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Ice Cold Ideas for a Successful Life

December 12, 2019

Inspiration, Motivation, Thursday Thoughts, Wednesday Wisdom for women entrepreneurs, small business and women in business

I remember the day I was challenged to dump an ice-cold bucket of water on top of my head to support a national phenomenon. My son was filming the action when I dumped the bucket of ice water on my head and then half jumped, half dove into my pool which was right next to me. For some reason, the video has made me the laughing stock of my family. To be honest, I understand why my awkward attempt to do more than just dump the water on my head made them laugh.

My oldest son Thomas went to Boston College and was part of the athletic department as manager of the men’s basketball team for four years so when we heard of Pete Frates, a captain for the BC baseball team, diagnosed with ALS we were saddened like many. Thomas also knew Dick Kelly, the Boston College Media Relations Specialist, who battled the disease, loved the basketball team and died from it. I also knew someone with it, a friend named Mark Airel, which made me eager to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds and a cure for ALS.

The biggest take-away for me in the past year running my business, while dealing with alopecia, is the realization that life and business goes on when you have a medical diagnosis. Fortunately for me, alopecia is not a life-threatening disease only a life-altering one. But Pete’s death this week, after a seven-year championship run with the deadly disease, reminded me that sometimes life’s lessons are not to defeat us but to lift us to a higher place where we can make a difference for others.

Sometimes there isn’t a reason or rationale for being dealt bad luck in business, poor health, unhappy marriages or defeats in corporate endeavors, but if we look at the challenges as opportunities to advance our strength, insight, and selves while helping to give back, share or comfort others going through a similar situation, then our sorrows turn into unexpected abundance. It was a reason I took the risk of publishing my first book about the loss of my self-identity and lessons in kindness and compassion since becoming a bald woman. Instead of thinking, “Why me?” and being sad, I thought, “How can I help others in a similar situation?” and then I acted.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you we all face challenges. There is no escaping the truth of life’s full experience. Some of us are dealt a better hand than others and the choice is all about what we do with that hand? Can we find fortune where there is ruin or wellness where there is sickness or hope when there is none? I believe we can. I know I have. I continue to believe it is a choice as evident by Peter Frates who decided to take his diagnosis and turn it into good for others facing the disease in the future.

When we choose to focus on the positive things we can do with our businesses and lives, we might just end up like Pete raising 100 million dollars for research and a cure while touching the lives of millions with a cool bucket of ice-cold water.

An Early Christmas Present

December 6, 2019

Friday Feeling, Inspiration and Motivation for Women and Women with Alopecia or Breast Cancer

Huge, white snowflakes dotted the air as four new female friends exited the government building. Thirty minutes prior, they did not know each other although they are connected by a medical diagnosis hidden under real hair wigs and a rose-colored hat. The government guards asked for photo identification when they first arrived never noticing anything out-of-the-ordinary about their appearance.

Thirty minutes earlier the women, along with the father of one of the young women in attendance, shared their struggles with their diagnosis of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that affects 6.8 million people in the U.S. One woman brought the listeners to tears as she recounted her twenty-one year battle as a woman entrepreneur covering up her condition from customers and sharing heartache about her teenage son with the same disorder. Another very stylish woman who went last telling her story, admitted to wearing a wig since she was fifteen just like the young woman whose father brought her to the meeting to share why having a wig was essential for her well being.

I was wearing my new rose-colored hat, without a wig, so I could take off the hat and show the people at the table my baldness from the disease while speaking about losing my identity and revenue as a small business owner after a year and a half of losing my hair with medical sabbaticals. The stark look of my round, shiny head has become my unexpected business card in many ways and if I wanted to make an impact I felt I had to show it to our state senator’s assistants as we pleaded for their support of a bill that would make wigs an approved medical expenditure by insurance companies and Medicare. The fifteen-year-old girl was brilliant at explaining her struggles playing sports, being bullied at school and living a normal life. Her wig costs $10,000 to start and another $5,000 per year to maintain.

We knew we impacted the listeners who promised to share the bill and its importance with the senators. Realistically they told us, it might take some time, to get passed but they thought their bosses would back the small, simple bill. Emerging from the building with some hope for our shared plight, the snowflakes felt like a sign from heaven telling us we did well.

What else can you do but hope when you approach something new that could make a positive impact in the world? All it took was four brave women, one committed father, people listening with an open heart and a sign from above in the form of snowflakes to feel good about our efforts on behalf of so many other people. It was an early Christmas present, I won’t forget.

Look for the miracles this season.

To buy a copy of “Under the Rose-Colored Hat”, click here.

Close Connections A Must in Entrepreneurship

December 4, 2019

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

As the bright sun landed squarely on my eyes, I adjusted my computer camera sitting on top of my laptop at the window’s edge. I promised myself I’d work all winter long in the cold pool house using it as a respite from my traditional workstation in my warm and cozy house. With a scarf slung around my neck and snow boots on my feet, I turned up the heaters and prepared for my Facebook Live interview. Half joking I said, “Sure, Syracuse finally has sunshine when I have an interview.”

As the interviewer, a woman entrepreneur named Dale L’Ecuyer, appeared on the screen, she admitted having to pull curtains closed to shut out the light. We were both excited to literally see each other since it had been a while due to my medical sabbatical. A lot changes in a year and a half, as we discovered talking about changes in our lives and businesses. Dale was now taping a successful Facebook Live series called “Create Your Best Life” expanding her network of customers, viewers, and interviewees. Because of this success, Dale agreed to be a speaker at our December 12th Saratoga and Albany event sharing how using Facebook Live was growing her business.

As I wore my “Women Supporting Women” rose-colored hat, we talked about lessons learned from my medical sabbatical to enrich other listener’s lives. Some of the pointers included staying in touch with customers on a face-to-face basis, using new technologies to communicate differently, and being transparent about being away from business. Although I couldn’t see who was listening to the interview, I hoped it was making a difference.

To sum up the experience, Dale and I were two women entrepreneurs cross-promoting and cross collaborating on new technology to widen both circles and drive attention to our business services and products. We could do it because we were connected electronically. But to be honest with you, we are both more excited to see each other in person the following week when a friendly hug allows us to enjoy each other’s company.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is simply to remind you that as glorious as technology is in today’s business world, nothing can replace the heart-warming, face-to-face experiences we have with other humans in the same room at an event, at a meeting or sharing lunch. Women entrepreneurs must remember to use both forms of communication to stay connected to valuable people in their circles.

With technology, we are quickly in touch with people hundreds of miles away, but in person, we literally come in touch with others immediately enjoying a more in-depth experience. Don’t forget how that feels and the impact it makes in the short and long term.

Interested in attending the Women TIES Saratoga and Albany Event – Click here.

Interested in buying Tracy’s new book “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” – Click here.

Marketing Monday, Cyber Monday and Book Launches

December 2, 2019

Marketing Monday, Cyber Monday and Book Launch Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A quarter-of-a-century after starting my first business, I would have bet this aging woman entrepreneur would have known most topics related to running a small enterprise, but I was wrong. Being wrong sometimes is the best thing about entrepreneurship because we learn and learning helps us and others as we share lessons with them. Women entrepreneurs are awesome at sharing failures, unsuccessful attempts, and wounds from the brave life of running a company with other women. It is one of our strengths.

Launching my first book, “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” on Amazon, with the help of a knowledgeable book consultant, has been an eye-opening experience. I couldn’t have imagined cooking a Thanksgiving turkey for my family would correlate with checking the status of my brand new book’s ranking on Amazon. At one point I reconciled the fact, I couldn’t do both things at the same time and enjoy the day so family came first…..and checking the rankings came later while the family was watching football.

It’s been six days since my book launched. Never knowing an Amazon bestseller means hitting a certain ranking within seven days of a book launch, when 5500 books are published on Amazon daily, means I am learning valuable lessons to share with my membership of women entrepreneurs. Having a “book launch team” is something new to me too but 30 of my family, friends, and members jumped on board and have been sharing my book link with their network. This is even more wisdom for me to share with the next woman entrepreneur launching her own book.

Another fascinating factor in this new process of launching a book is the new creative marketing and advertising technology to create advertisements, social media marketing posts and book images to use to market a book. Small business owners don’t have time to take marketing courses so launching a new product, like a book, takes one out of their comfort zone and into a new educational curve to enhance their business knowledge for future endeavors.

On this Marketing Monday, which is also Cyber Monday, consider ways to increase your marketing knowledge to advance your business through increased studies, experiments, and conversations. If you’d like to support my new book on Amazon, please click on this link. If you need an answer to anything I posted today, feel free to leave a comment and I promise to share my knowledge with you because that’s how it works in small business today.

Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Women Entrepreneurs

November 27, 2019

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

Several summers ago my youngest sister decided to chronicle one side of our family’s history. Much to our surprise, our grandmother’s descendants traveled from England on the Mayflower. As my sister traced our grandmother’s paternal lineage she discovered distant relatives lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York; never moving past the east coast and deciding to stay where the winds took them.

Somewhere in photos from a hundred years ago was an Indian woman dressed in white standing next to a gentleman in a military dress in a grassy knoll. Never able to jog our grandmother’s memory about who the Indian princess was, we assumed part of our history included Native American connections. My grandmother was a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman with some facial attributes of Native Americans. Equally my grandmother’s two brothers and my father have distinctive-looking facial features and skin as our country’s first inhabitants.

Discovering my grandmother’s history makes tomorrow’s holiday sparkle in new ways as I contemplate the brave journey of the pilgrims who crossed a vast ocean not knowing what waited on the shore. Their fearlessness and adventurous spirit, handed down through genes, rest inside their descendants. Could it be my entrepreneurial spirit was based on the bravery of these descendants who took risks to enjoy a different way of life?

The pilgrim’s trek reminds me of the recent travels of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, who sailed across the ocean waves on a zero-emissions craft to enlighten the world about the damage of greenhouse gases. There is still so much discovery to be made in this great world of ours. Every day as new women start their own businesses or seasoned female business owners offer new products and services to engage and help their customers, we sense a similar tinge of excitement as our country’s founders.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to keep being fearless, adventuresome and tenacious in your entrepreneurial endeavors. Remember most of us came from pilgrims who sailed across the ocean blue with hope in their hearts for a better way to live. Their spirit lives on in us and girls like Greta Thunberg. Smooth sailing isn’t for the faint of heart and either is trying to change the world through a passionate business mission.

Buckle in and take on some new endeavors with a hopeful heart, intrigued spirit and eager attitude to see how your life can change by setting sail on new waters towards a different horizon. I bet you discover and experience new wonders you haven’t imagined before.

Anticipation of A First Book

November 25, 2019

Monday Motivation and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Writers, Women in Business

Each year as our family gathers on Christmas Eve, my niece and nephew follow Google’s Santa Tracker. Eager to know when jolly St. Nick will arrive and where in the world he is at the moment, they periodically consult their mother’s iPhone to check on Santa’s status. Back in the 1970s when my sister and I waited for Santa, we didn’t have the luxury of knowing whether or not he was on his way, we only hoped he was. We had to wait until the wee morning hours to discover he made it down our 1700s chimney.

I feel like a kid again today as I track the UPS truck that has the final proof of my first book. It will be delivered by a man dressed in a brown suit, not quite as festive as Santa’s suit, in the daylight via brown truck. Internally, I am as excited for his arrival as most kids are for Kris Kringle’s arrival. I’ve been tracking the truck on a Google map UPS gives to expecting customers. I never knew two hours could go by so slowly, reminding me I’m an impatient person at the heart of my calm demeanor.

Checking again, I see the truck is even closer than a few minutes ago. I suspect it will be here in 15 minutes if there aren’t a lot of other people on the route. I’ve toyed with asking the driver to take a photo of me holding the box so I can share it with my social media marketing world. I know I love marketing but this feels like I’m experiencing it at another new level.

Hold on as I check again……yup – the truck is closer. It should arrive at any moment with a box with precious content – my first book. My publishing consultant said, “Don’t underestimate the moment it arrives. It’s like having your first baby. The moment is new and fresh and exhilarating and you can’t have a first baby ever again so enjoy it and don’t rush through opening the box without being grateful for the experience that led up to writing your story.”

The past year and a half, as I watched my hair fall out of my head faster and faster until I was a bald woman by the age of 54, led me up to this unexpectant moment. I never suspected a book would come out of the trauma of losing my identity as a woman and woman entrepreneur but it did. From the lessons of kindness and compassion from so many strangers who have embraced me, along with the conviction and love of my family, friends, and members, I found my way to meet this life-altering change face on – by writing a book about the experience with a universal lesson of love and kindness.

My interest in sharing my story centers on moving people from perceptions of hate and divisiveness to one of compassion and acceptance. Our country needs it. The world needs it. We each need it. I hope you’ll buy a copy and share it with those you love……as soon as I proof it when the brown UPS truck rolls up my driveway.

Legal Lessons for Women Entrepreneurs

November 20, 2019

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

As I create this week’s inspirational wisdom, I am also listening to the public impeachment hearings. Political affiliation aside, I find the entire process both fascinating and educational. Never one interested in college courses related to history, law or government instead leaning towards science, math and business classes, the proceedings are opening my brain to new information, verbiage and policies. Be assured they have not motivated me to get a law degree.

Having taken only one required law course to get my business degree, I leave most legal issues as a woman entrepreneur to my attorney, but it doesn’t mean I have ignored opportunities to gain education on legal issues facing a small business owner. I learned early on in my career to create vital business contracts before conducting business with customers, negotiating fees and services with vendors and gaining trademark ownership for corporate logos. Anything else that goes above and beyond my knowledge or deemed serious enough to seek counsel is given to a professional.

There is a common myth that people use only 10 percent of their brains. However recently neurologists disagree with this notion stating silent regions of our brain are involved with our ability to plan, make decisions, adapt to evolving situations and reason. At any moment, we may use 16 percent of our brain. I truly enjoy learning new information to stimulate those other parts of my brain whether its about entrepreneurship, women’s rights, or politics. In doing so, I am enlarging my knowledge making me feel good even if today’s politics don’t.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that education is truly a key to a successful life – especially the life of a business owner. There is a wealth of new technical and technological programs to learn to advance our businesses, communication systems to connect us globally to potential clients and knowledge in other business sectors that enhance our ability to network and connect with others. We can’t shy away from new useful knowledge even if it intimidates us. We must remain intrigued in advancing our brains as much as we do our businesses.

I hope before the year ends you compile a list of three subjects you need or want more education in and tell us about it so we can plan some useful educational programs for you in 2020 and also seek conferences, online courses or day-long classes that school you in topics of interest. We owe it to ourselves to stay on top of new, relevant information to advance ourselves and our enterprises.

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