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Monday Motivation: Start Your Writing Career Today

November 18, 2019

Marketing Monday, Inspiration, Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, women in business, small businesses

January 15, 2009 was the day I was convinced to start writing for my business. The inspiration came high above Cayuga Lake on the Heights near Ithaca College where a local female bar owner presented “Blogging for Business – The Hottest Marketing Tool for 2009” to my audience of 30 women entrepreneurs. I’ve produced hundreds of events in my career so not all of them resonate and linger in my memory, but that one did.

My second business was only 4 years old with most of my marketing budget spent on creating it; so like other women entrepreneurs I was looking for hot marketing trends to promote my business and myself. Distinctively I remember Amelia Sauter said, “You don’t have to write a blog post every day to be successful; start with one post a month if you must but get writing.” It sounded easy since every week I was writing an inspirational “Wednesday Wisdom” for my state-wide audience of businesswomen. I knew minimally I could post once a week using the wisdom in my new blog.

I learned quickly I was forming a habit by writing weekly. As experts say, “Habit formation is the process by which new behavior becomes automatic like someone who instinctively reaches for a cup of coffee after waking up has a habit.” Call it duty or loyalty to a commitment, I wrote my Wednesday Wisdom every single Wednesday and have for 15 years straight, making it a habit. The funny thing about habits, they become really enjoyable and so it was with me and writing.

So when it came time to write my first book, “Under the Rose-Colored Hat,” I thought it would be natural since I was a proven, gifted writer for fifteen years. Well, the funny thing about writing a non-fiction book on my personal story of growing up with inspirational, well dressed and kind women, the pain of losing my identity with alopecia and discovering the kindness and compassion of others in the process, was it was hard. Words didn’t flow as easily as they do on any given Wednesday morning. I had to really think, write, re-write, proof, edit and read again for months before the book went for final layout (the state it is in now).

For once in my life, I had some writer’s block because I was detailing my own life’s experience with an important lesson to share. Never being a narcissist, it was difficult to know what to include or keep out of my copy. I had to stay the course, seek advice and finish the book accepting it as it was until I ready to launch another one.

Today’s marketing advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to get writing, even if its short, sweet weekly blog posts to inspire or educate your customers. You’ll discover an interest in working up to articles and eventually books, increasing your pace and commitment to writing. There are fantastic publicists and writing consultants to help you move onward if writing a book is a goal. Believe you can do it if you commit to the task of writing, making it a habit you can’t live without and helping to boost your marketing exposure at the same time.

Under the Rose-Colored Hat comes out December 2019 – learn more about it at this link. A special thank you to Kathrine Switzer, Founder of 261Fearless, for writing the testimonial.

Eyeing the Right Vendors

November 13, 2019

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

It was a dark, rainy night traversing the highway to seek help. Cars were driving slower than normal because of the time change, weather conditions and deer standing next to the road ready to pounce into the fast-paced traffic lanes. It was the third time in a week the trip was necessary. Wishing it was mid-June, when light and warmth abound, deer joyfully bucking in the forest and highway speeds normal, I rode patiently in the automobile as my husband drove.

At the end of the ride, we pulled into a well-lit parking lot damp from the freezing drizzle. A warm glow radiated from the beautiful office windows welcoming me into its interior. With one eye open and the other one swollen from shingles, I could see well enough to find my way to the front desk where a cheerful receptionist remembered my name and welcomed me back. “Take a seat,” she said with a smile on her face. The warming colors of the room enveloped me in comfort as I waited to see the doctor.

All of a sudden my reflective mood was jolted by the sound of a kazoo followed by the infamous “Happy Birthday” song coming from behind the receptionist counter. The sudden festivity of the moment made me smile and grateful for traveling so far for the appointment. Not everyone wants to spend their birthday at a doctor’s office so when it happens, it’s a pleasant surprise to be elevated with song and smiles.

The ophthalmologist was squeezing me in since the shingles developed on my eyeball so I had to wait patiently for her appearance in my room. The office manager, a familiar woman to me since this practice is a long-time member of my organization, came in to keep me company. My nerves settled as we spoke about life, business and family matters. Once the doctor appeared, the diagnosis was expertly made and I left trusting my eye sight would improve.

Settling back into the car for the same drive home, I said to my husband, “That visit was so worth the trip because I love the way that business welcomes their customers, the expert advice they give and the trust in their services.” I don’t think he rolled his eyes because I couldn’t see anyways but he knows I believe so strongly in my corporate mission of supporting women entrepreneurs regionally that he agreed and drove me home in the dark, rainy night.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you some of the best customer service you’ll receive will be from female entrepreneurs because women care. Women stay in business longer than men because they are natural caregivers and providers for others. In my opinion, they understand what other women need and deliver better practices and services. It could have been the kazoo that moved me to feel this way but I believe it was entire positive interactions in the visit.

Take a look at your customer service policy today and ramp it up a bit if you think you could be doing better for your clients. They are our companies’ life-blood. We want to think they’d drive an hour each way on a dark, formidable night to seek our help. If we are doing our job right, they will.

In Love With My Community

November 8, 2019

Friday Feeling, Inspiration, and Appreciation

Ever wake up one morning realizing you are part of a loving world? Perhaps that morning was the one after your wedding or after giving birth to a child, receiving an unexpected promotion at work with a big raise or finishing a marathon where you were carried to the finish line with cheers from the crowd? As a feeling of overwhelming peace and happiness embraces you that dawn, life is so beautiful.

This is the way I woke up today, the day after my 55th birthday. It was only seven months ago I appeared on the front page of my local newspaper in an article and photograph of my bald head and health condition. When the editors approached me about sharing my Alopecia diagnosis, I said “yes” immediately if it would help others know someone else had the disease in the community and to educate the masses about the condition. I wasn’t in it for the recognition and certainly not for a beauty contest! I made the decision from my heart, putting ego aside.

As $800 trickled in all day yesterday on my Facebook birthday fundraiser, with 100% of the donations going to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation to help find a cure for this disease that affects 6.8 million people globally, I realized I was living that kind of day that led to this morning when my heart has grown even larger.

Combined with another $4,500 raised in September at a local “Cuts for a Cure” by The Barber Shack, makes the current amount of money raised by friends and family at $5,300 in two months. I am deeply grateful for the people who have showed enormous love and affection to me and my cause the past few months. I am in awe of the abundance of good people in my circle.

In a few weeks, I’ll join a local family in speaking with two New York State Senators staff to ask for their support of a bipartisan bill to get passed in the House of Representatives and Senate to make wigs medical expenses and covered by insurance companies for people suffering from alopecia and cancer treatments. I plan on joiningthe National Alopecia Areata Foundation’s legislative volunteer committee to help with this endeavor.

Because of the support of so many people who have inspired me during this time in my life, I am equally inspired to help others with this disease and spread the good news of compassion, love and kindness in the world in a new book called “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” coming out later this month! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to everyone. You are loved by me.

November Can Bring Out the Best In Us

November 4, 2019

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

November is known as the month of Thanksgiving. Most of us think of this month full of sage-smelling aromas, bright cranberry sides, dark green earthy vegetables and American turkey. Besides loving this month because my birthday falls in the beginning of it, I have loved it for the warm-hearted spirit it produces in our nation. We pause to recognize our blessings both big and small.

This morning when I read the news and saw the photo of NYPD widow Lisa Tuozzolo who completed the 26.2 mile New York City Marathon in honor of her slain husband, I paused. The 43 year old woman lost her husband three and a half years ago in the line of duty. To honor him this year, Lisa ran not only for him, but to raise money for the Silver Shield Foundation, a charity that gives education funds to children of fallen officers.

The best part of the story for me wasn’t the fact this stoic woman ran her first marathon, because many of us do and I can speak of its power to finish one, but to raise money to help others. At each mile mark, a couple NYPD policemen got in and ran with her providing energy and love. Joining their mom at the finish line were sons Austin and Joseph ages 7 and 6 to make it extra special.

The world doesn’t show its kindness in this way all the time so soaking up this New York Post story made me realize how amazing most people are – like Lisa, her brave husband and his fellow policeman. I have witnessed this kind of loving support when I ran the 2017 Boston Marathon with Team 261 Fearless, during my fundraising efforts to eradicate alopecia in the form of many fundraisers like the one I have going now on Facebook at this link, and in everyday life. Goodness is all around us if you look for it.

During this month of November, why not pledge to do something really good for someone else, an organization, community members in need or someone in your family who is struggling. My new book “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” will soon be printed and focused on part of this theme. I hope it helps change the world from my vantage point this November because I am so thankful for the women entrepreneurs who stuck by me, family and friends who supported me and strangers who hugged me based on my baldness. The world is so much better than we hear on the news – unless they are producing a story like Lisa Tuozzolo’s.

P.S. In case you didn’t know, many major city marathons give charity bibs to non-profit organizations to help them raise money for their cause. Runners who wouldn’t typically time-qualify for a major marathon can run by “donating money” to get a bib and support a cause near and dear to their heart. Check it out and sign up for one!

Using Humor in Business

October 30, 2019

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

Zig Zilar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Thinking back to business class syllabuses, I don’t remember “Humor in Business” as a mandatory course. But some of the greatest corporate icons use humor to talk business. “I choose the lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it,” says Bill Gates.

Blessed with a keen sense of wit, and sometimes slap-stick humor from my parents, I use humor at events and writing to bring a chuckle, smile or spark in someone’s eye. I love levity, especially in the serious matters of life and entrepreneurship. How else does a woman business owner get through rejected proposals, unruly clients, shifting economic environments and mercury retrogrades (aka tech problems)?

As evident by tomorrow’s date, consider the funny or light hearted costumes you or other people wear on Halloween to express their witty side. My favorite costume in 1975 wasn’t the Big Fig Newton (that was my sister’s); it was the Statue of Liberty. Even young, I had to put on a good “public” face in the crowd. How much more noble than the Statue of Liberty can you get? Halloween allows people once in the year to walk around in apparel to spread laughter to others.

This year I will be dressed up as a bald, one eye patched feminist pirate to complement my current alopecia baldness with the new shingles diagnosis on the right eye and side of my head. A lovely combination at that! One worthy of leading and educating a prestigious group of highly successful New York State women entrepreneurs – wouldn’t you say? As if being bald hasn’t wiped out my physical identification as a women entrepreneur, a patch over my right eye sure does!

The “beauty” of today’s insight is to be honest with you about my current situation hoping if you are facing a bad spot in business or life, you know you aren’t alone. 24 years of supporting women in business means sharing the very best and worst of times knowing we are sisters in this journey. Remember, I’m always here to help.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you to periodically look at difficult work days with some levity of your own. When harsh realities of life strike, realize it could impact your business life and that’s okay. We are not perfect business women 100% of the time. There are such things as vacation and sick days we can employ just like our corporate friends. If a situation removes you from duties longer than expected, simply communicate your situation or timeline with customers so they are aware. Use a sense of humor if it helps.

Remember if you see any typos in today’s post, it’s because I’m typing with only one eye to get this message to you on time, Never stop laughing!

The Key Behind Long-Lasting Customer Relationships

October 23, 2019

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Small Business

Sometimes I find opening my email inbox as exciting as opening a Cracker Jack Box (yes, they still exist), excited to see who from my buried past wants to communicate again. With a long professional career in higher education and entrepreneurship including two businesses and multiple corporate divisions, I never know whose reaching out. With a thirty-year career, it could be anyone in today’s tech savvy world.

When I receive a call or email from a long-lost business associate, member or event attendee, I’m honestly excited to hear from them. Today after someone contacted me, I wondered how long a woman entrepreneur holds onto client relationships after business is done. Thinking Google would have the answer, I searched to find a lot of relatable topics but not an exact one. When it comes to holding on to tax records, the internet says six years. Another article suggested ten ways to make customers fall in love with your company. I couldn’t find anything on the average length of time entrepreneurs and clients stay connected after business is done.

I liked some of the topics found, “15 Tips to Keep Customers,” “4 Ways to Increase Retention Rates” and “How 9 Successful Companies Keep their Clients” but none of them answered my question. The closest I got to an answer was an article called, “How to Build Long-Term Relationships with Your Customers.” After digging deeper, I saw it only addressed building a customer base, staying in touch via social media and rewarding loyal customers. What I was searching for on the Internet was how to create the intrinsic bond that ties customers to business owners for a long time.

I tried another Google search which led to an article by Brian Tracy called, “8 Undeniable Tips to Keep Customers for Life.” I thought I found what I was looking for until the answer was about “Focusing on the Second Sale,” “Resales and Referrals are Free,” and “Ask for a Review and Generate Word of Mouth Advertising.” I realized the answer I was searching for comes from the heart and not Google.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom might encourage you to research some of the customer service topics I found during my search to improve your customer relationships. You might want to ponder how your longest customer relationships developed and try to replicate them with others clients. The inspiration might also alert you to customers you want to treat better to ensure they stay in your life long after the business transaction is over.

I believe the key to having successful long-lasting customer relationships that evolve into friendships and unexpected emails are based on the affection you show them every time you worked with them. Touch their heart and you remain in their mind forever. You can’t find that in a Cracker Jack box.

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.

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