Archive for May 2017

Outside Looking In: Why You Need to Talk to People Outside of Your Industry

Who do you talk to about your blog and online biz? I know if you’re like me you probably have a group of blog online besties that you talk to about everything. I mean everything about how you’re feeling unmotivated because you had a fight with your mom. About the jerk who dumped you the day before Valentine’s Day. Friends that you email when you’re lacking motivation or need feedback.

You might even talk to your friends about it who don’t totally understand it and have no interest in owning a business or running a blog but they support you. I’m a big believer in having that circle of friends but do you have anyone that you talk to that owns a brick and mortar store? Someone who might operate a product based business while you have a service based one?

I have been trying relentlessly for about a year to set up a mastermind group and have constantly hit roadblocks (insert sad face here). In February I joined The Member’s Club created by Carrie Green, founder of The Female Entrepreneur Association one thing that drew me to the Society was the opportunity to meet and connect with other aspiring and current business owners. Carrie and her team took it up a notch when they built networks for each of us to show us different business owners in our area.  The day that I saw my list I started working to arrange a meetup. I planned it for a month away after lots of back and forth about people’s availability and I got it several RSVPs.  The day of the event only one other person was able to attend. At first, I was a little embarrassed and upset that I was sitting at a restaurant with a table for 6 and there was just two of us but once I started talking to the lady who did show up I knew that this was not a wasted meeting. The woman who I had lunch with owns a restaurant with her husband, very different from what I’m doing. I realized a few things when talking to her that I’ve totally been missing because I’ve been so focused and only communicating with people who are doing the online thing.

They Put Your Elevator Pitch To The Test

If I told someone online I was trying to build my business as an educational platform as a time management and systems project management specialist they would probably understand what I was rambling about. The woman I met with nicely pretty much told me that was vague and asked for more details which made me wonder, am I being totally clear?

It was slightly intimidating meeting with this woman who owned a brick and mortar store and having her quiz me about what I was doing. Intimidating but good. If I can’t simply explain it to someone who wants to understand how could I possibly explain it and sell my services to someone who needs them but doesn’t realize the benefit.

It’s so easy to stay in your comfort zone in the online world because it feels like a safe place. Not many bloggers are vapid meanies so they won’t belittle you or run you down. It’s comfortable but a lot of groupthink can happen in your comfort zone.  By talking to people who can’t automatically finish your sentences when you’re discussing your online business you’re forced to take a step back and look at what you’re doing from the outside.

They Can Open You Up To New Networking Opportunities

Online when trying to grow your business most people are just looking at webinars, content upgrades and resource libraries but she got me thinking about how to make more connections in person.

As the owner of a restaurant, she could email people all day, write amazing blog posts and even host webinars on making your own pizza sauce if she wanted. All that is great but unless she gets people in the door her business would go belly up. Making great content online is important and a great way to build credibility, get your name out there and set yourself apart.  But like the restaurant example blog comments and Instagram likes won’t pay the bills (for most of us). I think that is why it’s so great to hang out with someone separate from that online mindset. It’s easy to start “feeling yourself” online as your list grows, comments rack up and traffic grows but where is the income? A lot of us, myself included, are working day jobs still so the stress of getting income may not be as pressing as if not. You know you have a safety net. I have several clients who have brick and mortar operations, some of them want Facebook likes and page traffic, while others only want to track calls and sales and they think the social media aspect is just fluff. My honest opinion is you need some of both.

Talking to someone with that experience about your business forces you to think about what activities are stress relieving and which are goal achieving.

They See Brand New Revenue Streams

I’ve been so focused on helping other bloggers and online business owners I never thought about how I might be able to help people working offline or corporations for more revenue and reach. The great thing about talking to a brick and mortar business owner when you have a digital based business is that they tend to think outside the box. In fact, if you’re thinking inside the box they are thinking inside the triangle. It’s a different shape altogether. 

If she owned a steak house she probably wouldn’t go to a farmer’s market to adverse her services. But she may see about having a booth at a local beer festival. She asked if I did or wanted to do courses and suggested I try to set up live events. I casually mentioned something in my work history and she thought of several ideas I wouldn’t have ever thought about for possibly generating more revenue in my business.

They Have A Purer Vision of Your Services & Industry

They aren’t comparing it to other businesses or even to their own. They are basing their opinions and suggestions strictly on what they see and what you tell them.

Have you ever been working on a project and found yourself stuck? Maybe you are working on your great American novel and know that your main character needs to run into her ex Dr. Handsome Face at the ER but you don’t know how to get her there. All your ideas don’t seem right then you casually mention to your boyfriend your dilemma. The book you’ve seen him reading was Captain Underpants, you aren’t expecting an answer you’re just venting. Out of nowhere, he says, “What is she has a panic attack thinks it’s a heart attack and has someone take her to the ER.” Then BAM! You see it she has her best friend Sally, who hates Dr. Handsome Face take her and comedy and drama follow. Your boyfriend may not know how to do a book outline or be able to create a character bio but there he gives random genius. He wasn’t thinking about the character’s seemingly perfect health or any of the other things clouding your ability to see this simple solution.

The same goes for people outside your business. Where another online business owner may not think of that local event you should go to, to scout new clients, you brick and mortar friend might have a list of them.

They also aren’t clouded by their own past failures they just see the details you provide in black and white.

I’m not saying drop your online biz friends and go hang out with brick and mortar owners only. Don’t ditch your business coach with a history in SEO and marketing for someone who doesn’t even have a Facebook account. Just be perceptive and open to people in other industries. At the end of the day, you have to make the decisions for your business but you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting alone. 

8 Business & Life Lessons From 30 Pounds of Weight Loss

I have lost 30lbs!!! Since starting my weight loss journey in 2017, I have learned a lot about myself. I had been wanting to lose weight for a while and decided to go ahead and make a real commitment. I will be honest, when it comes to certain things I am incredibly driven and will move heaven and earth to make things happen. With the weight loss goal, it wasn’t something I was sure I could tackle the way I wanted to and needed to on my own. I had to make a commitment and that meant putting up the funds and bringing in a professional.

Simultaneously I have worked to lose weight and grow my business in 2017 and I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities in these challenging yet rewarding adventures. I’ve lost more weight than I thought possible and am still losing. I’ve had my highest earning month from my business in 2017. So here are a few lessons weight loss can teach you about business and vice versa.

Sometimes You Just Need a Cheerleader

We are all capable of losing weight as well as following our business goals. Neither of which is easy. Both take a lot of work and different moving parts. Sometimes you know exactly what you need to do, but you can’t find the motivation without a cheerleader. Sometimes that cheerleader may be a positive blog post comment, a blogger buddy you haven’t ever met in real life or a nutritionist who makes you step on a scale and share a food diary three times a week. Obviously, it’s not cut and dry. You don’t wake up one day and say, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” or “I want to start a 5 figure business,” then get to go to bed having accomplished that goal the same day. You probably know what it is you need to do, or where you can find the information to make those things happen but sometimes just having someone in your corner can make a huge difference.

Success Takes Time

Like I mentioned above, you don’t wake up, start a business and retire in one day. You also don’t do 25 sit ups and have 6-pack abs.  Anything worth having takes time.

Excuse me while I hop on my soapbox, but I think that an excellent example of this is that show about getting married at first sight. I haven’t watched it but I feel like I wouldn’t want to marry someone who thought that was a good way to pick a mate.

I have had my fair share (and then some) of difficult relationshits (yes I said shits, not ships) but I would rather find my soulmate through experiences, time and building real connections than a reality t.v. show. Sorry, not sorry Bachelorette fans.

But even with arranged marriages or tv marriages, it still takes time after the “I Do” to build a real relationship.

It’s Easier to Screw Up Than Succeed

It is much simpler to stop at Mcdonald’s and grab a Mcdouble and small fry than it is to go home after a long day at the office (that is going to be followed by a long night of side hustling) and make some tilapia and freshly sauteed veggies.

It’s also a lot easier to publish a crappy post than a polished, spelled proofed one with a killer pinnable graphic and content upgrade.

That is why so many people fail at business and at losing weight. Yes, it is a lot easier to mess up than to succeed but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. In fact, it’s the opposite. The fact that it’s so easy to “mess up” or get off track should inspire you to work harder to keep yourself in check and be consistent with the right habits and practices.

Don’t Burn Down the Whole House Over One Dirty Dish

Sometimes you will find yourself at a barbecue for a friends birthday. You tried to plan ahead. You ate a huge salad before you left for the party and even brought a fruit and veggie plate. You’ve spent 4 hours nibbling on healthy goodies and catching up with friends then some serious hunger hits. You decide it wouldn’t totally crush your diet to have a piece of barbecued chicken, after all, it’s protein. Next thing you know a piece of chicken has turned into a piece of chicken, some ribs, baked beans, a roll and a piece of birthday cake (I mean it’s a party). Okay, you got off track but that doesn’t mean you give up. So what you had a less than ideal meal? That’s going to happen even after you reach your weight loss goal you have to be able to get back on the horse when you eat something that isn’t ideal because a healthy diet, like business and life, is all about balance.

Some weeks your best friend will be getting married, your grandma will be sick or you’ll have a horrible break up and you’ll need to take a few days off or you may miss a deadline. This isn’t ideal, but as they say, life happens. When you miss that deadline or didn’t post this week’s post, don’t just avoid the client or act like nothing happened. Get back to it! Email the customer apologizing for the delay, explaining you had an emergency and telling them when you will have the project completed. Just because you have one bad moment doesn’t mean you give up.

You’ll Probably Notice Your Progress Before Anyone Else

I remember when I hit the 15-pound mark. I had started to see the difference in my body so when I met up with friends I hadn’t seen in awhile and they didn’t automatically applaud me on my weight loss I felt like maybe it wasn’t noticeable. I once read it takes four weeks for you to notice, eight weeks for family and friends and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. I don’t remember what week this was but I think that is an excellent reminder. I’m pretty transparent on the blog but I have always been the type who is private about money stuff. So while I may be making regular income people don’t see it. So when you’re having those wins or seeing those PayPal deposits you may feel like a serious boss and know that you are making progress but then one of your friends may say one of the most condescending things people say to bloggers and online business owners, “You’re still doing that blog thing? That’s so cute. What a fun hobby!

When you’re screaming on the inside, “I don’t know many hobbies that pay you $300 for 2 hours of work.

The thing is you have to block all that out, you know your numbers and you know the progress you’ve made. With weight loss and business you are building something for you and your approval is what matters.

Other Times You’ll Feel Like You’re Getting Nowhere But Someone Will See You

Other times you won’t notice your weight loss or your progress because, duh, you see yourself every day. You’re feeling unmotivated and unsuccessful and then someone says, “Have you lost weight?” “Your business looks like it’s doing so well.” “I’m so proud of you!” While you are doing it for yourself, you may be having a rough time. You may feel like you’re not getting anywhere and then someone out of nowhere somewhere else tells you that you are doing great.

The reason this happens is because as humans most of us are so hard on ourselves and even if we want to celebrate the small wins it’s easy to sit there in frustration that you haven’t reached your end goal.

Listen to that positive feedback and let it push you.

People Will Try to Hinder You (Even if they don’t mean to)

While most people will tell you not to drink on a diet, I do allow myself one night a week to have drinks. That being said I try to balance it by sticking water and hard liquor mixes and eating protein and veggies before and after. I have a friend who I’ve been pretty open with about the way I am eating and that I’m not drinking beer and only occasionally red wine. This person has continued to invite me to places for drinks that only serve beer or when I am looking at the drink menu will say, “They have beer too.” I know it’s not on purpose and that she has the body type where she can eat whatever she wants but it’s so frustrating to say constantly, “I’m not drinking beer.” Besides trying to be healthier beer just makes me feel bloated most of the time I drink it, so I avoid it.

So when decided to hang out and she suggests a beer garden and I have to say for the 100th time, “They only have a beer and I’m not drinking beer,” is maddening especially when there is about a 1 to 10 ratio of beer only and beer, liquor and wine establishments in this city.

People will offer you a plate of greasy cheese fries or buy you a sugary shot. In business, people will tell you to take the day off. “You don’t need to be so thorough with that client work, send it end and get it done.”  Again they probably aren’t trying to sabotage you on purpose, but you have to be able to spot when the people in your life are presenting you with something that might hinder your mission and turn it down.

I’m not saying skip every happy hour, don’t have a piece of birthday cake ever again or overthink every email you send clients but be able to recognize when to give yourself a little leeway and when to stick to your plan.

You Have to Stick With It

Very few things worth having, happen quickly. There will be good days and there will be bad days. There will be days where your baked fish and fresh veggies just seem like the best meal you’ve ever had. There will be days where all you want is a cheeseburger with bacon, avocado and grilled onions. There will be days where you get great feedback from clients and you are so grateful for your mission. There will be days where you feel like you can’t get anything accomplished and just want to quit. Nothing is perfect all the time; some days are better than others. You just have to keep going. If you want to see real results you have to keep working.

These may be lessons that apply to life in general and not just business and weight loss but I couldn’t help but see the similarities. Have you taken any significant strides in your business, blog or health this year? If so what might you add to this list? Tell me in the comments.

And now my mandatory before and after photo. (Sorry for the excessive watermark, I don’t want some random site claiming I used their diet pills.)

Before and after

2016-2017 Network Predictions A Year Later

It’s my second favorite time of year for television! No not awards season or any of that stuff. It’s renewal and cancellation month. All the shows we’ve gotten to know and love (or not love) find out if they will live to see another season. Sometimes this is awesome because you get reassurance that you will get to find out how that cliffhanger ended. Other times it’s heartbreaking because you are left with a void in your heart because a show you loved is over and so many questions are left unanswered.

Frequency (CW)

Things I Predict: I am going to give this a try for sure but I don’t know if I see it lasting sadly. I just don’t know how this premise could stay interesting and fresh long term.

Result:  I didn’t watch this one. It wasn’t renewed. The CW and makers of the show gave the show’s audience some closure online about how the storyline ended.

No Tomorrow (CW)

Things I Predict: I want to say this won’t last for a number of reasons. But its from the creator behind the CW’s hit Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and it looks good, but the trailer doesn’t have large appeal in my opinion. I think it could go either way.

Result: So I didn’t give this a shot and apparently neither did a lot of people. The show was canceled in early May. Like it’s network neighbor Frequency, the CW released footage online to give fans closure.

Conviction (ABC)

Things I Predict: If the show is as interesting as it’s trailer I think ABC has another hit on its hands.

Result: I really like this show. Perhaps it didn’t receive enough marketing or maybe it was on a rough night (I believe it was on Monday and then Sunday nights), sadly the show was canceled after only 13 episodes.

Notorious (ABC) 

Things I Predict: Unless audiences are burnt out on this fast-talking drama, I can see it being very successful.

Result: This show was great. Wonderful cast, crazy stories and a nice spot in the coveted TGIT lineup on ABC. Unfortunately, the show was canceled officially in May 2017 but after getting the episode order cut and only 10 episodes airing the writing was on the wall.

Speechless (ABC)

Things I Predict: I could see this show doing well…depending on what shows it’s paired with. ABC seems to be the only network not climbing the uphill sitcom battle the past few years. I could see it getting renewed. Minnie Driver comes with a built-in audience.

Result:  They waited until the last minute but the show was renewed for a second season. I did watch this show and I love it. It’s funny and smart. It’s also a realistic look at a family with disabilities.

American Housewife (ABC)

Things I Predict: I see this getting canceled quickly.

Result: I watched 2 episodes but didn’t love it. However, it got renewed for another season by ABC.

The Great Indoors (CBS)

Things I Predict: This show could do really well if it’s promoted correctly.

Result: This show was funny. I thought the depiction of millennials was a little overdone but I may be biased. The show was canceled and will not be returning for a second season.

Man With A Plan (CBS)

Things I Predict: I think people want to see Matthew LaBlanc. I know I do! This show could go either way. It could be a hit or get the ax after a few episodes. CBS is pretty quick to pull the cord on shows.

Result: I’ve never watched it. It did perform steady and CBS has renewed it.

 

Macgyver (CBS) 

Things I Predict: Shows like this tend to do really good on CBS. I could see it doing well.

Result: This show didn’t appeal to me so I didn’t watch. CBS gave it an early renewal in March.

Things I Think: CBS has a hit.

Result: I didn’t watch it either but it did receive an early renewal from CBS.

Pure Genius (CBS)

Things I Predict: While I was blown away I don’t really see this show doing well but only time will tell.

Result: CBS canceled it. I didn’t give it a chance but it looked good.

Pitch (Fox)

Things I Predict: I think this show could be great. My three issues are it may be better as a movie, it may not get the marketing it needs to make an impact and it may also do better on cable. A show like this has the ability to show the gritty side of sports and I don’t know if a network like Fox can do that due diligence because of network limitations.

Result: I didn’t watch it, I wanted to just never got around to it. Pitch never found it’s audience and was canceled.

Shots Fired (FOX) 

Things I Predict: This could be the network’s biggest hit since Empire or it may go quietly into the night as the country may not be ready for it.

Results: This show had a great cast but was canceled by Fox.

APB (FOX)

Things I Predict: This show will at least last a full season.

Result: Another show with a great cast that won’t see a second season. I think it would have had a better chance on cable.

Timeless (NBC)

Things I Predict: I don’t see this series doing well. I’m interested but I don’t think it has wide appeal.

Result: This is a true story of the underdog! After news of the show’s cancellation, it’s small but loyal fanbase raised serious hell. NBC changed their mind and renewed the show for a shorter season. Nice reminder if you feel like your opinion doesn’t matter.

This Is Us (NBC)

Things I Predict: NBC has a nack and a love for emotional shows. I can see this show having a small but loyal following.

Result: As excited as I was for this show I never could have imagined the cultural impact it would have. Not only was it a tearjerking hit but NBC gave it an early renewal for seasons 2 and 3!

The Good Place (NBC)

Things I Predict: I don’t see it lasting. I hope it does but NBC has not had the best luck with comedies lately.

Result: I loved this show! Like no question about it. When it ended with a short season I was pretty sure it was a wrap. However NBC did renew the comedy for a second season.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list of what shows got canceled and renewed. This was just a recap of the trailers I reviewed last year.

What shows are you excited to see coming back? Sad to see any of them go? Let me know in the comments.