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Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Do You Really Not Have time to Promote Yourself?: Pt 2-Branding Yourself

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 11:57 am

IMG_9563

I am continually surprised to see people that have an opportunity to build a personal brand drop the ball. Taking the time to develop your own brand gives you an opportunity to focus on who you want the world to see and what you have to offer.

I was watching a video on Branding Yourself by Eric Thomas in which he explains how Michel Jordan hijacked the Nike brand to build his own brand. That is the key to branding. It’s not what you do it’s how you do it differently that is your brand message. Anyone can be a Realtor, a chef, a writer, a consultant but only you can be you.

So, let’s build your brand. Grab a blank piece of paper and draw lines separating it into three sections. Each section will answer a question.

Section 1: Who Am I?

Section 2: What Do I do?

Section 3: Who Do I Want to Be?

In the first section don’t just write your job title. Look a little deeper.  For example, you are not just salesperson. You may be a parent, a member of a church choir, a coach of a Little League team, a husband, a wife, a writer of poetry, a Miami Dolphins fan, etc. By doing this you begin to see that you are not just your job title. You are an individual with your own talents, interests and skills.

Now, this second section sounds easy, doesn’t it? What do I do? You could answer by saying I write, I sell cars, I build widgets, whatever, right? Dig deeper. For example if you are realtor you could say I sell houses or you could dig deeper and write, I find houses and guide clients through the home buying or selling process and share my expertise of the real estate market and our area’s communities. Do that for each of the titles you gave yourself in step one. Let’s say you stated that you are an assistant coach on your daughter’s soccer team. Wouldn’t it be true that what you really do is help young people learn new skills, build their confidence and learn to work as a team? Doesn’t that sound better?

The next step is a very important idea. Who do you want to be? When you are building your brand you have the unique opportunity to recreate yourself. I don’t mean to falsely identify yourself or your skills but to take the sum of your parts and present yourself in a brand new package. You see detergent companies do this all the time. They take the same product and repackage it and then build an entire advertising campaign around their new look. This is what you are going to do. Think about where you want to be in five years. Do you want to work as a consultant for top tier companies? Do you want to create marketing materials for major clients? Do you want to sell $1 million plus in residential properties that year? Start thinking like you have already met that goal. Build your brand around that. What skills do you already have that you will need then? If you want to be taken seriously, take yourself seriously.

Here you are with 20 years of experience working in a specific industry and during that time you worked at many levels in the business and created a reputation for yourself, now you are retiring but you want to continue in a consultant capacity to others. When someone asks you what you  do for a living, don’t just say, “I’m a consultant”. Take the opportunity to advertise yourself. Say something like,” I help businesses save money by creating inventory and sales programs that fit their individual needs.” These techniques can be built upon by developing your own “elevator speech”. That way you have a response that truly identifies what you offer.

Now once you have decided what your brand, start advertising yourself. Develop a cohesive image for yourself that you can reflect in all your marketing materials, on your website and across social media platforms.  Develop a logo for yourself (or hire someone to do it). Your logo may be only your name but if it is presented in a visually appealing manner it will be memorable. Decide on a color palette. Keep everything as coordinated as possible. If you so not have graphic design experience ( and I am not talking about making church bulletins in PrintShop) HIRE ONE!!!! Hiring a good graphic designer is worth every penny.

Remember you are not selling your title. You are selling you. All of your experience, interests, successes and even your failures have developed the person behind your title and that is your brand. Sell it.

Great Branding Resources:

Articles:

The Art of Branding Yourself and Your Freelance Business at Webdesigner Depot

BRANDYOURSELF AND THE BILLION-DOLLAR SEO AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY BY: DAVID HOLMES

Me 2.0: Branding yourself online By Mark Tutton, CNN

Books:

By Erik Deckers, Kyle Lacy: Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (Que Biz-Tech)

Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself As a Business of One

The Brand Called You: Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

Videos:

More Eric Thomas:

http://etinspires.com/

MUST READ: How NOT to act when your client asks for revisions

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

I just came across this article and I think it is a MUST read for any freelancer.

http://www.graphicdesignblender.com/how-not-to-act-when-your-client-asks-for-revisions

Teaching Your Kids to Row Their Boat

In Inspiration on April 28, 2013 at 7:10 am

There are many thing you find your self repeating to your children. Little bits of wisdom that you hope will guide them. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

1. You are in charge of your life. Period. No matter what happens in your life your reaction is yours.

2. All of your actions have impact. Everything that you do effects the people around you in ways you may not even understand.

3. Friends are precious.

4. Learning is your most powerful tool.

5. One second can change your life.

6. Listen to the whispers.

7. Be open. You never know when an opportunity is looking for you.

8. Have fun.

9. God loves you. Even when you don;t love yourself.

10. You can make it through any thing if you just keep rowing your boat.

There are probably a hundred more but these are the big ones.

What advice do you give to your children?

Should a Kindergartner Have to Work for Their Lunch? Yes, says Lawmaker Ray Canterbury of West Virginia

In Random on April 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

school lunch

I woke up this morning and made sure my grandson made it to the bus on time, walked the dog, made coffee and then I sat down at my computer in a pretty good mood. That lasted about five minutes until I read this Washington Post article,“West Virginia: Lawmaker wants kids to work for ‘free lunch’”. Now, I am seriously pissed.

Read this:

 “I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it,” said Ray Canterbury, a Republican from Greenbrier and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, during debate over Senate Bill 663, also known as the Feed to Achieve Act.

 

What in the hell is this idiot thinking? Children should have to sweep floors and empty garbage to receive their lunch? Isn’t the stigma that is attached to be one of the “free lunch kids” enough? This guy sounds like Mr. Bumble in Oliver.

 

I truly don’t understand the disconnect that many of our government representatives have when it comes to other Americans. It takes all Americans to keep this country functioning. The average unskilled worker makes about $27,000 a year. That’s just over $2000 a month. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment is $800 a month, add another $300 for utilities. That leaves $900 or $225 a week to cover all other expenses such as food, gas, clothing, medical costs, dental costs, car repairs, car insurance, etc. With this income a family of four would have, after rent and utilities, just over $50 a week is available for each person’s care. That’s about $8 a day. Hmmmm.

 

I get so tired of hearing people ranting on the news that the problem in society is education and if people would just apply themselves they could get the better jobs, stay off public assistance and support their families. That sounds great but there are kids who do not have the ability to excel in school no matter how good their intentions, there are kids who cannot qualify for college because their grades are not good enough and there are kids who have to work to support their families and can’t dedicate themselves to their studies. Are these kids still not vital to our communities? You are ignorant if you think that they are not. These are the people that will build our roadways, pick up the garbage, clean our schools, cook our food, stock our shelves and do any job that does not require a college degree. Unskilled workers are necessary to keep America running. They are as important as any college educated persons sitting in an air-conditioned office.

 

I WANT my tax dollars to go towards feeding kids. I WANT my tax dollars to make sure they get to see a doctor when they are sick. I WANT my tax dollars to help someone. I DO NOT want to shame them or humiliate them in order for them to receive any help.  I want them to receive a lunch that costs about .40. Today when you go out for lunch and order that $2 iced tea, think about how that $2 could have bought a week of school lunches for one kid.

I am ashamed that any member of our nation’s government feels that programs like this are” is undermining work ethic and teaching students they don’t have to work hard”. You know what, I am not just ashamed I am disgusted.

 

Mr. Ray Canterbury, if I could I would vote you off our continent.

15-30 Minutes a Day Keeps New Markets from Getting Away

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

Very good advice for those of us that can be absent-minded.

Brainstorms & Bylines

English: The face of a black windup alarm clock

I’ve been known to tell others: If you can’t be a good example, serve as a horrible warning.

I stand before you today as that horrible warning. Well, maybe horrible is too… er… horrible a term, but let’s just say I’m going to use myself as a bad example.

Pay attention you young whippersnappers and you old ones, too. Way back in the dark ages, we learned about new markets through trade magazines, newsletters, and newsstands. Now, you can’t roll your mouse across your desktop without running up against places to sell your writing. This is both good and bad. This is where the horrible warning part comes in.

Horrible Warning

See? There it is in big letters.

I become absentminded when I’m busy–and it seems I am always busy. While I’m working away I’ll often find the perfect venue for something I have written, or would like to write…

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Sick Days Don’t Exist in Food Service

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

This is absolutely true. I spent years int he industry and if you took time off because you were sick you may be fired this goes for the front of the house or the back. I remember one time I worked at a “Italian” style corporate restaurant and I was terribly sick. I had severe bronchitis which I ended up in the ER with the night after my shift. I told my manager that I was running a fever (about 102) and I could hardly breath and his response was “Make sure you go to the doctor before you come in tomorrow” and he walked away. You are not allowed to be sick in that industry, ever. If customers knew how often the people who handle and serve their food are sick and spreading germs they would probably not go out to eat.

Break Room Stories

In an office job if you’re sick the powers at be want you to stay home. If someone tries to gut it out they are invariably told over and over again to go home and get some rest.
This is not the case in the restaurant industry. You’d think that GMs would want folks to stay home rather than cough on customers, food, or other servers. Sanitation should be key…except when you’re sick and haven’t found someone to cover your shift!

-Traci

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3 Awesome And Inspiring Inventions From The White House Science Fair

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2013 at 7:55 am

I can’t say enough how much our kids need science programs in schools. They need programs that deal with modern science such as robotics, space, environmental issues and so on. High five to the White House.

Which is the “Most Massively Useful” the E-Book or the Towel? *

In Inspiration, Random, Writing on April 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I have shelves and shelves and boxes on boxes and piles of books. Saying I have a lot of books just doesn’t cover it. I have collected books over the years because they hold a story or information that I may one day need or want to read. I don’t own any books that I haven’t read except for a few that I have on my desk and nightstand that I am in the process of reading. Oh, there is also one in the car. I also have a Kindle and on my Kindle there are more books. Over one hundred novels and non-fiction books are stored on this one small device with a purple leather cover.

I adore both forms of the written word but here is what I have found. When I want information most of the time I hit a few keys on my keyboard or I browse the internet from my phone. Unless it is something very specific that is hidden in one of my many tomes, I usually can find the information that I need out on the World Wide Web.  As a person that is for the most part self-taught and 50 years old, I remember visiting the library whenever I had a question or wanted to research a subject. I would search through the stacks for the information I needed and sometimes I would find the book, check it out and carry it home. There were other times when the book was not available and I had to request it from another library and within a few days they would send it over. This process would prove frustrating to me when I was impatient for the answers that I was seeking. Now I push a few buttons and there is my answer.

The point I am trying to make is that I agree with Neil Gaiman. Amazon and Google are not the enemy. Future generations will learn faster and more effectively than ever before. The rate that we absorb information is astounding and ebooks and digital content provide us with the answers we seek almost instantaneously. Do I still want to lay in the bath with a “real” book? Yes. Will I still buy “real” books? Yes. But at the same time I find it fascinating to watch this new era of information gathering grow.

What do you think? Are ebooks and digital content improving our quest for knowledge or giving us too much for our tired brains to handle?

* The towel reference for those of you who don’t know is from The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy By Douglas Adams. Here is the expert ont he towel that I found on WikiQuote

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
    A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have.
     Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
  • More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally “lost.”. What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
  • Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

towel

Also here is a reminder: Towel Day is May 25th. Participants carry their towel with them all day to honor the late great Douglas Adams.

BTW I have this book on my book shelf.

My Favorite Entrepreneur Story In A Long Time

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Great story. I think this is what true entrepreneurship looks like.

Elevate Don’t Deflate or How To Get Rich Quick

In Inspiration on April 21, 2013 at 8:00 am

Most of the people who read this blog don’t know me. They may know something about me but they don’t know who I am. They don’t know where I have been or what successes and tragedies shaped me into the person that I am today. To be honest, most people I know personally don’t know me.

There are some things about myself that make me proud to be who I am and glad I survived the events that laid the foundation for my beliefs. The thing that I am most proud of in my life would be that I have been in the position on several occasions to truly affect other people in a positive way, through my actions, my words and my love for them as another human being. I don’t say this lightly and I don’t say this so that I can achieve some applause. I am saying this because in every one of us there is the ability to inspire another person. It’s in our choices. It’s in the choice to stop and listen or to just nod our head and keep walking. It’s in the choice when someone is failing to stop and come to an understanding about why that is and how it can be fixed or telling them that they are wrong. It’s in the choice to elevate instead of deflate someone’s spirit. It’s choosing compassion instead of anger.

I watched a movie tonight called Undefeated. It’s a documentary about the Manassas Tigers football team lead by Coach Bill Courtney. I love football so it wasn’t hard for me to sit through a film that was based on a football team. Coach Courtney understands how to give his players the ability to earn respect where they may never had known it in their lives. He understands that in the heart of the most hardened is sometimes the soul of a leader. He understands that some of the best teachers in life are those that have survived the most difficult losses. One of the impactful statements he made during the film was, “You think football builds character. It does not. Football reveals character.” I think those words can apply to most situations in our lives. This team had not won a football game in 14 years. They turned that around. The boys he coached learned how to play football, think outside of themselves, reach for success and be part of a team.

As Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens said, “”I fight for the man next to me. It don’t matter about me, what matters about me is sacrificing for you; for the ultimate goal which is us.”

Look at the man next to you. What can you do for them? The greatest compliment I have ever received in my life was from a former employee.  His mother had passed away from cancer before I met him and life wasn’t easy for this guy. When I meet someone I try to listen to their story so that I can get a feel for who they are and why they are that person. As we got to know each other we had many conversations about life. After we had gone our separate ways we stayed in touch on Facebook. One day I received a direct message from this friend and it said, “I just want to thank you. It’s because of you that I am the man I am today. I love you,” I sat and cried. That was not important to me because he was acknowledging me. It was important because I knew in my heart that I elevated someone’s spirit. By just listening and talking honestly and openly a difference was made. It was such a powerful thing. My daughter has told me before that I am oblivious to the effect that I have on people and for the most part that is true. I just try to make sure that any influence I have on someone is positive. Now, I will say some people are more receptive than others. But I try. Watch this movie if you have time, watch how character is built and boys learn to be men.

Then look at the man next to you. What can you do for them? Building a life around helping others is how you get rich quick. How have you helped elevate someone in your life? I would love to hear your story.

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