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Wednesday Wisdom: Instant Results vs Slow Down

March 29, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Athletes, Small Businesses

Instant Pot Recipes. Instant Weight Loss Programs. Instant News. We live in an Instant culture now and the ways we receive instant pleasure isn’t getting slower, but speedy up. It can be dizzying at times. How frequently do we check our social media accounts to check on instant likes or wish the instant drive-through window was even faster than anticipated? How about wishing the ATM machine wouldn’t take so long spitting out our money? We just want crazy, instant everything. Impatience abounds.

Last week I had an instant notice a TV crew was going to follow me on a sporting challenge in Rochester. I had less than 24 hours to get the interview set up after sending the initial news announcement out 3 weeks prior. I suspected no one was interested in covering the story which happens. Instead, a fantastic young female reporter spent over two hours at the event filming and interviewing me and a woman who attended with me, reminding me that sometimes the news media takes its own time in deciding what stories are worthy of airtime.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham interviewed by Adrianna Loh of Spectrum News Rochester

After the interview debuted, another woman entrepreneur reached out to me and asked what the secret was behind getting the media to cover a story since she recently sent in a release and had no response. I told her, “It is all about their timing, not ours.” This is where living in an instant world can wreak havoc in our minds, and maybe our egos, when we don’t get the sudden response we expected.

Guess what? We need to remind ourselves that waiting a whole 2 minutes for an ATM exchange or even Lord forbid 5 minutes for a Wendy’s meal, or a couple days to get the likes we expect on our social media posts, is totally fine – and actually quick. Is it our thinking that limits us or others really? Ponder it the next time you are frustrated at the lack of response you are experiencing.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you of a few things: Number one, the media is looking for cool, unique, and relevant news stories so don’t stop sending out press pieces if you don’t hear back on one release. Number two, contemplate how long you actually are waiting for something and see if it is reasonable in today marketplace versus your own potential impatience. Instead of fretting about wasting time waiting, decide what else to think to bring in positive vibes during that time? I, for one, say the rosary, and before I know it, I’m calm and next in line.

Maybe this spring is the perfect time to ramp down your expectations of instant gratification or service in a realistic, human world. We aren’t all machines, just humans doing our best to serve each other. 

When A Friend Passes On, Life Still Sparkles

March 28, 2023

Tuesday Vibes, Tuesday Mood, Inspiration

Teresa Dowe Huggins at Women TIES Retreat

Once in a while if you are lucky enough, you meet someone who inspires you beyond imagination. Tucked inside the space of our minds and hearts, another person’s accomplishment, story or sharing buries itself temporarily within until the moment it springs up, like a daffodil in April.

A number of years ago my friend Teresa told me about the time she did a triathlon in honor of her friend who passed away from cancer. She hadn’t trained for it, but felt moved to do it. I remember wondering what it would be like to do that same thing someday – be so moved by someone that you attempt a big new feat. Well, that Teresa memory sprouted in visible sight for me last week, as I completed my first mini-triathlon with Teresa’s spirit intertwined with mine.

Teresa passed away in August 2022. She loved swimming in my pool. She loved biking on my favorite bike path in Syracuse with me. She walked every day so running was something she could do. Putting them all together in a timed or distanced race is a great way to challenge oneself while enjoying all three sports. She happily completed a triathlon in a friend’s memory.

I contemplated writing Teresa’s name in black ink on my arm so everyone could see it when I competed but I didn’t do it for some reason. As I approached the triathlon registration desk the person asked my name, I replied, “Tracy” to which the person said back, “Teresa? Teresa who?” A smirk came over my face, a “sparkle” (aka goosebumps as Teresa called them) ran up my arm, and I knew Teresa was watching me.

When you lose a close friend at the age of 60, it feels different than losing an older relative who has spent their life filled with memories. When someone “young” dies, it feels tragic somehow, even if that person spent every moment of their life living it to the fullest, like my friend did. What you soon realize is your unique kinship cannot be replaced, and the memories of laughter, love, and friendship are all you have to go on with.

I can tell you for sure, when people pass away, their spirits get intertwined with ours in the unique way they melded with us in life. For me, Teresa lives on in my love for sports and nature, and in experiencing new challenges that bring light, sparkles, and meaning to my life.

Monday Motivation: Try A Triathlon

March 27, 2023

Monday Motivation, Sports Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Women in Sports

The cool refreshing water tingled my toes as they dipped in the pool. Of all the legs of this Mini-Triathlon, the swimming portion was the one I looked forward to most. As a long time swimmer and competitive one from junior high to high school, I hadn’t competed in a pool for forty years although I swim any chance I get in my own pool and the ocean. “7B” written in big black marker on my right hand told me I’d be on the left side of the lane sharing it with my younger friend, Hope Breen, a professional business woman and big time TikTok influencer. She was marked “7A” or “7-Awesome” in my mind for joining me.

This particular Mini-Triathlon meant we would swim 15 minutes as someone counted our laps. In the end, the number of laps would be added to the number of bike miles and running laps. “Go!” someone shouted and off we went. Swimming came back as natural as ever, and I was happily immersed in this portion of the race I couldn’t train for since it is March in Central New York. After 15 minutes, I completed 27 laps, not bad I thought hearing the person before me swam 20.

The hardest part of this race was changing from a wet bathing suit to biking/running gear in only 5 minutes. My chest just didn’t want to cooperate getting into a dry bra quick, getting tangled on my back. So what is a girl to do? I asked a random woman in the locker room to adjust it for me, “Sure, no problem!” Got to love women! Off I ran, to find the biking portion had already started.

Jumping on a stationary bike without time to adjust the speed, I biked much faster than I typically do which felt heavenly, I was speeding away to catch up. As the bike time counted down, I recorded 4 miles in less than 15 minutes which is longer than I thought. “Yes!” I said to Adriana Loh, the Spectrum News Reporter, taping my whole triathlon experience and interviewing me between legs.

Since the bikes sat in the middle of the track, no problem being late to run, so Hope and I lined up next to each other in our hot pink Women TIES shirts ready to run. Being a long time runner, Hope knew I would speed off at times only to come back around and walk/jog with her to catch my breath due to asthma. In the end, we finished together being cheered on by some lovely, energetic R.I.T. female college students. Giving them a big “W” with my fingers indicated “Women Rule,” I thanked them for their pink energy.

Just like in everyday life and business, a woman came up to me asking if I was a breast cancer survivor based on my obvious lack of hair due to Alopecia. She was a 25-year survivor of breast cancer which reminded me that my friend Teresa Huggins, had competed in a triathlon after losing a friend to the disease, just like I was doing for Teresa today. I knew she was looking down from heaven smiling at my turn to do a triathlon for her especially since the person who registered me at the front desk called me “Teresa” instead of “Tracy.” Divine messages from above.

I have come to believe that when women perform sports together, they bond in a very natural and deep way, due to the uniqueness of the sporting experience by overcoming anxiety and trepidation and empowering ourselves when the sport is over. Perhaps the best way to summarize what doing a Triathlon with another woman is bonding due to blood, sweat, and tears (and laughter and joy). You don’t get that sitting in a typical networking luncheon.

I am looking forward to trying another Triathlon and potentially joining my new Rochester Triathloners that I met at the event. Everywhere you go, people in sports are friendly and positive. Not only is trying a new sport exhilarating but addictive so I say to you “Give it a Tri!” on this Motivation Monday.

Wednesday Wisdom: “National Day” Marketing Tip

March 22, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Marketing Tip for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Business Owners

You might have missed it but yesterday was National Poetry Day. A photo of Amanda Gorman delivering her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” during the Biden-Harris grabbed my attention as the photo was used to highlight the day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization founded the day in 1999. It reminded me that my first ever published work was a poem printed in a national publication when I was in middle school.

Amanda Gorman

I am pleased to report today is “National Goof Off Day”, “World Cloud Security Day,” “Bavarian Crepes Day,” and “As Young as You Feel Day,” to name a few. The list is longer than these four holidays which has me thinking from a marketing perspective, what national days resonate with my business mission, demographic, colors, or purpose to use for marketing Women TIES?

Waiting for true spring to arrive can take a while so what is a smart woman entrepreneur to do in the meantime? Well, I say on a day like today you go to and start listing what correlates with your business and make a simple marketing plan to use this information to announce different parts of your business the rest of the year.

We don’t always have to invent the wheel or a new national day to be a brilliant marketer, we can use the wheels that are already created and hop on board using them to advertise and promote ourselves and our companies. Not only are national days strange – like my birthday November 7 being “National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day” (now you know what to buy me) – but fun and perhaps clever pitches to garner media attention.

This Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to visit and look up some unique dates related to your company like the day it was started, a theme or product related to your company, or the population you serve, and create a 4-6 week out marketing plan to promote your business to the marketplace. This is a fun exercise to try as we wait for the snow to melt and the flowers to bloom.

I, for one, am going to look for National Women Rule Day, and see what I can find out. If it doesn’t exist, maybe I’ll make it happen. A feminist can dream, can’t she?

Women TIES “Women Rule” Event

Monday Motivation: Trial Runs

March 20, 2023

Monday Motivation, Monday Mood, Inspiration, Motivation for Women

The weekend long runs leading up to the Boston Marathon were trial periods as well as training runs for me.  It’s impossible to think you can do something physically, like running a marathon, by just thinking you can; instead you need to prove to yourself you can.

It isn’t so different in entrepreneurship when the idea to start a business, grow it successfully, and reap in the profits can be dreamed about, but not realized unless you test run the idea through a business plan, with advisors, and tweaking the specifics of the plan a year into running it. What we envision isn’t always what we face when we begin and try.

As I jumped on my bike in 35 degrees, cool, sunny, but very windy conditions this Saturday to test a combination biking and running sequence before next week’s first ever mini-triathlon, I knew I had to try my hardest while timing myself in 15-minute increments to see the mileage I biked and ran individually for some comparison for myself for the upcoming race. I bike. I run. I don’t bike and then run after each other, so it was a test.

Since the mini triathlon is based on timing and not distance since it was a created event by RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) to give people a taste of what a triathlon is like, I needed to put the sports back-to-back to see how my body responded. Since my pool is closed this time of year due to snow, the 15-minute swim portion will be a mystery until I get in their pool. As a long time swimmer, I know I can do it but adding a third and different sport to the other two might test me a bit but, I’m ready.

When I think back to launching my two company websites in a span of ten years, I remember needing to have the websites tested before they went live. I invited friends and business associates to “test” it out and tell me what they thought. I ended up tweaking the pages based on their experiences.

Similar to today when I only ran 1 mile in 15 minutes, I know to improve my distance for the event, I need to run more 1-milers this week to get more speed down. I wouldn’t have had that feeling if I waited until the actual event to see I needed more training in the run portion of the event.

Even though I’m not going for a medal (or am I for my age group at least?), it is still wise to put in the miles, tests, and trails to get a sense of where you stand, what you need to improve, and to help guide you the day of the event or launch. When you put in the miles, your mind knows you’ve done your best to prepare for what is ahead. It is then only up to you to do your best and succeed. Wish me luck next week!  

Wednesday Wisdom: Business Gratification Meter

March 15, 2023

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

Sometimes knowing what we don’t like to do guides us better then things we love to do.

Take the month of March for example when many of us have tax appointments and staring at the black and white expenses and revenues of another year in business glares at us. I typically need sunglasses to examine the glaring bottom line of my business, sometimes higher than I projected and sometimes not so much. Examining numbers all day, which always leads to a headache, is one reason I transferred from being an accounting major to a general business major in college.

When it comes to the yearly duties of sales, I discovered eleven years into my second company, a very sales-heavy business, that making cold calls, selling hundreds of events, obtaining sponsorship monies, and renewing thousands of memberships on a yearly basis burned me out. Sure, sales are the lifeblood of a business – especially if you are a solo entrepreneur – but instead of feeling like blood gushing through my body energizing me, it was draining me after doing so much of it. All I wanted to do was “do” what I was good at – planning events, public relations, writing, and inspiring women.

Then almost 20-years into being a business owner, I rediscovered my childhood passion of sports as losing all my hair stopped me from wanting to speak at events, but rather cover my bald head in a pink cap and get outside to breathe and accept a new me and a changing business life. Again, not wanting to speak with a wig on or dress the part of a successful business owner, in traditional terms that is, led me to set a new lifetime goal.

So what do you NOT like to do anymore – write, promote, count numbers, sales, or market constantly? By focusing on what you don’t want to do anymore opens up your future to something different. It could be adding staff to take over the tasks you don’t like or hiring another woman in business to do that work for us. Perhaps, it is moving out of a main part of your business, into a new division that excites you more and what your customers want? 

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to have you focus on what you don’t like to do and then find a solution and plan to stop doing it. Decide to move in another direction or hire someone or at least acknowledge it to yourself so you can grow into a different part of your company. We all need to stop and take inventory, not only of our supplies and financial figures, but of our gratification level, especially if we are a long time business woman running our own operation.

I hope today you focus on moving away from what you hate to do and into more of what you love to do so you have a new direction, goal, or attitude the rest of 2023.

Why I Love International Women’s Day

March 8, 2023

Inspiration for International Women’s Day

Every morning I look at my Twitter feed to find a new post from my International friend Jo Moseley. Jo and I met last year in England when we ran on the same all women team in the “Women Can Marathon” in Devon. I wanted to run overseas and only with women. Through the International Organization 261Fearless, I found 3 women to run with; each one from a different country. Tanja was from Switerland and working in the Netherlands, Jo was from Northern England and Josie was from Malta. I was the lone American teaming with “brilliant” women from other countries.

Devon, England 2018 with Tracy’s International Team of Women #261FEARLESS

To say, I was impressed with the immediate connections when we formed the team, is an understatement. I’ve supported American women entrepreneurs for 24 years and only one of my members is from overseas – Chen Zucker from Israel. In 2015, I met Kathrine Switzer who opened my world to International women including women from Australia, Iceland, Austria, New Zealand, Malaysia, England and France. I have also met fantastic women from all over America with 261 Fearless especially women in Texas, Chicago, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts. My world filled up with wonderful, warm female connections from all over the globe making me feel like I really belonged and could bond from women from anywhere.

Katherine Switzer and Tracy Higginbotham – Boston Marathon 2017

Today on International Women’s Day, I am so happy I met Kathrine and my International running friends. I know if I go anywhere in the world to travel, I can find a friendly 261Fearless female friend to talk and run with. My life experiences before 2015 were with American women, who I still adore, but now I have a world of women relationships that make my life so much richer.

I hope today you decide to take one step forward to connect or expand your relationships and networks with women who live in different countries. The photo above is me a few years ago having dinner with new Canadian women business owners. Support women in your local, regional or state communities. Hold out a hand to women across our great nation. Fly overseas and embrace an International woman. Let’s keep becoming friends and supporters of women everywhere on the globe. Let’s fight for female justice and equality in all things, in all countries.

Team #261Fearless in Devon, England at the Women Can Marathon

Happy International Women’s Day!

Monday Motivation: Running Freely

March 6, 2023

Monday Motivation, Inspiration for Women, Women Entrepreneurs, Women Who Like Sports

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Secret3k

Do you remember the last time you weren’t free to do something you wanted?

Maybe when you were 17 years old and wanted to vote or when your older sibling could drive but you couldn’t because you were too young?

Perhaps it was years ago when as a woman you wanted your own credit card but credit companies didn’t give them to women alone, they needed a male co-signature.

Living in America, women are used to, for the most part, being able to do anything men can do. Although there are many inequalities still facing women, like pay inequality, for the most part we participate in all activities men do.  So it can be shocking to hear about situations when women globally or in even in the USA in domineering relationships were they aren’t allowed to do what they want.

It is a reason I run in the Secret3K each year to help bring awareness during International Women’s Week to promote equality. It started in 10 cities across Canada and has grown each year. The 3K raises funds for incredible groups such as 261Fearless, Girl Guides of Canada, the Marathon of Afghanistan, and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan I ran it last year by myself but will run with 2 other women on Wednesday.  There is still time for you to join us in Syracuse or run virtually anywhere.

Eliza Fletcher from The Tennessee Star

Last year I stepped out of my house at 4:30 a.m. to run for Eliza Fletcher who was abducted and killed during her A.M. fun in Memphis, TN because women shouldn’t be afraid to run in the dark anyplace in fear of being stopped, hurt, or killed. It was easy for me to walk out my door and run freely, but not every woman can do that in their community or nation. We must keep that message alive.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Running for Eliza at 4:30 a.m.

I hope that today’s blog post gives you something to think about, potentially run for, and keep talking about to help women everywhere gain the freedom they need to live like men, freely, doing anything they want to do. 

Happy 18th Anniversary – Surviving in Business Tips

March 3, 2023

When you envision a business, you never know what it will really look like, or how long it will exist. SBA statistics don’t favor eager entrepreneurs outlasting more than one or three years on average. There are multiple factors that make or break a business early on, as they grow, and as the marketplace changes with competition, outside forces like a Covid-19 pandemic, and technology. So, how is a enterprise to survive for close to 2-decades?

Here is my wisdom on the subject as I celebrate the 18th year of my second company and almost 30 years as woman entrepreneur:

* You must LOVE what you do. You want to get up everyday and run your business. You look forward to every new day.

* You must LOVE the people you serve. Customers are much more than numbers or revenue, they are people you have the joy of being with for as long as they are involved with you.

* Remain flexible when the marketplace changes and unexpected obstacles happen.

* Being tenacious, undaunted, and steadfast in getting through a crisis or downturn helps you rise back up in time.

* Continue education in all subjects areas related to running a solid business.

* Seek out advisors if you get in over your head and need expert advice.

* Market like you have never marketed before.

* Make PR your best friend.

* Learn to love sales and do it daily. If you don’t, your company well will dry up.

The most important key to success in business is to have people dedicated to your mission and vision, who are willing to share your business with others and excitedly drawn new people to you. Never underestimate praise, thankfulness, and even love to keep them near and dear to you and your business. It is okay to have love language as part of your mission.

I wish you many more years of success ahead. If I can ever be of service to you, please let me know. I am here to help anyone, any time I can.

Thursday Thoughts: No More Bootstrapping to Grow

March 2, 2023

Thursday Thoughts on Money, Investment, Growth for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

I remember the tipping point clearly. The point when I decided to look into finance options to grow my company staff to keep up with business demand. I had pushed away the thought of getting a loan or credit line because I was worried about strapping myself financially. If I could just squeeze it all out on my own – the money, time, commitment – then I would make more money faster and succeed.

Little did I know that as soon as I committed to hiring my first part-time staff person, who focused on all the non-revenue producing tasks on my business’ to-do-list daily, I would be free to make more sales calls and entice sponsorship dollars to fund her position and my own. Little by little, the revenue grew, and we worked out the path to growing the company until she left for a better career position after a year.

What happened next is a common tale, I reverted back to the old ways and along with it revenue decreased, and I became comfortable again doing all the work myself, content to just keep the business at a certain growth plain. I was burnt out on sales and seemed content to spend more time with my sons who were leaving for college. It was another choice, most women entrepreneurs tend to make, choosing family over business growth. Again, not a bad choice, just a personal one, and one I never regretted. 

Could I have been a million-dollar revenue business like other women I watched grow their businesses, adding staff, and expansion offices along the way, sure I could because I had the drive, marketplace interest and reputation but in the end, I settled for a more manageable way to live my life and be a woman entrepreneur.

As yesterday marked the beginning of another Women’s History Month, the conversation on most online programs I saw were focused on pay equality and advancing women in business and careers. When it came to discussion on the obstacles facing female business owners growing their companies as fast as men, the factors discussed were:

·         Women were proud they can bootstrap their own company’s growth.

·         Women were not as well educated on the financial options to grow their business.

·         Females didn’t realize how much more they could accelerate their growth with financing

So, if you are reading this post today and are trying to grow your business or are burned out from doing too much because you can’t add staff, equipment or services due to financial constraints or bootstrapping, consider talking to your banker, the SBA or other financial programs to learn and take action.

Women won’t advance like men financially in business, unless we take some of the same steps they take to grow and accelerate.

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