Skip to content

Renew Your Business Vows

October 16, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Small Business Owners

There’s been an extra pep in my step, sparkle in my eye and joyful disposition radiating out of me since renewing martial vows a couple weeks ago. Unexpectedly, what I already knew in my life got clearer. Just like putting in new contact lens, the world became instantly brighter and more defined. Ever since the moment, I have wanted to renew my entrepreneurial vows with myself to see if the act has the same effect.

Not many of us make literal vows when we start an enterprise, promising to stick with our business, its goals and unexpected life expectancy when we complete the paperwork and open corporate bank accounts. But in an essence, we pledge through thick and thin, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, to stand by our business entities. We might not see the “until death do we part” element of it just like we can’t see the ups and downs we’ll face on our unique business journeys when we begin.

But on a day like today when the wind gently sweeps vibrant colored, dead leaves off the trees with summer’s end, knowing in six months they’ll return evergreen and vibrant, we should ponder the idea of renewing our business vows with ourselves. “I promise to….” and “I pledge…” are good beginnings to the recommitment statements you finish moving forward in business.

My husband and I wouldn’t have renewed our vows if we didn’t think we were in our 30 year marriage for the future; therefore renewing business vows should be something you want to do. Autumn is the perfect time to pour yourself a warm cup of cider or tea, meditate upon your desires, look back at the road you’ve traveled, always relishing in what you experienced, and then ask, “am I ready to recommit to my business and myself in this role as a woman entrepreneur for the near future?”

Your answer might surprise you. It’s okay whatever the clarity provides. Too often days lead into months and months into years before we revisit our commitment to our career choice. I never wavered in my decision to run a business although I added a second business, created divisions and expanded my territory all while bringing excellent events to the marketplace and giving women a marketing platform to advertise themselves to increase revenue and economic relationships.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant for you to consider renewing your business vows. Are you up for another 5, 10, 20 years of doing business? What are you willing to endure or what unrealistic expectations can you let go of? What is needed to sustain or grow your business into the future? What training or advice do you need to strengthen yourself moving forward? What must absolutely stay the same?

If you aren’t sure where to begin, take a walk outside among the falling leaves, breathe in the air, think about what you want to do and then when you are ready renew your vows. It’s okay if you realize you are done too. Things change and that’s all right; but provide yourself time to contemplate your commitment. I hope afterwards you have more clarity and vibrancy moving forward.

Monday Motivation: Starting a Day with Vitamin O and Vitamin F

October 14, 2019

Inspiration, Monday Motivation, Love on this Columbus Day for Women and Women Entrepreneurs

Ever since leaving the soft green hues of Sanibel Island’s warm waters two weeks ago where swimming, kayaking and long walks on the beach with my family, enveloped me in fun and fitness, I have missed feeling so healthy, whole and happy when outdoors in the elements.

Outdoors is where I want to reside as often as I can to feel the wind on my face, and even my hairless noggin, where I’ve come to accept my health condition of alopecia. If anything the struggles of the past year accepting the loss of all my hair, stripping me to my emotional and physical core and altering my identity, I’ve refocused a majority of my life on what brings me everyday joy – joy I can control.

As the cool 55 degree morning with brisk wind greeted me as I opened up my door, I knew immediately I needed a 15 mile bike ride before starting work promoting women entrepreneurs, women in sports and equality issues. How could I start my work week, especially on this Columbus Day when so many people are off of work, without giving myself the gift of the outdoors, fitness and joy? I’ve learned in a year full of health disappointments, that I can’t. A shot of Vitamin O (Vitamin Outdoors) and Vitamin F (Vitamin Fitness) are the only way to start my day.

As I glided over brittle, brown, orange and bright red leaves, under my bicycle tires, staring over my shoulders to the beautiful lake water, zipping past runners and people walking their pets, I felt a rush of happiness overwhelm me. In the middle of the typical long path, two women stopped to take a selfie but needed help. “Can you take a photo of us please?” Sure I replied as I jumped off my bike telling them I’ll do anything for women! They were so excited I helped. How easy the ask and gesture.

Deciding eight miles of biking in the fresh air wasn’t enough time, I continued over the green bridge to the other side of the park to bike an additional 7 miles, stopping once to take a photo of the yellow leaves and lapping lake water. Still feeling fresh, I turned my bike into the wind to pedal much harder back to my car past couples with children, sisters chatting, husbands running with wives biking and park workers setting up holiday displays.

Deciding to treat myself to an autumn flavored cold brew from Dunkin’ Donuts, the joy overflowed again as I told the cashier I wanted to buy the person behind me a coffee. I looked in my mirror to see a gentleman. Not caring it wasn’t a woman for once in my life, I told the cashier to tell him to “Have a HAPPY Day” she said she would as I drove away making myself even happier than I was after exercising.

Some day’s we need Monday Motivations to get up and face the work week, some day’s we don’t. I believe if you fill your morning with joyful beginnings, like exercise, helping others or simply gifting someone something unexpected, you give yourself all the motivation you need to have a great start to your week.

The Value of Long Lasting Customer Bonds

October 10, 2019

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business and Small Business

The last time I saw her, we were eating lunch at one of her favorite restaurants, a treat to me for working diligently on an event she hired me to coordinate for her organization. With that familiar Irish twinkle in her eyes, we enjoyed memories of nine years of working together although my business contract had come to an end. “You did such a great job for us Tracy that we can take over the duties you used to perform from here on out,” she gently said. “But you and I can stay in touch because we have formed a bond through work and I like you!” she continued.

Although we stayed connected through social media, that lunch was the last time I saw Anita, because even though Syracuse is a small city by some standards, it’s a large city where running into familiar people doesn’t always happen unless living in the same neighborhood. It didn’t take seeing Anita’s face to remember her spirit. Once in awhile on special occasions posted on social media, she would send encouraging words of support or share a humorous quip always making me smile.

How is it that customers come into our lives for short period of times only to last a lifetime in our memories? When I became a woman entrepreneur almost a quarter century ago next year, I underestimated the gift of customer friendships. Business books don’t discuss the topic of lasting client relationships; they only suggest providing excellent customer service. What happens when the contracts end but a business owner wants the relationship to continue? Can they last past contract deadlines and duties?

I’m proof they can last as I spend this morning at Anita’s funeral mass. I wouldn’t miss it for the world because in some ways Anita, and clients like her, are my world as a small business owner. The relationships entrepreneurs develop with their clients can go beyond black ink and into depths of our pink heart. I honor this special client relationship today by leaving my desk and business duties to rejoice in Anita’s spirit and friendship which lasted beyond a decade of contractual obligations.

I hope today’s blog post is a reminder to you that being a business owner means more than receiving a payout for work well done; sometimes it means a payment in love and friendship that lasts beyond time.

Perfect Reviews To Boost Business

October 9, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, female business owners, small businesses

Waking up each morning to beautiful blue skies, tropical breezes and a clear blue pool in a safe neighborhood on a tiny island in the south west corner of Florida, I realized the comments made on the VRBO website were spot-on. Standing hand-in-hand, next to my husband flanked by our two sons in the golden twilight on “our” special beach, a female celebrant and creative photographer enhanced our 30th anniversary vow renewal ceremony.

Having never planned such an important event in that part of the world, I relied on positive comments and photos from websites to book the house and special event vendors. After dancing the night away on the house deck with my three guys and swimming until midnight under the starry, balmy skies after the renewal ceremony, we settled into a blissful week of vacation filled with extraordinary good weather and lifetime memories.

The blissful vacation was all due to customer reviews – positive customer comments. If you are like me as a woman entrepreneur, you probably don’t ask customers for testimonials, ratings or public critiques as often as you should. When buyers have a plethora of choices to conduct social or corporate business, a business’ complimentary reviews, ratings and websites can lead unsure clients to the door. It might seem like adding one more task to your to-do-list but consider the payout if you land a client by only taking time to capture and publicize positive reviews.

If you know with certainty you offer outstanding goods and services producing high marks through customer compliments, why aren’t you collecting them routinely and sharing them for future buyers to see? Someone is more apt to buy from you if they read or see repetitive positive comments about your business. Unless they hear about you from word of mouth advertising, they might not know you run an outstanding business.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom hopefully inspires you to reach out to your best customers and ask them for a written testimonial, online Google review or Facebook star rating. If you receive written notes from satisfied customers, ask if the comments can be displayed publicly on social media, marketing pieces or on your website. If you don’t have a testimonial collection plan yet, create one and share it with all staff members so they can collect them too.

Our 30th Anniversary might not have been as nice without booking excellent vendors with stellar services due to fantastic critiques. My dancing at night, under the moonlight with my “new” old husband, might have found me crying in the pool instead. Don’t underestimate the joy of finding fantastic vendors, places and businesses to use to make your average or special experiences perfect.

Becoming More Creative in Business

September 25, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Small Business

Sitting comfortably in my pool house, painted the color of peanut butter with white fluff colored trim, I nestle into a mahogany chair. Wearing a pink hat and pink glasses, I test the volume of my computer and sip a cup of dark rich coffee waiting for a Zoom lesson in creative writing to begin.

At the ring of a bell my educator, a woman entrepreneur from Rochester, appeared on screen with beautiful blonde hair sitting in a soothing seafoam green room. “Good Morning,” she says. I’m giddy with delight to talk and learn as the cloudy skies finally allow sunshine to stream on my desk. Immersed in conversation, with a large white writing pad at my side, we begin our discussion which will lead me into a creative writing mindset to finish my first book. Most people probably think writing is easy for me since I’ve been writing a Wednesday Wisdom for fifteen years, but a book is a different type of writing especially when it’s about a life experience.

The hour and a half lesson, with fun writing prompts, goes fast. At one point after closing my eyes, I’m taken to a favorite meadow, sitting among tall grasses and wildflowers, to glean wisdom abounding from the setting. If you read my weekly inspirational newsletters, you already understand nature is a perfect inspiration for me. As the guide prompts questions and I write answers in long form, my journey as a more creative writer begins.

I envision myself sitting in a field nestled on my Italian grandparent’s eight acres of property situated 5 miles from my home in Rome. As I drift into the setting, I realize Sunday marks my grandparent’s 90th anniversary and my 30th wedding anniversary. Married on the same day, 60 years apart on purpose, I wonder if this intuitive writing guide instinctively tuned into the other realm. The words for the book spill out. I realize when the session is over, I needed both and to sense my grandparents again with our special joint day on the horizon.

I hope today’s Wednesday Wisdom inspires you to do one or two things. First, consider hiring a coach or consultant to help you get over any hurdle in your business. It could be a creative hurdle like mine or a financial, business or planning hurdle. Second, plan time in your calendar to be creative. Creativity comes in many entrepreneurial forms such as writing, speaking, designing, planning and collaborating. What areas of your business world could use more creativity? Do you need prompts like I did to settle into a creative mind frame to advance your work? If so, do something constructive so you can move forward.

Before there were coaches and consultants, I hired a graphic designer and artist to open up my creative self. I needed to get inside their minds to transform my own vision. Time spent with an artistic woman was always beneficial and complimented my logical mind. Sometimes opposites attract and in doing so help create new visions and opportunities for a business.

Horseback Riding, Women Entrepreneurs and Economic Connections

September 13, 2019

Inspiration, Motivation and Insight for Women Entrepreneurs and Women in Business

In the deep chill and white abyss of winter, today’s gallop through Highland Forest on the leather saddle of my horse Apollo will be remembered with fond memories. Past fields of goldenrod swaying in the wind, faces full of tree leaves every time my horse dropped his head suddenly to chew on grass and the amber light hitting deep green leaves making them reflect gold, I took in the adventure. As our horses swayed us back and forth upon their sturdy backs on dirt trails, they transformed us to a meditative state of mind.

Going horseback riding was a bucket-list item of mine for awhile since I haven’t been on a horse since childhood. Every day my office window faces a horse barn with these beautiful creatures munching on grass or sunning themselves in the light. By now I should have walked over to my neighbors and paid for a lesson but that would be too easy; instead I dreamed of riding horseback on a late summer day like today with other women.

What I’ve learned for six years producing quarterly athletic and outdoor adventures for women entrepreneurs is how easy it is for them to bond with each other. Remove them from a computer and office restraints and even a boring hotel venue and they become alive more willing to share their interests, needs and opinions. No matter if I take women white water rafting, zip lining, or supporting women basketball players at a game, they’re happy. We finally tapped into what men have been doing for years – doing business on the golf course and enjoying it.

At the end of riding, through stunning vistas upon majestic animals, we chatted over snacks and drinks sharing sales questions, management challenges and rebranding issues. These women didn’t know each other until the moment they got on the horses and voila an hour and a half later we could easily share thoughts about disappointments, fears and hardships in laughter and support.

In a business world that keeps changing from set office hours to 24/7 response time, and stale office settings to pool house office space, women are adapting, changing and contributing to the economy the way they like. Entrepreneurship offers freedom and flexibility so spending a Friday afternoon networking via horseback made perfect sense to the women who joined me.

With laughs, comes trust and with shared experience, comes faster more intense connections. Women are different from men in so many ways and one of them is allowing themselves time to not only be serious about their business, but fun-loving when an opportunity arises. My hope when an experience like today’s is over is that the women who attended feel relaxed, joyful, connected, and ready to do business in the future with the women they bond with on the adventure.

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration and Love on the Anniversary of 9/11

September 11, 2019

Inspiration and Love on 9/11

Flying into the beautiful blue sky this morning, just as blue as it was 18 years ago today, are new friends traveling to our nation’s capitol to lobby for wigs for alopecia sufferers to be accepted as medical prosthetics, not beauty adornments. After taking 120 women to the Women’s March in Washington in January 2017, I thought about the thrill of returning again to DC to stand up for something I believe in. Then the image of the second plane, piercing through one of the Twin Towers in New York City with my friend Dan Brandhorst in it, made me retreat from the invitation to stay safe at home.

In an early morning text message to my friends, I told them to fly safe and lobby well knowing I would be there in spirit. I hate the feeling of fear. I’ve hated it ever since 9/11/01 when flying became a dangerous, painful threat in my psyche. I often wonder if I’d be less fearful if I didn’t have a friend die in that plane. Fear has slowly loosened it grips on my life accepting the fact my sons live and work in New York City and when I reluctantly fly for vacations or work; but it is far from gone especially on today’s anniversary.

Being brave means having courageous behavior or character like the guys in United Airlines 93 plane that attacked the hijackers crashing the plane and ending their lives in a Pennsylvania field or like Welles Crowther, an American equities trader and volunteer firefighter known for saving 18 lives and losing his own on 9/11. I’ve been brave many times in my life like running in the 2017 Boston Marathon, starting two businesses, and standing up for women’s rights. Overcoming fear is exhilarating; but bravery doesn’t appear when I decide to fly. I just do it praying to God he has the plane in the palm of his hand. It’s the only visualization I use to board.

When fear moves to freedom it means we claim the power to act, speak or think again without hindrance or restraint. Most days I’m free of 9/11 memories and fears except for today when the images and thoughts of my friend overwhelm me. I pray we never experience another day like that just like I continue to pray for the people who were killed that day and their families and friends.

My friend Dan was a risk taking guy and he would never be afraid to fly again after an incident like 9/11. He would move on with his life traveling coast to coast as a tax accountant enjoying his life with his partner and son. Because of this thought, I continue to push past my fear into a new light where he would want me to be and live.

%d bloggers like this: