business doors on a July day, turn on your fans, start your computer and settle into work, you are greeted by one of those so called “lazy, dog days of summer.” The dense humidity in the air, a lack of a morning breeze and the rich blue sky makes you start your business day feeling relaxed and peaceful.

The problem during this exceptional time of year in Upstate New York is finding the right energy and focus to do work, make sales calls, and maintain an even revenue flow. Conducting business in the summer tends to make us lazy and unmotivated just as a cool, fall day can stimulate our vigor.

I have found the best way to stay motivated during this time of year is to not abandon how you run your business the rest of the year. If you can stick to a regimented to-do-list September through June, why can’t you revise it and be committed to a disciplined set of responsibilities during the dog days of summer?

This blog post should inspire you to enjoy the beauty of this season while sustaining a strong business at the same time. You can do this by adjusting your hours to an earlier time of day (ex: 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. work day), creating a two month timeline to ensure you attend to vital business details and perhaps adding part time summer help to pick up extra business duties. Just because the air outside makes us feel lazy, doesn’t mean we can relax too much as the CEO of our company this summer or we’ll be panicked when Labor Day is here and two months have flown by without conducting important business.

I hope after reading this editorial you construct a summer timeline from now until September 6th that includes one day a week of sales calls, making appointments with key business partners to plan for the fall season, brushing up on new social media or general marketing skills, and attending events where you can conduct summer sales business.

There is definitely a way to enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer while keeping our businesses and motivation vibrant and effervescent. I hope you enjoy, plan and prosper today through Labor Day.

Monday Money Motivation: Advice from 3 Women Entrepreneurs

July 12, 2021

Monday Motivation, Money Thoughts for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

Three pieces of financial advice surfaced this morning after talking to women entrepreneurs the past few days about ways to make their companies more profitable.

The first was from a highly respected female business owner running a multi-million dollar business who shared something small she implemented which produced big financial results, she said, “Discover two or three small repetitive expenses within your business and eradicate or reduce them.” Entrepreneurs tend to focus on revenue generation more than eliminating insignificant expenditures which is part of the corporate financial equation.

The second comment came from a 10-year entrepreneur who decided to eliminate small customer accounts in order to spend more time on larger client projects. The multitude of interactions with customers with smaller accounts was eliminating her profitability. In order to correct the situation, she decided to only sell to and secure a select group of higher paying clients.

The final piece of financial wisdom was from a small business owner who decided she was not interested in adding staff to her company but wanted to make more money. Her solution was to contract herself out as an expert to work on specific projects for other national businesses in her industry.

Today be inspired to recognize when you need to make monetary changes as an entrepreneur to become more financially successful. As we lead passionate lives with joy and purpose to help the marketplace and our customers, we can forget to focus on our financials. As evident by the examples above, sometimes it takes a renewed financial focus like decreasing expenses, working on larger accounts or outsourcing your expertise to become more financially sound. There are multitudes of ways to achieve monetary successes in your business so focus on them this week.

Running a tighter entrepreneurial ship doesn’t mean you will lose the joy out of conducting business, instead you will feel proud of the necessary adjustments to become more profitable.

You Are BeYOUtiful Today

July 9, 2021

Inspiration, Friday Feelings, Love for Women, Women Entrepreneurs and Alopecia

The dark clouds still gathered above me and the humidity dripped and hung close to my exposed athletic arms and legs as I made my way through an overgrown canopy trail of trees and shrubs. “Perfect,” I thought to myself. Lately my favorite biking path was full of Fourth of July vacationers walking in foursomes across the narrow bikeway oblivious to anyone else. My sharp sounding pink bike bell quickly moved them aside so I could wiz past, but not today.

My internal energy and strong legs carried me quickly through the twisting woods, over a bridge, through an Amphitheater where Luke Bryant had played twelve hours prior and where I’ll see my favorite the Dave Matthews Band play in August, around the lake’s edge, down a long hill and over to the top of another bridge where I stopped to catch my breath and grab a view.

Today was a different bike day. It was serene. Deeply peaceful even with music in my ears. The humidity provided the hug I needed on the fifteenth anniversary of my father’s passing to the “great football field in the sky” as I like to think. He was an avid sports participant and fan and biking today was the perfect homage to his crystal anniversary typically commemorated with a watch as the gift.

On my way back through the woods, I peered down at my purple Fitbit watch as I rounded a bend noticing a lilac painted rock with some words on it. “It must be one of those special painted rocks people gift strangers,” I thought to myself. I was the receiver of a red rock in Maine, where my father lived for many years, and another one in Sanibel Island, where we vacation annually. Both are perched on my kitchen windowsill to view daily.

This light purple rock had two pink hearts on it and the words “Be- YOU-tiful”. Since I was biking bald, my latest way to accept my alopecia and total baldness as a 56-year-old woman who once had gorgeous dark flowing hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, and where I tell people I feel the most like myself – carefree with pink glasses on – an image of my dad whispering from above, “Be you, Tracy, it is enough,” vibrated in my heart. I felt him all the way from above, 15 years later from when he left my side, exactly when I needed to hear it.

On the back of the rock was a label from Coach Matt’s Art Academy with the note, “If you find a new home for this rock, please take a picture and post it to our Facebook page.” When I arrived home, I visited the page and attached a photo of me holding the rock and suggesting the kids learn more about alopecia at www.naaf.org.

If I’ve learned one thing dedicating my life to sports, especially since losing all my hair, it’s that sports bring freedom, happiness, health, self-love and peace of mind to those of us struggling with any problems in our lives or careers. If today is the day you read this post looking for inspiration, I highly suggest taking a bike ride, walk or run by yourself, looking up to remember someone special who always made you happy, and looking down to find special gifts laying at your feet…..and most importantly remember to love who you are.


Wednesday Wisdom: How Long Ice Cream Lines Relate to Running a Successful Business

July 7, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom and Business Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

You’ve seen them. You’ve been in them. You know, those long ice cream lines when you begin wondering why a frozen treat deserves more wait time than an important doctor’s appointment. Although your patience level might be tested on a beautiful summer day, the owner of the establishment is sweating inside thrilled with the ramped-up business as she flashes back to non-existent lines during other months. They’ve dreamed and planned for this moment hoping if they built the right business, marketed it properly and consistently, the customers would come.

This time of year, is no different than the six-week retail push from Thanksgiving to Christmas when a majority of sales take place either saving or sinking retail business projections. Go to any mall when the ice cream lines are long outside to find short lines inside Central New York enterprises because consumers are more interested in summer breezes, fireworks, and picnics then shopping. These enterprises beg for cold weather as much as ice cream businesses rejoice in hot weather.

It’s all about cycles. Life has cycles. Business has cycles. To thrive or survive in any cycle means proper forecasting, planning, and marketing. Reviewing past revenue records demonstrates financial highs and lows over a year. Besides regular, or in the recent year irregular changes in the economy, reviews, plans, and action are essential in surviving your company’s sales cycles.

As an event planner with my first company, I knew I had limited event revenue in the dead of winter and high peaks of revenue in summer and fall. I planned for this topography by asking for larger deposits and payment periods from my nine-month event clients to keep financial reserves on keel. After 1, 3, and 5 years in business, looking at numbers and graphs helps planning for the next same stretch of business. Don’t ever underestimate the value of cycles, whether good or bad, in effective planning of your enterprise.

This Wednesday Wisdom should remind you that while you are standing in that long ice cream line to remember the importance of an updated financial analysis of your numbers on a periodic basis. If we don’t review where we are, to where we planned to be, we can’t steer our businesses forward as successfully as we originally thought.

Don’t reject your numbers, study them, embrace them, and revise if you must, and then treat yourself to any frozen treat of your liking enjoying the merriment of a long line, like the one you’ll be creating for your company. 

A Peek Into Conversations with Women Entrepreneurs

July 6, 2021

Tuesday Thoughts for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

The past two months I have been hosting private poolside chats with women entrepreneurs in a comfortable setting where we allow ourselves to be open and honest about topics related to business, life, politics, sportsequality, health and mental wellness. Each woman has two hours to share whatever she wants, ask me questions, seek guidance, laugh, share personal hardships and open up about anything they want. This conversations have been both individual and yet universal topics.

These conversations have been a gift to me and to my guests too. Today I want to share some of the less personal and more business pieces of advice shared by the women who have visited me. My hope is although you are not sitting with me physically by my pool or in my poolhouse, you feel the interest and motivation in business today.

* Women are peaceful and grounded in what they do for others.
* We don’t have to do everything ourselves. Let go and give away work someone else can do.
* Seek testimonials from clients and use to attract new customers.
* Sports build confidence in women.
* Today’s generation operates more through technology than person to person so keep meeting people in person when you can.
* We all have a book inside of us. Writing a book gets out what is inside of me.
* Turning an unused room in a house into a new studio can inspire women needing change.
* There is a divine design for your life. Look for it.

Stay tuned because I’ll be sharing more wisdom as more women visit me poolside this summer. Until then, let me know what wisdom you would like to share with other women entrepreneurs.

Be the Light to Someone on the 4th of July

July 1, 2021

Inspiration and Wisdom for the Fourth of July

On the other end of my cell phone was a familiar voice, a warm, typically bubbly voice that sounded a bit low even though it was her birthday. Knowing how hard her profession has been the past eighteen months because she is a scientist communicating with customers ranging from 5,000 person companies to 5 staff operations answering safety procedures and protocols due to the pandemic. “I’m just wiped-out Tracy as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Covid-19,” she said. “It’s been brutal.”

Her exasperated voice sounded familiar to my husbands who helps manage a large company where they’ve lost customers and staff and are facing supply chain shortages due to the backlog of work and products and lackluster vendors during the economic shutdown. “Wow, it is crazy here,” a quick text message said after the phone call with my friend. Although I’ve represented small woman-owned companies for almost 3 decades, most of them haven’t faced the same enormous corporate issues as my husband and friend have due to the size of their enterprises; but that’s not to say these female-owned companies haven’t seen decreases in their revenue or shortages in supply or staff or increases in pricing like big corporations, because they have. They are equally stressed waiting for the end of the pandemic tunnel.

After hearing a tragic story about a young man who lost his life to suicide due to stress from work and the pandemic, I remembered the words of my friend say, “I think people need more mental health programs or seminars. People have been under too much stress and its coming to the surface now.” She’s right. I’ve witnessed it, read about it and understand not everyone comes through a crisis the same way for different reasons.

As you hopefully take the 4th of July Weekend off from work to gather with others, remember there might be people in your family, work network, or larger neighborhood circle, who might be having a hard time even though the fireworks are going off and the hotdogs grilled perfectly. Keep an eye open for anyone who could use the compassion or generosity of someone like you to ask them how they’ve been doing or how they are feeling especially if you know their professional career or life has been impacted by Covid-19.

We always want holiday time to be joyous and celebratory but for some this year,  your attention and personal conversation might be just what they need to release some stress to be able to move on and feel better. Be that special light to someone that a firework might not bring on July 4th.

Wednesday Wisdom: 1776 Patriotic Pride Still Alive Today

June 30, 2021

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs & Female Business Owners

When I think of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, my memory drifts back to my childhood, long before I became a woman entrepreneur, sitting in Johnstown, New York, on the orange carpet in my paternal grandparent’s living room watching, what seemed like, millions of bursts of colors and sounds protruding from their television set. It was the year 1976 which marked the United States Bicentennial with grand celebrations and observances paying tribute to events leading up to the creation of the United States of America as an independent republic.

Back in my hometown of Rome, New York, I grew up very aware of the date 1776 since Fort Stanwix was built there in 1758 by British forces and rebuilt in 1776 by American forces. It was part of every history class I ever took. The fort was built to protect a six-mile-long trail, the Oneida Carrying Place, between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. The house I grew up in dated back to 1782 with old fireplaces, square nails, hidden rooms, and the smell of history. Being in sixth grade in 1976, our school conducted historic plays and musical performances marking the celebration.

Back on the fireplace mantel of my paternal grandparent’s house was a framed image of my great grandfather Charles Chamberlain and his seven sons, all but two who served in the navy at the same time in the 1940s. My great grandfather was crowned “Working Father of the Year” in the mid-1940s. Unfortunately, there weren’t any women in the family in active duty, just men, and I imagine my great grandmother praying all the time for the safe return of her five sons. Although I didn’t know her, I imagine I have some of her fighting spirit and faith in my DNA.

In fact, when I ask my 87-year-old aunt about the patriotic or feminist achievements of the women on the Chamberlain side of the family, she tells me there aren’t any stories. When I think about my maternal side of my family, my grandfather was born in Italy, came to America at age 8, and eventually served in World War II for America fighting against Italians. My grandmother never made it to high school as the women supported the family while the men were at war. Alas, my patriotic spirit didn’t come from women, but men.

Sometimes I imagine my feminist action and words make me a solider of sorts in the fight of equality since the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and he doesn’t mention “women” in the document. Women then, as they are today, still aren’t equal to men in pay and other areas, thus an ongoing war of sorts still exists.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to think about the men, and hopefully women, in your family who fought back in 1776 up to today for our many freedoms. Who are they? Do you know enough about them? Are you like any of them? Do you wish you could be? Please think of them all this weekend and share any female names with me.

I don’t ever want to fight in a real, physical war, but I will continue fighting this 4th of July and all the next ones, for women’s rights to equality in all things we hold dear. I hope someday mine, and your, granddaughters or grandsons know what our generation did to “fight” for our own passions, injustices, and freedoms even if it wasn’t in active duty.

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