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Wednesday Wisdom: Time to Train?

May 25, 2022

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

When I think back to being trained to serve others, my mind drifts back to being taught how to roll the perfect ice cream scoop into a sugar cone at Friendly’s when I was 16 years old or being taught how to serve food on the service line at Lakeside Dining Center at SUNY Oswego a couple years later. As a woman entrepreneur, I took business training courses in accounting, marketing, and planning, but never in food or customer service for someone else.

But the past four weeks have taught me the importance of training volunteers (in my case) or staff in the rules, mores, and literal duties in an organization. When I think of the highlights of my training in a non-profit organization who serves the hungry one day a week, it involves listening, understanding, questioning, and a willingness to represent the outfit you are “working” for in their ways, not your own. I’ve never sweated so much in a work environment as I have the past month since my own company doesn’t require me to train myself for work.

I suppose I have specific ways I conduct business, like writing every Wednesday Wisdom like clockwork on Tuesday for launch to 2,000 women at 7 a.m. every single Wednesday morning for the past 18 years, or buying fresh flowers for my live events gifting them to the presenters, sponsors or special guests. I even recently took up videotaping a daily Tik Tok video as part of my playbook in consistency, outreach, and branding. I have methods; but I don’t think of my daily or weekly tasks that way. I just do them. I’m a solo entrepreneur.

So, if you have been in business, like I have for almost 3 decades, could you easily pick out important training tasks, situations, products, services, or communication styles to train your next staff member or intern? If someone wanted to buy your business today, could you easily construct those methods and share mores for the next owner? How important is it to you to be consistent and on brand with what you developed all these years?

If it has been a while since you were trained in anything new for your company or trained to do something, like volunteering, for another organization, do you think it would be easy or difficult? Could someone teach an old dog like you a new trick, or would you be sweating so no one noticed you miscounted something or forgot a computer command after being instructed how to do it (hypothetical questions of course).

Sometimes we are so proficient in running our own companies, we don’t take the time to write down our own procedures, checking them over, improving them, or documenting them for not only ourselves, but the next person who walks in our shoes. Summer is the perfect time to partake in this exercise so you are ready when a new person needs orientation or even to renew your own sense of organization. Good luck!

SeaTurtles, Sharks and SUP

May 23, 2022

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9ucbc-1232325

Come on a 7-minute journey to St. John’s Island and explore some new sports to try once in your lifetime – especially if you are a middle-aged woman. 

Monday Motivation: Keep Your Spirit From Getting Restless

May 23, 2022

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

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Sea Turtle Adventure

You know you are onto something really good when a new goal you set lights your spirit on fire. The “knowing” is not a logical phenomenon but a soul lifting one. I experienced this last week on a family vacation to the beautiful U.S. Virgin Island of St. John’s, tucked away among other islands in the indescribable turquoise, emerald, aqua blue color of the Caribbean.

With my half completed, long list of every sport to try once in my lifetime, I knew this was a week to slay a few of them, little did I know the pure excitement they would hold.

The Higginbotham’s Deep Sea Fishing Excursion – St. John’s Island


The week began with a deep-sea fishing trip in 6-foot ocean swells. Feeling like we were in the movie “The Perfect Storm” we rode the waves for an hour to get to the perfect North Rim where tuna was hanging out. Snagging four at the same time, one of our tunas was ingested by a 10-foot, 400-pound Dusky Shark, as witnessed by all after a 2-hour reel-in-fest by the men on the boat. I wanted to reel the monster in too but was told I might get pulled overboard so instead I held the backs of the stronger men on the boat and participated that way while checking deep sea fishing off my list.

Following that adventure, our family made its way mid-week to an island bay known for sea turtles. With my new Mother’s Day gift of a Go Pro for my new lifetime feat of trying every sport once, we shot photos and videos swimming with these gentle sea turtles – another first for my athletic list – although I’ve snorkeled before, but never with these ocean beauties.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Stand Up Paddle Board – St. John’s Bay


The last day we ventured over to the larger Cinnamon Bay,  only to discover to my delight one more item on my sporting list – Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP). The wind was wild, the waves choppy, but my attitude as always was adventurous. $75 later almost giddy with excitement I jumped on the board. To say, I loved the experience is an understatement, it was wild, freeing, challenging, and down-right exciting. Did I fall? Yes, once. The first time. Did I get up and try again, and again, and again succeeding? Yes, I did. Do I have a new sports love? Yes, I do.  

Today’s Monday Motivation post is to remind you that trying new adventures, whether in business, life or sports, is what your soul needs to truly live. Resting on what we know is good only up to a certain point in time. When our soul gets restless, we must revise and realign with new visions and goals and then do all we can to achieve them. So, announce your intentions out loud for all to hear, then “jump on board” and get going to experience a new ride of a lifetime.  


Find Tracy’s Adventures via Podcast at: https://poolsidechats.podbean.com/ or
via TikTok at https://www.tiktok.com/@tracychigginbotham or
her Women’s Athletic Network website http://www.womenties.com/womensathleticnetwork/

Women You Can Say It, Really!

May 12, 2022

Thursday Thoughts, Money Matters, Equality for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

As I listened to a well-produced online conference by the Women’s Business Collaborative, a global organization whose mission is, “We will not rest until there is equal position, pay, and power for all business women,” I tuned into the entrepreneurial panel portion of the event. The WBC has a range of corporate women and female business owners in their membership and I wanted to hear the conversation by a moderator and 3 panelists for my 30-year business target audience of solo and small woman owned enterprises.

By the middle of the conversation, I realized this group was speaking to newer female entrepreneurs mostly and not mature ones, like me, an almost 30-year entrepreneur who purposely choose to keep my company small. Not every woman wants to grow their companies beyond $100,000+ in sales, like most of the female entrepreneurs in the marketplace. For those who do, there is another lane, organizations specifically focused to help them on staffing, legal, financial, and other larger concerns to pursue.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, Women TIES President, holding our mission sign.

I piped in the comment section because periodically someone on the panel would talk about giving or doing business with men. I get so frustrated that female organizations still suggest giving work to men when women don’t get fair compensations due to a lack of a pay equality law. What is wrong with women saying, I’m only spending my money with women, or hiring women, until women are paid equally in all career spectrums?”

I am not discriminating against men; they get paid higher than women. They typically get more government contracts than women. They don’t have to fight as hard as women do to keep all their rights. All I wanted to say to them was “Come on, women it is okay to buy from, and hire women, first and foremost, we aren’t going to offend men, and if we do, then they’ll never truly understand what women fight for or experience and why it is so important.”

Sure bring men to the table to support women, but in the meantime if each woman spent her entire allotment of money with women entrepreneurs, female sales representatives, and hire women before men, then we might get somewhere. Until then, we’ll keep bashing our heads against a glass ceiling that won’t break. Women must be bolder and more decisive in their financial expenditures and then tout it from the rooftops moving and motivating every women to follow their lead.

 

Wednesday Wisdom: Upgrading Your Tech Knowledge

May 11, 2022

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

When I left the corporate world in 1995 to start my first company, I walked away from a wealth of knowledge and staff support. Little did I know looking back on history that 1995 was, “The Year Everything Changed” according to Fast Company. When I was employed, I had the extension number to our technology team right at my fingertips anytime I needed them. Periodically, I was required to attend computer program trainings taught by professional staff. I knew them, they knew me. They knew their technology, and I didn’t.

If you don’t remember what transpired in 1995, here are a few highlights:

* In March, a San Francisco Bay software engineer wanted to use email to spread the word about local news to his friends. His name was Craig – aka the founder of Craig’s List.

* A month later, another startup called Electric Classifieds launched a dating service for $9.95 a month. It eventually became Match.com.

* By mid-1995, an online merchant headquartered in Seattle went into the online business specializing in books with a love for the name of the longest river in Africa and Amazon.com was born.

* A few months later, a company called General Magic created software to give people the ability to auction off items eventually becoming eBay.com.

Can you remember where you were when 1995 rolled out new websites as fast as a microwave popping popcorn? Although popcorn gets stale, these four companies have remained fresh in the marketplace for 27 years. You might have been like me wondering how you would even learn how to use this new technology?

Well, of course like always I hired a woman entrepreneur who built my very first website Five Star Events in 1997, with the capability back then to make changes to it whenever I needed so I didn’t have to keep paying her to do it for me. I learned. I grew. I kept taking courses. I hired smart women. I couldn’t have advanced otherwise.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that there are some areas of entrepreneurship that demand professional support to succeed. I would bet most female business owners need support in the world of changing technology because it advances so quickly. Not every woman has a head for coding, transcriptions, and algorithms, so hire the ones that do. We simply can’t learn everything we need to learn to run our companies successfully unless we get support in the areas we can’t conquer.

Don’t sit around eating stale popcorn trying to figure out your next technology advancement or move. Get a fresh bowl and hire a female professional who can help you (or join us on June 16th for a special online event). Then maybe 2022, will be the year that everything changes for you.

Tuesday Thoughts: Know Your Why

May 10, 2022

Inspiration, Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Companies

Women TIES “Why”

The room was full of positive energy, hugs and joy. The women who gathered at this special luncheon were not there just to network or learn something new; they were there to celebrate one of their own. The keynote speaker was a familiar local entrepreneur with bountiful spirit, a joyful laugh and an award winning take on business.

Entrepreneurship can be lonely at times especially for the thousands of solo business owners who work all hours of the day, night and weekend to accomplish their dream. Their families do not always understand their drive, their decision to work for themselves or their satisfaction of a lower salary to follow their passion. Only other solo entrepreneurs understand.

During the Women TIES luncheon presentation the inspirational speaker told the audience one of her business success strategies. She said, “I believe your why should make you cry.” Women who run businesses often can lose track of their purpose after a hardship, troublesome period or economic turmoil. By focusing on the why, you rediscover your purpose, vision and mission.

Today’s post is to remind you to think about “why” you are in business. It might be for the creativity, flexibility, unlimited income potential; but it might also be for the way you make your customers feel, how they need you or how valuable your services or products are in their lives. Don’t ever lose track of the ‘why.’ Focus on it today.

When I drove home from the luncheon presentation I remembered my “why” because of a statement by a member as she left, “I have never seen a business event with so much affection in the room or the large number of women who have truly created strong positive relationships because of your organization. Thank you.” I am so grateful to all the women who have come through my company’s doors the past 27 years. I definitely know my why.

Monday Motivation: Lead, and Mother On, Women

May 9, 2022

Monday Motivation, Women Entrepreneurs, Home Based Businesses, Female Business Owners

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, Founder Women TIES and Women’s Athletic Network

Raising two sons as a feminist often made me wonder who my boys would be when they grew up. Would they be women-haters, turning away from all things women because their mother was so proud to be a female and worked endlessly to promote women in business, sports, and life issues? Or would they think women were awesome because they had a strong female role model? I had no way of knowing when I start my feminist business focus when they were 3 years old and 3 months old.

Adam, Tracy, Thomas Higginbotham – Sanibel Island, Florida

The boys grew up on the floor of my home business office where we worked together balancing our play time, nap time and work time successfully. As they grew, my “out of office appointments” were picking them up from school or watching one of their sporting events. After proving myself as a reputable female business owner, my long time clients didn’t care if my work schedule had to be flexible. They knew my priorities were with them and my sons equally.

Thomas and Adam Higginbotham – New York City – 2019

30 years later my oldest son is the only male working in an all-women’s sports practice in New York City as a Orthopedic Surgical Physician Assistant to a female surgeon. My youngest son is a Civil Engineer with a long time girlfriend and an affinity to shop and wear pink (men look great in pink by the way)! As the boys celebrated Mother’s Day with me via Facetime, as I opened up my new GoPro for my sporting goal o trying every sport once in my lifetime, they reminded me being your authentic, best self as a mother and business owner is the only way to live.

A quote by Catherine Beecher, an American Education in the 1800s, caught my eye today and reflects how women can influence the men in their life:

“Let every woman become so cultivated and refined in intellect, that her taste and judgement will be respected…so unassuming and unambitious that collision and competition will be banished…then, the fathers, the husbands, and the sons, will find an influence thrown around them, to which they will yield not only willingly but proudly.”


Lead, and mother on, women.

The Higginbothams – 2021 New York City Music Concert

Let’s Schuss Away with Alpine Skiing

May 6, 2022

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-yv2sj-121d7f5

Today’s podcast showcases the sport of Alpine Skiing – actually the first official sport Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham started at the age of 6. Come along to the slopes for a ten minute ride podcast. 

Wednesday Wisdom: March On

May 4, 2022

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

Women TIES in Susan B. Anthony Park

Yesterday’s news headlines shouted action as a leaked document from the Supreme Court hinted at a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade allowing states to outlaw the long-standing abortion policy in the United States. Is this a business topic, you might be asking yourself as you read my traditional Wednesday Wisdom editorial? Losing some newsletter readers to my vocal opinions on all-things women vs. all-things business is okay since my main mission in life is to support women first and foremost.

I’ve been a “good Catholic girl” by all standards – baptized, confirmed, wed in a Catholic ceremony, annual confessions, and rosary hours. The one issue I have a hard time giving my total acceptance to is abortion rights. I truly believe it is a woman’s right to choose what she should do with her body and life decisions above anything else. As a female advocate, it would make sense I feel this way. If the government doesn’t regulate my husband, two sons or two brother’s health decisions, then they shouldn’t control mine.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham holding Women TIES sign at Women’s March in DC 2017 as captured in the movie Seeing Allred

Above all things, I believe women have been treated unequally to men in many arenas in life, especially when it comes to equal treatment under law. Although my prime mission is to help women make more money due to pay inequality, I equally walk among my sisters fighting on the front lines in any issues where women don’t have the same rights as men. It simply maddens me.

At the 2017 Women’s March in DC with over 120 women traveling with me as their leader, I turned around to see women from another group carrying a humongous pink, knit uterus to bring attention to a woman’s right to choose. A million women marched for their individual and collective passion on all women’s issues and Roe vs. Wade was the most popular one from what I could see by signs and displays and talking to women along the route.

So, what is a woman to do if her convictions or societal rules are overturned, taken away, or not noticed? As Maria Shriver tweeted, “But here we are. So, you say you want a revolution? Well, we have one right here, right now.” Our work is not done. Our voices not silenced. We must continue to stand up for a women’s right in all aspects of life and business today and every day.

Jill Bates, Susan B. Anthony, Rachel McClean and Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham, Rochester 2017

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to motivate you to get or remain passionate about specific women’s issues that impact women today, and the girls of tomorrow. Our foremothers worked diligently to gain us some headway, but as you know that headway, gets pushed back time and again. We are the generation that must keep pushing forward for all things equal for our sisters in business and life. There is never a time to retreat until all things are even. 

If the world is going to change for women, women must change the world. – Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Roe Vs. Wade: My Personal Perspective on an Overturn in the Law

May 3, 2022

Women TIES, LLC Women’s March 2017 Sign Designed by Millet

As I drove home from one of the poorest neighborhoods in our community where I volunteer to feed the hungry, I turned on the news to hear more updates on the leaked news on the possibility of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade allowing states to outlaw abortion. I was waiting until tomorrow to share my opinion in my weekly Wednesday Wisdom to women entrepreneurs to my vast network, but realized I couldn’t wait. Buttoning my pink, feminist, authentic voice, that took 120 women to the Women’s March on DC, and attended every march since then, wasn’t going to work.

The Higginbothams – 2021

If there was an existing law that demanded my husband of 33 years and two adult sons and two brothers had to get vasectomies by the age of 35 to cut down on the number of births in the U.S., I would disagree as vehemently as I do about a law telling me, my sisters, and nieces, what to do with our bodies. It isn’t the government’s place to rule in this area. Period. It isn’t a male vs. female issue, it is an individual person’s issue. Point blank.

With a world full of so many more vital issues, like climate change and poverty, it is absolutely ridiculous to focus time, attention and money on abortion law. It has been hashed out for 45 years. Women don’t want to go back. We haven’t even gotten a pay equality law yet. Women make up 52% of the population. Enough is enough.

If I was faced with needing an abortion, I would not have one. It would be my decision based on my Catholic faith, but I would never tell another woman what to do with her body, her decision, and her life. I would never judge her. I would only ask how I could support her emotionally. I would care for her with compassion and understanding that a decision that big is personally difficult.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – 2022

Just when you think America is the place to live happily and freely, subjects like this arise riling up our foundation. Stop creating havoc where it isn’t needed, I say to government officials, and start focusing on solutions to more life-threatening global and national issues benefiting both men and women

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