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Wednesday Wisdom: Sparkling Success Still Exists

July 22, 2020

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

Reaching the pinnacle of my destination, I looked out over sparkling white dots of light on the water. Frozen for a moment in its beauty, I took in the shimmering radiance as if my soul needed the extra brilliance to enlighten my mind to return to my office to create a future plan for my business and life left altered the past four months like so many other entrepreneurial ventures during the pandemic. Just for a few minutes, the cool lake breeze, with light bouncing off the water, gave me what I needed.

I remembered back to the summer of 2005 when I visited a dear friend in the Adirondack Mountains. Having launched my second company that spring and struggling ever since to help others understand my intentions, mission, and vision, she listened as I shared my pain and desires. Then she said in her always confident voice, “Tracy, you are trying to reach a higher peak in your business journey by encouraging and educating other women to follow in your footsteps to the top of their peaks so you can all look at each other on top of individual mountains.” For a moment looking at the shimmering water, that conversation and vision of mountain peaks resurfaced.

What’s been hardest in this pandemic is discovering all the small business owners struggling to stay afloat or on top of their mountain peak. I feel personally for entrepreneurs making heart wrenching decisions to walk away from their dreams, hard work, and personal visions. I wish I could change the world for them bringing back abundance, faith, and trust in their present and future. All I’ve tried to do since climbing my first entrepreneurial mountain in 1995, and then again in 2005, is to keep climbing through prickly weeds, rocky terrain, and shaky ground until the clearing leads to the mountain top where I observe sparkling lights bouncing off the water below – a gift for the weary climber.

As much as the pandemic has created trepidation and anxiety for people and businesses, I was reminded today to remember that eventually either at the top of the struggle or along dry dirty paths of our work, within us resides a ‘sparkle’ of knowing to keep going because times will change again for the better.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom sends hope if your business if failing during the pandemic or if you’ve lost your sparkle of entrepreneurial energy. There is something about the beauty and strength found in nature that translates beautifully to own lives. I encourage you to find solace in this beautiful summer weather, keep in mind what made you sparkle enough to start your business, and remember you have reached a mountain peak once or twice in your career already. Stopping to notice the beauty of what you have created is vital in these days. The acknowledgement might be the fuel needed to step off the peak heading back down to a valley only to find a new mountain peak to climb on the other side of it.

During the peace and quiet of this extraordinary time, my principal hope for you is to remember your unique sparkle and strength to do anything you want with your business and life from this day forward.

Monday Motivation: Is Podcasting Your New Tool in Business?

July 20, 2020

Monday Motivation, Inspiration, Business Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, and Small Businesses

“What have you done new since the pandemic started?” asked someone on a Women TIES Zoom Program for women entrepreneurs. There was a plethora of answers given ranging from finishing writing a book, to taking personal online lessons in art to bring more creativity into a business, and finding time to read an industry icons’ best-selling book. All great answers but my response was, “Teaching myself to podcast.”

As a long time writer of an inspirational and educational blog for women regarding business, sports, equality, and life issues with a fairly limited readership of 3,000, I wondered if my wisdom could be shared with a wider audience via podcasting. I knew most podcasts involved more than one person speaking or being interviewed but I wanted to start by recording my own written words and sharing it wider since my followers love my voice on feminist issues. Plus, I wasn’t exactly knowledgeable yet on how to interview someone far away since Covid-19 prevented women to come in person to be interviewed.

In a much quieter business setting during the economic pause, I finally found time to research, order equipment, play with, and eventually record my own podcast. Proud I tried to grow my listenership with people who knew my brand, liked my blog posts, follow me on multiple marketing platforms, and asking people to follow it. Much to my chagrin, my listenership remains minuscule. So what is an eager, success-focused businesswoman to do next? You might have guessed, ask a popular podcaster to share her success strategies in a Zoom event to not only educate me, but my demographic of New York State women entrepreneurs.

Honestly, it is hard to start something new. I remember when creating a weekly blog post of 300 words seemed almost impossible in 2007 when I began, but like all good things in life, it takes commitment, focus, education, and repetition to become a good business habit or service. Just because someone as popular as Michelle Obama, can begin a new podcast, and have immediate followers, doesn’t mean the average woman can’t do the same. Ask my podcast presenter Nicole Christina, whose podcast Zestful Aging, whose podcast has been heard by people in 91 countries. Where is she based? Right here in Syracuse, New York.

I’ve never believed goals are unreachable because they are with extra effort and attention. We learn life and business skills mainly from others who have successfully gone where we haven’t yet, so it is up to us to listen and learn from experts willing to share their knowledge. Life is really a series of teachable experiences – sometimes we are the teachers – other times we are the student. Being a student has great advantages so commit to becoming one today in any area of your life or business where you need help. If you are looking for podcasting inspiration and support, join me on July 28th at noon with our special guest Nicole Christina and learn what it takes to become the next best podcaster.

Wednesday Wisdom: Digging Deep for More Success

July 8, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Hump Day, Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Entrepreneurs

Pondering what Time Magazine will call 2020, I envision a few options, “The Year of Cancellations,” “The Year of Nothing,” “The Year of Knowing Your Backyard Better,” or perhaps “The Year of What the Hell is Going On?” When Monday’s headlines in the Syracuse Post Standard announced the Great New York State Fair was cancelled for the first time since 1942 (so the fairgrounds could be used as a military base for World War II), I knew we remained in uncharted territory dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic. Even the weather doesn’t know what is happening as New York State is embroiled in a heat wave.

Just when we hoped to return to normal business life as the phased re-openings continue across the state, we hear about uncertainties of college and school reopenings, read about businesses permanently closing, and the possibility of a sport-less fall season. Talk about change! Does your head swim? I’ll admit it, mine does and this is when I turn to education as an essential tool for success in business.

I dare to say now more than ever before women entrepreneurs need to look at their businesses with new eyes especially in these fast-paced, evolving times around us. As the marketplace changes, our familiar clients change, which leads to our companies needing to change, and as leaders of our entities it means we might need to change. This new way of analyzing your business is part of corporate anthropology, described by Women TIES Hudson Valley member Andi Simon of Simon Associates, as “Corporate anthropology helps you push the brain past the pain of change – stepping out of your organization and observing it as if you were a foreign visitor trying to learn the language, customers, and values as you observe, listen, and interact with employees, customers or potential customers.”

The Year of 2020 is not a normal business year and normalcy might not return for awhile so we must consider what we need to do as business owners to rise to the challenge. It will take digging deep into our depths, reorganizing our resources, observing our business from another perspective, and reworking our plans with the intent to unearth a treasure trove of exciting new possibilities.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to prompt you to join me and Andi Simon next Wednesday for a conversation on the topic of corporate anthropology and success strategies to help you sustain your entity. If you can’t make the Zoom seminar, at least look up the topic of corporate anthropology, buy Andi Simon’s book, or set a week on your calendar to conduct serious business planning on your own.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and ignore the truth that change is happening all around us and ways it is affecting our businesses. We must rise to the occasion. I personally hope Time Magazine’s cover describes 2020 as “The Year of the Woman Entrepreneur Who Embraced Change and Succeeded!”

3 Pieces of Financial Advice for Women Entrepreneurs

July 7, 2020

Tuesday Thoughts, Success Strategies and Money Matters for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners and Small Businesses

Three pieces of financial advice surfaced this morning after talking to women entrepreneurs the past few days about ways to make their companies more profitable.

The first was from a highly respected female business owner running a multi-million dollar business who shared something small she implemented which produced big financial results, she said, “Discover two or three small repetitive expenses within your business and eradicate or reduce them.” Entrepreneurs tend to focus on revenue generation more than eliminating insignificant expenditures which is part of the corporate financial equation.

The second comment came from a 10-year-entrepreneur who decided to eliminate small customer accounts in order to spend more time on larger client projects. The multitude of interactions with customers with smaller accounts was eliminating her profitability. In order to correct the situation, she decided to only sell to and secure a select group of higher paying clients.

The final piece of financial wisdom was from a small business owner who decided she was not interested in adding staff to her company but wanted to make more money. Her solution was to contract herself out as an expert to work on specific projects for other national businesses in her industry.

Today be inspired to recognize when you need to make monetary changes as an entrepreneur to become more financially successful. As we lead passionate lives with joy and purpose to help the marketplace and our customers, we can forget to focus on our financials. As evident by the examples above, sometimes it takes a renewed financial focus like decreasing expenses, working on larger accounts or outsourcing your expertise to become more financially sound. There are multitudes of ways to achieve monetary successes in your business so focus on them this week.

Running a tighter entrepreneurial ship doesn’t mean you will lose the joy out of conducting business, instead you will feel proud of the necessary adjustments to become more profitable.

Wednesday Wisdom – Freedom equals Female Entrepreneurship

July 1, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs and Female Business Owners

Red, white and blue, fireworks, the stars and stripes accompanied by horns and drums and bugles will decorate your world on July 4th as our great country celebrates its freedom. Almost every woman living in the United States today has a connection to having freedom because a grandparent, parent or even current family member serves in the armed forces. Shirley Temple, big band orchestras and large parades were all part of the celebration through the years as our country protected itself and lead the world out of wars.

Although women entrepreneurs don’t celebrate their own freedom running a business on the fourth of July, I suggest we mark that day as a day of celebration to do just that. Working for ourselves means we have freedom from working for a company, independence to earn unlimited money, and autonomy to make decisions to change the world for the better through our products and services. Entrepreneurship equals freedom.

We have fought in a different way to keep our businesses financially successful, struggled with changes in the marketplace and economy that we have no control over that influence our companies and battled through doubt and trepidation when things have gone wrong.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to realize you are blessed with being a free, woman business owner able to start, run, grow and manage a company that women in other countries can’t do and women in our country never risk doing. You have freedom to sell what you want at the price you want to sell it at. You are not controlled by anyone but yourself. You also have independence to change course, add staff and take time off when you want. You control your destiny for good or bad.

On the Fourth of July, I hope you celebrate all the brave men and women who fought and continue to fight for our nation’s freedom but also to stop and celebrate the independent woman you are making a difference in America with your life as an entrepreneur.

Use Marketing Mondays to Succeed in Summer Work

June 29, 2020

Monday Motivation, Marketing, and Wisdom for Women Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses, and Female Business Owners

Summer can be a special time of year. The sun is brighter. The air warm. The grass green. The children done with schoolwork skipping with freedom. Water balloon fights, watermelon and water vacations are the “agenda” of the week for many. For the woman entrepreneur, summer can be especially busy if she is trying to balance a business, children out of school and her own desires to be outside. I have dealt with all these situations myself and survived. One key element that kept me on track was using every Monday as a Marketing Monday.

Question – When you are fresh off a relaxing weekend, looking at another full business week ahead of you, what is the first thing you do on a Monday morning? Maybe you turn on Facebook and get “caught up” on everyone’s weekend? Perhaps you look at your calendar for appointments, events or programs? Maybe you pick up that phone and just start making sales calls? Perhaps you start your week, finishing up something you should have finished on Friday!

You know what I do before I do anything else – plan my marketing strategy for the week because I know marketing is my number one priority for the week and commit to doing marketing every single day in between project work, it is working to my advantage by drawing awareness to my company, clients and even bringing in revenue. It is the “business partner” sharing my news while I’m working on other important tasks.

So my marketing summer secret is to make every Monday a Marketing Monday. Here are a few of my top marketing “tasks” every Monday morning:

* Write a blog post first thing in the morning, post it and share it. Did you know that Twitter has a popular hashtag called “MondayMotivation”? Do you know that if you write a blog post and then share it on Twitter, Facebook, and other SMM with the hashtag #MondayMotivation thousands of people will view it and you are gaining exposure day long while you work on something else? You have to learn to write or share information on a blog to reach a large audience. My blog audience grew once I started blogging every Monday and Wednesday.

* Map out what press releases to send out during the week on customers or business news. I produce a lot of Zoom events now so I check out my weekly/monthly calendar and decide when to produce releases and send them to local and online media. If you don’t know how to conduct a press release, you can use online templates and you can Google media contact information to send press release too.

* Schedule when to write social media marketing news for the week and know what the topics for those posts will be. I don’t randomly share news about my family during the week instead I promote my members and something informational that can aid women entrepreneurs like business wisdom, national story links, or other member’s workshops or programs.

* Map out a day or two for sales calls or sales appointments because sales is an essential part of marketing. Decidee to make sales calls to local media for example and get to know them better or make general business sales calls because part of marketing’s description is “for the sake of revenue production.”

Marketing is an essential task entrepreneurs must conduct in their business every week. Start your summer Mondays off by creating a list of Marketing Monday items you can conduct to grow visibility. Then you won’t feel guilty basking in the warm summer sun enjoying a sweet piece of watermelon or strawberry coolata from time-to-time.

Wednesday Wisdom: Full-Circle Moments

June 24, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Success Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, Working Mothers, Female Business Owners

Within the soft pale green walls of my home office sits a twenty-five year old man working at a second desk with two full computer screens up and running. White airbuds tucked inside his ears help him communicate with New York City team members. Accounting and management terms flow out of his familiar voice but in a different tone. It is more authoritative, inquisitive, and direct than I’ve heard before.

I quietly sneak through the room to my own desk to write while staring at him periodically in this full-circle moment. This man was only 3-months old when I became a woman entrepreneur. The walls he sits in now, working as a managing engineer conducting business from afar during Covid-19, was the same room he played quietly in and crawled around as I worked at my desk. Once in awhile, I would shush him to make a client call, now I get shushed as he begins a management call.

I’m living and working in a beautiful full-circle moment. I never knew how long entrepreneurial life would be as I set off to change the world with my new business in 1995. I didn’t know if I’d be a good mother while trying to grow my business and sons at the same time. In my heart and gut, I felt I could do it and prayed my sons would grow up to be well-adjusted, successful men who understood my desire to be a working home-based mother with a desire to change the world for the better for women.

At one point in history the world convinced women they couldn’t be successful working while raising children at the same time. As usual, I didn’t listen to what others said, instead relying on my gut instincts and passion to make my life the way I wanted it to be. I never backed down even on tough days when the pressure of doing both was overwhelming. I knew if I stayed the course, I could have my world exactly the way I wanted it. Today I can tell you with certainty as I watch my son manage a team of engineers from my own home office that I was right.

Women must believe they can do anything they put their hearts and minds into doing. Listen to your instincts. Try. Do. Make your life exactly what you want if you can. Don’t back down without trying. For in trying, we test our minds, hearts, and hopes into creating our own full-circle moments where we proved ourselves correct.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom should inspire you to think about some key full-circle moments in your life or business where you witnessed exactly what you envisioned. We often rush through these moments not giving ourselves enough credit for our tenacity and truth. Women can make their experiences in life exactly what they dream for it to be if they believe in themselves enough.

I can tell you there is no better vision for me, as I celebrate my silver anniversary in a month as a woman entrepreneur, with my pride and joy working in my same space reminding me I chose the right career path and life choice. I wish the identical experience for you.

Sharing Your Voice with the World Through Writing

June 22, 2020

Monday Motivation, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

The pleasure of writing every day has become a constant in my life. If I think back to my teenage years and before Oprah suggested it, I wrote in a journal documenting personal feelings, adventures, favorite pals, and life experiences because my mother did the same thing. I even submitted poems for publications thinking back then I had wisdom to share with the world even though I was young. When my sons were first born, I started journals for them describing their personalities, celebrations, and experiences of being a mother. They will receive them one day.

When blogging became popular in 2007, it made natural sense I’d be drawn to this new form of marketing using my words in written form to attract followers to my company. At first I wasn’t sure what I would write about and how to make writing a frequent pattern but after hosting Amelia Sauter, an Ithaca woman entrepreneur and blogger, as a speaker at an event, I started writing. I remember her saying, “Just try to write one blog post a week to begin and then go from there.” Taking her advice to heart, I not only started blogging in 2008, but have written probably a million words in my weekly “Wednesday Wisdoms” enewsletter ever since delivering wit, advice, and business success strategies to women entrepreneurs the past decade and a half.

Writing these weekly pieces led me to submitting stories for magazines and in the popular book series “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” and eventually landed me a weekly column to the Syracuse Post Standard called “Ask the Entrepreneurs” which I contributed to for 11 years. All of this led to my first book in 2019 called “Under the Rose-Colored Hat” which made me an official author.

This amazing history of sharing my wisdom and voice with the world opened up countless opportunities for me by enhancing my resume, providing me with speaking opportunities, more print and online storytelling opportunities, and opening my world to fellow female authors. It all started by listening to one woman speak at an event and the rest is history.

This Wednesday, June 24th, I am paying this inspiration forward by hosting an online Zoom presentation called “Getting Your Wisdom and Story Heard” sponsored by the New York Women’s Business Center by Sharon CassanoLochman, Founder of Ontario Shore Publishing, who helped me get my book launched. I believe strongly she will inspire women to take that one step – or pen stroke – towards getting their own stories heard via blogging, articles, book submissions, or authoring their own paperback. If you have even a slight interest or desire to write, I invite you to join me by registering at this link.

I am most proud of being an author and leaving my voice in a permanent form in our world.

Wednesday Wisdom: A Plan and A Path

June 17, 2020

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

Bouncing with excitement I attached my new bike to the back of my car and smiled my way into the front seat ready to re-embark on my favorite bicycle path reopened after three months. Without the beauty of the 9-mile winding path covered with a canopy of green leaves, on the west side of Onondaga Lake Park, I ventured instead to the Erie Canal’s historic dirt path to exercise during my business lunch hours.

Onondaga County had a plan to close the city’s most popular outdoor fitness area in light of the pandemic. Finding an alternate route was a new way of life for the daily runners, bikers, roller bladders, and strollers of the park. But knowing in time, the County’s plan would change, meant everyone using it could create an alternate plan of their own to stay satisfied and fit. With the plan, we all could find a new path.

Leading up to my twenty-fifth celebration of being a woman entrepreneur in a few months, this topic of finding new paths hit me. Just like you, I wasn’t sure what the “entrepreneurial path” looked like when I started with one step on August 8, 1995. I just knew I was passionate and strong enough to step onto the path and move forward one foot at a time until a passageway lay before me. Once in awhile, I glanced over my shoulder witnessing how every individual step taken created a brilliant path behind me. Sometimes along that path, I stopped to rest, sought advice, created a different plan, imagined taking shorter paths off the main path for adventure, but always stopped to notice the lessons along the way.

When I glance back now, I see I couldn’t have accomplished a quarter-century of entrepreneurial success without knowing my path forward would shift directions at times and go up hills and down into valleys where I could celebrate and ponder my position and plan. No matter where I was on the long path of entrepreneurship, a plan was always part of the journey. I needed to know where to concentrate marketing dollars, who to call to land new business, what I needed to do to expand across the state, and the movement of the marketplace in my industry. I liken not having a business plan to taking off on a 25-year bike ride and realizing without a “road map,” where would I go or end up?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you if you are ready to begin a new business path with your enterprise, you must plan for the journey or else you could get lost along the way. The ride might be breathtaking but at some point you’ll wonder where you are or where you’re going. Even experienced adventurers of business and life know planning is an essential mode of transport to get from Point A to Point B. So where are you right now in your business planning? Are you up-to-date and on track? Has Covid-19 bumped you off the paved roadway you were on? Did you get lost for a moment but rediscovered at the right corridor? Depending on your answers, you’ll know what you need to do or continue to do to get to where you want to go.

Don’t worry if you are like me and you’ve already hit a few divots in the path, almost knocking you to your knees, because we know just in time we regain composure to venture on. Life and business are for the audacious spirits excited to plan the paths forward. Make sure you are both bold and prepared for the next part of this thrilling ride called entrepreneurship.

Women Still Need Seats at Every Table

June 12, 2020

Inspiration for women, feminists, women’s rights, women entrepreneurs

Today’s blog post is a recap from a post I wrote in August 2018 after attending a brilliant conference on women’s rights hosted by In light of equality issues being in the news headlines everywhere in our globe for Black Lives Matters, which I support, it reminds me of my personal two-decade passion of supporting women’s equality – especially pay equality. I hope today’s blog post reminds you we need equality across the board in many areas of life.

“If they don’t give you a chair at the table, bring a folding chair,” was a quote by Shirley Chisholm once said to inspire women to invite themselves to the tables where they weren’t allowed. Shirley knew what she was talking about. She was the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968 completing seven terms. In 1972, she was the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States. Her quote was shared with women of all ages, backgrounds, and professions at the start of Seneca Falls Revisited: Women’s Equality Weekend.

What I basked in most from the three-day conference was the number of new women I met especially African American women. The conference was run by a team of dynamic, intelligent black feminists who welcomed me into their fold as a major sponsor and break-out presenter. I have always loved the energy of black women for reasons I do not know since I was brought up in a fairly white town surrounded by mostly Italian families. All I know is women of all ages intrigued me and probably not having enough African American women in my life made me appreciate them when I met them or learned from them.

I liked walking out of this event with a better understanding of the struggles black women faced because of both their color and sex. When white women have to worry about equality issues, black women still face discrimination on race and sex…not to mention age at times too. A female Indian presenter named Jenifer Rajkumar, a New York City politician, community leader and human rights lawyer talked about the importance of “getting in the room” and being part of the discussion if you aren’t invited based on who you are. As she reminded the crowd, Rosa Parks didn’t have to say a word, but she had to be on the bus sitting in a seat for people to take notice. Change takes practicing your activist voice and using your courage muscle.

“Step away and ask yourself what is most important to you and then create a vehicle to share it with other people,” said the last speaker of the day. Before I returned to work today, I sat near my pool meditating on the words I wrote down and the ones in my head still and created a new vision to wrap my passion for women in business, sports and equality into one larger entity so I can sit on that folding chair Shirley talked about flexing my courage muscle and using my activist voice to create as much positive change for women as I can in the areas of life that resonate with my pink spirit.

There is so much to do still to lift up women that each woman must listen to one or two equality passions that swirl inside their soul and commit to do something about it starting today! One of the main items is to help lobby for and pass the Equal Rights Amendment. As an older woman told me, “women have had timelines forever and look where they have gotten us…not far enough to protect women’s unalienable rights.” What will you do to commit to positive change for women?

Perhaps start by registering for the 2020’s virtual 100th Anniversary of Suffrage Conference online July 23-25th. You will be amazed at what you will learn from a diverse group of outstanding leaders in the fight for women’s rights. I am joining them for sure. I hope to see you there too.