Posts tagged ‘Business’

November 20, 2012

When it’s Time to Reinvent Yourself…

…go all the way.

I’m convinced that no matter how much we love something and we feel fulfilled, sometimes you just need a change. Not because we don’t like it anymore, but because we need to make sure we stay on our toes. We need to channel our ability to stay resourceful and challenge our creativity. Most importantly, we need to eliminate the possibilities of settling so that we give ourselves the opportunity to be better than we were yesterday.

Despite my best efforts to always chase my dreams, and take risks I must admit I have been settling. Not with my job or my personal needs, but with my business. Yes, I’ve taken the leap to become a full-time freelance writer but I was still playing it safe. From my business name, “Writing by Terri”, to the small businesses and local magazines I would chase for a shot at the dream, I wasn’t going all the way. That’s why I decided to change my business name from Writing by Terri to Terrific Words (something I’ve always wanted to do.) I know what you’re thinking. “But Terri, this blog has been named Terrific Words forever!” The truth is, I’ve been scared. I’ve been meaning to change everything to “Terrific Words” but I got nervous half way.

It wasn’t until I was reminded of my favorite phrase, “Don’t do anything half way unless you are willing to be half happy,” that it was time for a change. I needed to take that plunge. Otherwise, I wasn’t doing any favors to myself other than merely selling myself short.

So on that note, I present you with my new business site, http://www.TerrificWords.com and my new “self.”

It was hard to take the leap, but so worth it. Sometimes the worst thing you could ever do is stop yourself from going all the way. Don’t waste another moment of time. The time is now.

In what ways, have you reinvented yourself? Also visit my new site and let me know what you think! While you’re at it check out my ebook and write a review if you feel so inclined! 

TERRIfic Quip: I know I already mentioned it in the post, but I think it’s so good that it’s worth repeating. Don’t do anything half way unless you’re willing to be half happy. 

November 13, 2012

5 Life Lessons I Learned from Sharing an Office with a Recent College Grad

“I just graduated in May.” They’re the last words you want to hear upon learning your new business quarters consists of sharing Five Life lessons I learned from sharing an office with a recent college gradan office; especially when you consider yourself a well-respected mid-level professional years out of college. I thought “Is this what I’ve been reduced to?” Bumping heads with the clueless but quirky college grad eager to dive head first into the business world with no idea of how to do it wasn’t exactly in my life plan. But somehow, it was the situation I fell into and had no choice but to deal with. Much to my surprise I learned more than the newest flavor of beers and the latest dance craze to break out at frat parties. I learned a few life lessons as well. Here are six facts of life I managed to stumble upon while maintaining my sanity in office space shared with the recent grad.

1. Have a support system

I never knew how awesome it was to have a support system within the office. Whenever I was unsure of something, facing computer issues, etc. there was no need to bother the higher-ups. She was right there to offer some help if needed. And the same applied to her. We had each others back whether we were running late, made a slight mistake or just plain confused. It made the work environment so much more pleasurable and less stressful. It turns out having a support system in all facets of life including the professional world is much needed but much less appreciated by most.

2. Live a little

While sitting opposite of this young and fiery person, I had the pleasure of vicariously living through her. I heard stories of musings with homeless people, parties during homecoming and alumni weekend, and spontaneous but whimsical dates with her equally young and entertaining boyfriend. While I sat there in awe of every intriguing detail of her care free life I couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous that I couldn’t live a life as exciting and spontaneous as hers. After all, I was no longer a “recent” college graduate. I was a young woman well into the business world trying to make a name for herself. Then I realized she was in the process of building her name as well. Why should she be able to have a life while I slaved away for the sake of making a living and carrying myself as a professional? There was no reason why I couldn’t continue to live a life worth getting excited about while maintaining a professional edge. After all, I was still young and living in the moment is what life is all about.

3. Worry only about yourself

In an economy such as this you always hear about all the competition out there, how your career isn’t secure and a million people want your job. Well, sharing an office with a young and vibrant recent grad made me well aware of that job insecurity and competition. I was in awe of her quick mindedness and ability to teach herself tasks in a matter of minutes. And of course, sharing an office with her made my shortcomings even more apparent. It was like I was in high school all over again vying for the coveted seat at the popular table with all the cool girls who batted their eyelashes at the football players better than me. Then I remembered those girls in high school didn’t care and that bright eyed recent grad sitting across the desk didn’t care about me either. As long as I completed my work in a timely manner and exceeded expectation there was no problem. Competition will always be there, but the only competition that mattered at the moment was the one within myself. I could only be better than I was yesterday. There was no reason for me to try to beat out her.

4. Dress the part of you

I admit it. I was a little too afraid to be myself in fear of not fitting in to the cookie cutter mold of the professional world. So instead I was overly nervous about my big afro-like hair taking over the work space and toned down my personality when picking out my wardrobe. But every morning when I saw my carefree office mate roll into  work with her funky, artsy but office appropriate work attire I realized I was worried for nothing. Sure I couldn’t roll out of bed and head out in my pajamas anymore like the college days. But I still had the option to be me, and let me personality shine whether it be through my wardrobe, hairstyle or demeanor. As long as it was office appropriate I was in the clear.

5. Have a little sense of entitlement

For some reason, when leaving college, those young grads have this idea that the world is owed to them because they’re equipped with a new and freshly embossed degree. Never mind the other millions of people who also have a degree and more experience. A shiny new office space, with an amazing salary and two months paid vacation should just be handed to them because they’re equipped with newfound knowledge from an accredited institution. *You may roll your eyes here*   It seems as though they forget about working their way up and gaining experience. As annoying as this way of thinking is, (when being around it all the time it does get annoying) that sense of entitlement isn’t always a bad thing. You may be young. You may be less experienced, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your worth. This poor economy has scared many people into settling for less. However, I had the pleasure of re-learning from my less-experienced office mate that the job climate does not take away from your knowledge and accomplishments. It does not diminish your value. Nor does it mean you hide all that makes you awesome. If anything, she reaffirmed the need to continue have big goals and an even bigger will to succeed and get what you deserve. Make your credentials known and expect to be recognized for it.

Who knew the beer pong champion, 5 star excuse maker, and expert drunk dialer could be so insightful…
What valuable life lessons have you taken from the office?
TERRIfic Quip: If you judge people you have no time to love them.
July 3, 2012

If You Can List it, You Can Do It

There are two types of people in the world: those who thrive off lists and those who don’t. I happen to fall into the first category.  I make lists for everything! Grocery lists,

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

bucket lists, travel lists, channel lists, blogging lists, networking lists, summer trip lists, wedding lists…. You name it; I’ve probably made a list for it. One might even say I’m addicted to lists. I think it’s something I picked up from my mom. Now I picked up a lot of good things from my mom, but I don’t know if my addiction to lists is one of them. My problem is that I’m never satisfied with my list. I make them to help me stay organized and be productive… or so I thought. But whenever I review them I feel as though I either don’t have enough on them, have too much, or just feel the need to add something new every time I complete something. So I never feel like I accomplish anything. Of course, that only makes me even less productive and like a loser prompting me to just dive into more work.

That’s when I noticed I was approaching lists all wrong. Instead of using it as a tool to increase my productivity, I was using it to prove my productivity to myself. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. So my  lists became unnecessarily long and lacked focus and direction. When you have no direction, you don’t know where you are going. Naturally, the lists never got done. On top of that, expecting myself to finish so many items in a short time period was only setting myself up for failure. It was an unattainable goal but I was too blinded to see that.So I decided to make a change. I wanted my lists to make me feel like I was accomplished and getting things done.

Instead of loading my lists with as many things as I could possibly think of, I decided to limit the items on my list. Now my lists don’t exceed five to seven items per day. And it feels good! Making shorter lists allowed me to stay focused and finish each item to the best of my ability. When I kept packing my lists, I never finished anything and did everything half way just so I can get to the next item quickly. Obviously, that didn’t work out too well. Now, checking off one item on my lists make me feel accomplished.  I don’t feel the need to add another item just as a quickly as I checked one just to prove something to myself. I allowed myself to accept that my best is enough. Once I treated my lists as way to stay organized and not a way to prove my worth and accomplishments I actually felt accomplished! Turns out there is an art to doing check lists and it only took my a few years to figure it out. Now, I can check “write blog post” off my list and feel proud.

How do you organize your lists? Do they make you feel better or worse about your productivity? Am the only one who wrote lists that makes you feel like a loser?

TERRIfic Quip: I am a enough. I have enough. I do enough.

May 30, 2012

It’s Not What You Know or Who You Know…

I’m sure if you are in the job market or looking to grow your business you’ve heard one cliche phrase from everyone over and over. You know what i’m talking about. It’s the one you hear so much that you start to wonder if there is any truth to it or if it’s something that just got twisted up in the grapevine as though it’s a game of telephone. Yet, you repeat the cliche without giving it a second thought.

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” 

As popular as it is, it seems as though the phrase just popped up out of nowhere coincidently around the same time everyone became networking fanatics. Well, even though your grandmother, professor, and neighbor across the street told you these fine words of wisdom, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. But it’s not exactly a lie either.

It just doesn’t tell the whole truth. 

You see, the phrase “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know,” focuses on networking to get to know new people. Of course, it’s important to branch out and meet people. But this saying seems to ignore the people you already know. Other than the professional association and your bosses lunch buddies, you’ve got a whole different networking group you need to tap into every once in a while. It’s called your friends, family, and acquaintances. I know you are probably giving me the side eye right now and wondering what your grandmother and her knitting buddies can do for you, but hear me out….

Your grandmother’s knitting buddy just might be the CEO of that Fortune 500 company you’ve been trying to connect with. Or your godmother just might be in the market for a new brochure.  Your best friend’s boyfriend, who you happen to eat lunch with occasionally could be looking to revamp his resume. Your crazy Uncle Reggie could be best friends with Angeline Jolie’s stylist and looking for a new designer – All of these are something you can do. But because you were too busy following that old mantra and networking with a different group, those in your own network ended up hiring someone else to do the work you could. They didn’t know what you know or what you are capable of.

Unfortunately, it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way more than once. That’s why I chose to ignore the old business mantra and adhere to this new one:

“It’s not who you know. It’s what who you know knows you know.”

A little tongue-tying, but important nonetheless. Unless your network knows what you know, you won’t be able to reap any benefits. You may only see your child’s preschool teacher as a kind spirit with a knack for children, but underneath it all she may be a first-rate accountant who could use your help. At the very least, she could pass your name along to the right people. But she never would’ve been able do that if you didn’t let her know what you do.

It’s very possible that you do know some very important people. They can’t help you if they don’t know what you know. So rather than dismissing them as “only your dad’s golf buddies” acknowledge the connection, build a relationship, and make sure he is aware of your expertise. Otherwise, you will just be letting a good connection die by assuming the people you know can’t do anything for you.

Have close friends or relatives ever given you lead or helped you out after making your expertise known?

TERRIfic Quip: Repeat this everyday. “Today is the day I do the impossible.” Say it enough and you will definitely believe and make it happen.

April 11, 2012

The Problem with Including Business Cards in Thank You Notes

It alters your message and wastes money. There’s a time for blatant self-promotion and there’s a time for expressing your deepest gratitude. The two shall never meet. If you do, the recipient of your note will surely wonder if you have a hidden agenda. Unfortunately, that could mean less than desirable results for your efforts. The last thing you want is to have your clients wonder how grateful you really are.

So how do you let the recipient know what you do and how to contact you? You do a little thing I like to call soft self promotion. I usually scribble a note at the bottom of the card saying something like, “Let me know if you ever need anything” or “I’d be happy to return the favor”. Right after my signature, I either include my phone number or e-mail address. This lets the person know I am a business woman who genuinely cares about the recipient’s well-being as opposed to being a business woman who only cares about the recipient if there’s something in it for me. Get it?  It’s one of the major differences between soft self-promotion and blatant (hard) self-promotion. Plus it seems to be more inline with proper business etiquette.  Think about it. Are you really going to think favorably of a holiday card from your accountant with a business card in it? You just might be prompted to roll your eyes at it and immediately trash it. Once a business card gets placed in a note or holiday card the intentions may immediately be skewed.

I learned this the hard way. After sending hundreds of holiday and thank you cards with my business card enclosed with little to no response it dawned on me that I was doing it completely wrong. Not only was I was wasting time and money on stamps, I was connecting with my audience the way I had hoped.  I analyzed my approach and realized I was sending the complete opposite message than what I wanted to communicate.  The hallelujah chorus sounded once I replaced my business card with jotting down my contact information. Suddenly, the responses and words of gratitude kept pouring in. It’s amazing what a small change can do for business and how much money it can save!

Do you respond favorably to cards with a business card placed inside? Do you receive responses from placing business cards in thank you note?

 

March 22, 2012

The Right Way to Connect on Linkedin

You’re new to Linkedin and finally completed uploading your resume, choosing a profile picture, and writing a summary. Now you do what any newcomer to Linkedin does. You look for some connections! Naturally, you will want to connect with the biggest influencers in your industry whether you know them or not. Most likely they are the ones with 500+ connections, 13 recommendations, and the manager of several groups. And who wouldn’t want to connect with these people? They are obviously the ones who know the most, like to network and can possibly do something for you in the future. Then there are some of you who are intimated to ask the high-rollers of Linkedin to connect and choose to go for those on your level who are just learning to the play the game. Well I’m willing to bet when asking for connections you are doing it the wrong way whether it be for a Linkedin popular or a newbie.

If you are sending requests to connect using the pre-written generic message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network,” this just might be one of the worst possible things you can do. This message doesn’t say anything about you other than, “I am too lazy or bored to take the time to get to know you, read your profile and personalize my message.” Since you are most likely requesting the person because you think you can benefit from the connection, you need to show them how you this person can benefit from connecting with you. A message like the one above, can very well get you ignored. At the very least, you need to give a reason for actually wanting to connect with the person; especially if you don’t know the person personally. (I know Linkedin “requires” you to know the person before you request to connect, but let’s not pretend like this doesn’t happen on a daily basis.) Besides, Linkedin has the potential to be much more powerful than Facebook. The last thing you want is to have a potentially good connection go to waste like a frivolous Facebook Friend. Make sure this doesn’t happen by saying something to start a conversation and building a what can potentially lead to a great relationship. After all, isn’t that the whole reason why you are requesting to connect? If not, you may just want to stick to Facebook and ignore the hundreds of trivial statuses by “friends” you don’t even like.

So what should you say in place of that generic message when requesting to connect? Luckily the options are endless.

Flattery: “I was looking through your profile and I must admit I’m impressed with your work. I hope one day I will get to your professional level. I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

College Connection: “Hey, I noticed we are both writing professionals and graduated from Rider University! Any plans to attend alumni weekend this June? Let’s chat! I’d love to connect.” 

Benefit Factor: “I saw your update discussing the upcoming contest for your company. Do you need help marketing it or coming up with conditions? I’d be happy to assist! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

Group Buddy: “I noticed you are member of the Freelance Connection. Have you been following the discussion about marketing your writing services to local businesses? I’d love to know your thoughts. Let’s connect!”

Same Strokes, Different Folks: “Hey, neighbor. I grew up in Sayreville too! Tell me, do you hate Bon Jovi as much as I do or is he the source of inspiration in all of your work? Would you like to connect with me?”

Mutual Friends: “Seems we are both connected to Christine. She told me a lot about your plans to start a non-profit organization. As an entrepreneur, I am certainly interested. Care to discuss?” 

Following Fan: “During my search for all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, I came across your travel articles listed in Travel + Leisure and your blog about Groupon. You’ve earned yourself a new fan! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

I’m sure there a few more options for connection request messages, but these are a definitely a great start. As you can see, the message need not be long. At most, it requires only a few minutes of studying the person’s profile to come up with a unique message to snag a new connection. But remember, once your connection request is accepted, continue the conversation and begin getting to know your newfound connection.

How do you feel about generic Linkedin messages? Have you tried writing personalized messages when requesting to connect?

March 1, 2012

11 Things Nobody Told Me About Working From Home

When I started working from home, I thought I was living the life. I mean, what could be better than making money from your

Photo Courtesy of Mary B. Thorman

domicile? It seemed like an even sweeter deal when the gas prices started going up faster than I could blink. From the outside, it sounds like the perfect job opportunity and working environment. You save on gas, have easy access to the kitchen and there’s no boss looking over your shoulder. But there’s another side. A darker side that no body tells you about. They certainly never warned me about it. Had I known, I may have put a little more time and effort into making the decision to ditch the cubicle. Here’s 11 things no body warned me about working from home. Consider yourself forewarned…

1. You may lose your sanity.

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than having your boss and co-workers driving you crazy everyday, think again. It’s even worse knowing that you are the cause of your own loss of sanity. And that’s exactly what happens when you work from home. Why? Because while everyone else is outside having a life, you are stuck sitting in front of your computer all damn day with no human interaction. Sure you’ve got phone and internet, but you can only stare at your bedroom door for so long. Soon enough you’ll get so lonely you’ll start talking to yourself.  It’s enough to drive anyone insane.

2. Vacations and sick days are hard to come by.

If you thought taking sick days were hard when you were going out to the office, you’d be surprised how difficult it is to take them when you don’t have to leave the house. You need to have a pretty good reason and have a very very high fever to not be able to get out the bed and walk down the hall to work. Before,  it was acceptable to take the day off for a cold when you drove into the office.  But when you work from home that’s just not good enough. You’ll get blank stares if you tell someone you took the day off because you have a headache or got a cold.

3. Weight gain is highly likely.

Remember up post I mentioned that easy access to the kitchen a benefit of working from home? Well it’s also one of this unfavorable things no body warned me about. Easy access to the kitchen means time for morning snacks, mid-morning snacks, lunch, “I have writer’s block” snacks, “My computer is acting slow” snacks, “I just don’t feel like working” snacks,”My favorite TV show is on” snacks and dinner. I’m sure you can come up with many more snacks, but you get the picture.

Than there’s the fact concerning your lack of movement and physical activity all day. When you worked outside the home, you had to at least walk from the last parking spot in the lot to the front door. Now the further you have to travel is across the hall. The increased access to the refrigerator coupled with limited mobility can’t possibly mean anything good for your waistline. Unfortunately, no body told me that part…

4. Social skills may be lost.

When your kitchen table becomes your “office”, email may be your only chance to be “social” Consider yourself lucky if you get to make phone calls. After conducting so much business by staring at the computer all day, you’ll suddenly find yourself frazzled and nervous when the time comes for you to actually conduct business face- t0 -face. (And no, I don’t mean via Skype sessions.) Simple things such as when to shake hands and passing along your business card may suddenly seem foreign to you. You just might need to brush up your social skills a bit by reading up on it or practicing with friends.

5. You may never look good again.

Hate to break it to you, but that new spring wardrobe you purchased just might be the biggest waste of money ever. Turns out when you work from home, you never leave the house so you don’t have to look good for anybody. Gone are the days when you spent hours applying the perfect makeup or fixing that shape up before that big meeting. Now it’s putting on your best pair of sweatpants IF you bother to get dressed at all. Word of advice: Either cut your clothes shopping budget in half or be prepared with tags to sell when you don’t use. If you don’t, you’ll be wondering what you were thinking investing in clothes you may only wear once.  Which leads me to my next point…

6. Investing in a good set of pajamas is smart.

Chances are you’ll loose all motivation to get dressed in the morning and just want to stay in your pajamas all day. So now might be a good time to get those silk pajamas you’ve been eyeing (or maybe even Pajama Jeans). Just promise me you’ll still find time to get dressed at least every once in a while. There’s something to be said about dressing the part. After all, you are still at work. Besides, I never seem to be as productive when I’m stuck in pajamas all day.

7. Beds have never seemed more comfortable.

Remember those days when you just wanted to recuperate in bed  for a little bit but you could never fall asleep? Don’t count on that ever happening again. Those days will now only be a distant memory. Once you start working from home, you’ll develop a magnetic attraction to your bed that you just can’t resist. Suddenly your pillow will be fluffier and your mattress will be much more comfortable and inviting than usual. When you are covered with your sheets, you’ll instantly feel like you are enveloped in love. Once it’s time to  get out of bed and head to your work area of choice, those plush sheets and pillow will be beckoning you to come back.

I know it’s hard to resist, but you just have to learn to say no. You’ll never get as much work done when you work from the comfort of your bed. In fact, it took everything in me to get out of bed this morning and write this blog post at a table.

8. Homesick doesn’t mean what you think it does.

When you were a little kid being sent off to summer camp for the first time you knew home sick to mean not being able to have fun because you missed your home and family too much. Apparently, that was a lie. The real definition of home sick is as follows:

Homesick (adj.) – That nauseating and frustrating feeling you get when you realize you have to be at your home for another day.  Symptoms are involuntary twitching, muscle spasms, mood swings, potty mouth, irritability, restlessness and lack of motivation

9. You have no reason to watch the morning news.

I don’t know about you, but when I actually left the house to work the only reason why I watched the news in the morning was to find out about traffic reports and the weather. Now that I have no traffic to avoid or weather to accordingly for, the news never gets turned on in the morning. On the off days that I do need to know the weather, I know turn to my trusty widgets provided by Verizon Fios.

10. Daytime television has drastically improved. 

The time when you couldn’t find something to watch on those days off from work will never happen again. You’ll soon find there have been major improvements to daytime television when you work from home and you’ll never want to work again. You’ll discover yourself keeping the TV on while you work or trying to schedule your work day around you favorite TV shows. In most cases it doesn’t really work well in your favor. Who knew soap operas, talk shows, old sitcoms and documentaries about Whitney Houston could be so interesting? Luckily, God invented DVR, rewind buttons, and instantly replay. I suggest you learn how to use them.

11. Friends won’t take you seriously.

From the outside looking in, it seems as though people who work from home are living the life. They can take breaks whenever they want to. Go on vacation on a whim and don’t even have to worry about daycare for the children – which may be true for some work from home people. But friends fail to realize that we can’t just drop things on a minutes notices and sometimes making deadlines means working around the clock. Basically, they don’t always think of what you do at home as work. My suggestion is to find some other friends  in addition to the ones you have who also work from home. Those friends won’t be too upset when you have to cancel a dinner date last minute to complete a client’s project.

Did I miss something? What do you wish you had known before making the decision to work from home?

February 1, 2012

Why I Love HARO

As a journalist, there are a few tools I depend on to survive in this crazy world of media. One is the Associated Press Stylebook. The other is my subscription to Media Bistro. I also can’t go on without my MacBook Pro. And I can’t forget about Google Alerts.  Then there’s my digital recorder…  Ok, so there are a lot of things I can’t survive without in the journalism world (learn about them here), but I’m here to tell you about one of my favorite survival tools, Help A Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO is an email list in which media professionals can submit queries regarding sources they are in need off and have it sent to thousands of subscribers who can then contact them directly. It has come in handy in several occasions when I needed to find sources in short time periods. I highly suggest any business professional looking for exposure to sign up. However, that’s not the only reason I love HARO. Unbeknownst to many, HARO is great for many other reasons and uses.

One thing I like to do is  look at each media outlet and see if there is a publication I never heard of that I would like to target for freelance opportunities. I then begin researching that company and see what kind of topics they look for. This method isn’t just for freelance writers, though. Any business professional can go through HARO queries and find businesses they may like to work with in some way. Think of it like an innovative “phone book.” (Whatever, you do refrain from using the email listed in the query for other business opportunities. That’s a big no-no.)

I’m a big fan of random fun facts. Every once in a while, queries list an interesting statistic that you otherwise never would have given a second thought about. And those interesting statistics, I found thanks to HARO then become great conversation starters. – Not to mention they end up serving as inspiration for future pitches I may want to craft.

But  when I’m sick of writing pitches or queries, and choose to be on the other side of the computer I turn to HARO to become the source of a journalist’s dreams. I’ve been quoted in many articles and I’ve gotten lot’s of opportunities from using HARO to be the source. Hey, writers like some exposure too…

And I thoroughly like the exposure to like-minded professionals. Freelancing can get kind of lonely sometimes, so I find it find to interview or be interviewed and continue to stay in touch with the person. For some reason, I tend to feel a sense of camaraderie with my sources and interviewers. Sometimes, building a relationship with them has led to some great business opportunities. Just goes to show you that networking can happen anywhere.

On those days, I like to be anywhere but here, I turn to HARO and hope to find some tidbit about a different location. HARO founder, Peter Shankman, is an avid traveler and tends to include very short blurbs about his destinations at the top of some of the emails. Just the other day, he mentioned something interesting about Europe and Los Angeles. On the days, that he doesn’t mention anything about his travels, I simply use the top portion of those emails as a shopping guide. Every email has a short paragraph about advertising a service or product you should think about purchasing.

And of course, when you read as much as I do, sometimes you run out of things in your stash. Reading HARO queries allows me to pick out stories I may find interesting and make a mental note to look it up once it’s published. After all, I can’t write them all so I might as well read it all when I get the chance!

January 24, 2012

How I Learned to Love Marketing

Marketing. It’s a word that scares most entrepreneuers and a word I admittedly knew nothing about when I started out. When I first started my writing business I knew nothing about how to adequately market my services. So I did what any young entrepreneur  in the technology age would do. I slapped together a website and portfolio and published it. Then I sat back and waited for the prospects to come running. The only problem was the people didn’t come running. It was more like a trickling of prospects a few times a month. So I decided it was time for a change and time to revamp my marketing strategy.

After doing some research, I found  the words that stuck out the most were social networking and cold calling. So naturally, I drafted a marketing plan that included Facebook and cold calling various businesses in the area. I even threw in some direct mail. Although I had some successes, the problem was I hated every minute of it. I have NEVER been a fan of Facebook and the idea of calling random people to sell them on my services was extremely nerve wracking. As a result, I struggled to push myself to actually do the marketing I planned on. But the I more I did it, the more I hated it. Until one day I asked myself why I was doing it. I was obviously marketing to expand my business, but why did I have to torture myself in the process?

The whole reason why I quit my job to pursue writing was so I would no longer have to do the work I hated. I  could actually LOVE what I do for a living. Wouldn’t taking on marketing projects I hate defeat the purpose? There was no reason for me to continue to dread marketing when no one was forcing me to do it. So I promptly discontinued the cold calls, direct mail, and Facebook to begin a hunt for different marketing strategies I could actually love or at least learn to love.

After I waded through Tumblr, email marketing, and Twitter I finally found my holy grail: In-person marketing and blogging. I also learned to love LinkedIn. Considering I work from home, I jump at the chance to leave the house and socialize with outsiders. And it only made sense to start a blog since I make a living as a writer. What’s funny is the choices seem so obvious now. I can’t believe it took me almost a year to figure this out. Ever since I implemented these tactics into my marketing strategy, I no longer struggle to make time for marketing because it doesn’t feel like work anymore. I actually enjoy doing it. I guess you can say I stopped marketing  since the strategies I chose tend to be fun. And can you believe I yield much better success rates now that I love how I choose to market. Guess my mom was right – Do what you love and the money will come!

It took me almost 12 months of hating my efforts to realize, if I don’t like something I should change it.

Did you have a similar situation? How do you market yourself or business? 

January 19, 2012

Casting Call for Brides-to-Be! Do You Want to be on TV?

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of going to my first bridal showcase as a bride-to-be. (I’m usually there for my own business endeavors and to make business contacts.) It was a nice change to go to a bridal showcase and actually be a bride and not an entrepreneur!  I had the pleasure of connecting with several businesses wishing to fulfill wedding day dreams such as photographers, performers, designers etc.

And then there was the casting director of a little show called Bridezillas. No, I don’t want to be a Bridezilla, but I love talking to people and asking lots of questions. I guess it’s the journalist in me. Anyway, the casting director explained there will be a new format to the show and a host for the new season. The best part is participants will be compensated $3,000 for their Bridezilla-esque behavior. Interested in making now the start of your 15 minutes of fame? Here’s the casting information taken directly from his flyer:

Bridezillas

We’re searching for Outspoken, Charismatic, and Funny Brides for season 9!

Are you a sassy yet classy diva who has high expectations and wants nothing less than perfection?

Are you an American princess who wants to have a royal wedding of her own?

Are you a socialite who wants all things extravagant and over-the-top leaving your guests buzzing about your big day?

Are you a former reality television star who wants to share their magical day with America?

Are you spoiled and want the wedding day of your dreams regardless of what others might say?

Are you obsessed with every detail of your wedding and feel no on understands your vision?

Are you fed up with your family, bridesmaids, and in-laws’ inability to get things right?

To be considered, email the below information to swatt68@yahoo.com.

For questions call 646-645-1855

  • Bride’s Full Name
  • City & State
  • Contact #
  • Email
  • Wedding Date
  • Wedding Budget
  • Wedding Website or Facebook Page
  • Tell us about a Bridezilla moment you’ve had since you started wedding planning
  • Who is giving you the most stress and why?
  • Give us your top 3 concerns or biggest fears for your wedding?
  • What kind of Bridezilla do you think you’ll be and why?

DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE A COUPLE PHOTOS OF THE ENGAGED COUPLE!

Brides will be compensated $3,000!!!