Blogging for Business

Are you scared to blog?  Are you wondering how blogging can help your business?  I will admit, I am not an expert BUT I do know as a result of blogging daily for over 4 years (OMG!) I have made a difference which is my purpose personally and in my business.

A simple challenge from Vanessa Coppes of ETTM, changed my life.  On those days I want to quit, I go back to the emails I received from readers and customers to see how something I shared has helped them.  Do I struggle some days finding a topic? YES!  Do I wonder if anyone actually reads them?  YES!  It is the occasional comment or message from a friend or reader which keeps me going, wanting to write more and share more.  I am always amazed how many people actually read my blog!  It is humbling to think people read AND share it with friends, family and team members.

The Sales MOMS Network actually did a story on Blogging for Direct Sales“.  There are some great suggestions in there on how to get started if you are in direct sales and are considering blogging.  It can be a little scary at first but the benefits far outweigh the scare factor.  They also shared a blog on “The 7 Tips of Basic Blogging”.

I remember the first time Deb Bixler included my name in a tweet – I was shocked, honored and for those who know me – yes, I cried just a little but they were tears of joy.

I know my blog is all over the place.  I go from talking about my business to sharing personal health struggles to organizing tips and product spotlights.  I have heard pros and cons about the best way to blog – focused versus general.  Most days, my blogs are about what I need to hear and I hope some where along the way, it helps someone else.

Are you considering blogging?  What have you got to loose, right?  Will it give you instant business?  Probably not.  Will it help you to develop relationships?  Absolutely.  I know for me, it has changed my life.  It has helped me step just a little further out of my comfort zone by sharing sides of myself very few people know.  I LOVE helping others to grow – personally and professionally to be the best they can be.  Remember “You can’t fail if you don’t stop BEFORE you SUCCEED.” Wise words from Mary Christensen.

I challenge each of you to move the walls of your comfort zone so you can grow.  If it isn’t blogging, maybe it is picking up the phone and making calls. Or is it sharing the gift of your business with someone you don’t know?  Whatever the wall is – step beyond it and experience the greatest gift of all – overcoming your own personal FEAR.  I look forward to hearing about the walls you are moving – please share.  If you are blog or are starting a blog – share your link below so we can all check it out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

How It All Began

I has been 4 years… four years of blogging daily sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice.  Then I think back to what started it all and the response I got from the first post.

This is my first blog post from March, 2013.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for encouraging me to not only share my story but to start writing again.  I know in my heart, I make a difference to at least one person each day with what I write.

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more? I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable. My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports. Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came. Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that.

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community. She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally.

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Secrets to Success  

success

Do you know what today is?  YUP, it is HUMP Day. Halfway to the weekend.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been working on personal development in an effort to grow my business.  I know it probably sounds crazy to some BUT I am finding when I grow personally, I am blessed in both my personal life and my business.  I set up a morning routine which includes checking off those things I felt were absolutely necessary to be consistent (plus they are usually the things I let slip by or forget to do).

Here are some tips I have implemented based on the suggestions of other successful people:

Unknown1) They wake up early.

The early bird catches the worm, right?  I committed to waking up early.  Since the onset of health issues, early for me is 6 or 6:30AM so I can take the LONG commute (down the stairs) to be in the office by 7AM.  Why?  Because it allows me to get things done. By getting in the office by 7AM, I am able to put in at least 2 hours (or more) of uninterrupted work which makes all the difference in the world as I attack the rest of the day.  When I worked in the non-profit world, this was my key to success.  Arriving before staff came in to ensure I could clear my head before the craziness of the day.  I believe it was this routine which helped me to move up the ladder from volunteer to a Chief Operating Officer.  So, why would I not do it in my own business, right?   I challenge you to start waking up early everyday!

2) Say “No” often.

I am still working on this one since I have alway been the proverbial “people pleaser”. I am learning how to evaluate every request when it comes to my time and my business.  With every request you have to ask yourself is this going to help me get to my end goal. If the answer is “no” it’s likely you need to answer “no”. Of course there are always exceptions.  When you know your goal, it is easier to do this.

planner pic3) Plan ahead of time.

Every successful person plans ahead. Guaranteed. They have a clear path to get to their end goal.  They only veer from the path if the plan needs adjusting because their results aren’t going as planned. They know how to stick to their plans and pivot when needed.  I will admit this one is tough for me but I am working on it.

4) Be consistent.

This is a challenge for me all areas of my life.   When I plan, consistency becomes much easier.  I find it is easier to be consistent in my business which tends to then roll over into my personal life.

goal5) Set goals and see them through.

Goal seeing it not one of my strong points.  I think it has more to do with fear of not succeeding then anything else.  I also tend to play the comparison game and worry about how I measure up to others.  Having an accountability partner and setting small goals every day is helping.   The key is to set your goals, write them down and follow a plan to achieve them.  Everyone’s goals are different and so is the route they take to achieve them! Set them anyway, make a plan and be consistent.

6) Ignore what others are doing.

Do you always check to see what others are doing? Do you spend countless hours on Facebook reading posts, trying to figure out how to get ahead? I was amazed to find out successful people don’t do this – they just don’t care what others are doing.  They have their blinders on and their heads down focused on their goal. They have a plan and are consistently working it.

Those who are successful aren’t following the crowd, they are continuing to learn new things.  Once they learn something new, they figure out how it can be used to help them reach their individual goals.  Whatever your goal, are you willing to invest some time into learning how to make it happen?  Whether it is reaching your goal weight, having a successful business, or reaching the top in your field – it all is achieved when we are willing to invest in ourselves.

What is your best tip for success?  Please share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What Defines You?

14440744_10210655182759411_3078056205221449063_n

Happy Friday!  I am in Day #2 of covering for a co-worker while she is on vacation at my part-time job.  There will be time to reflect, set goals and get down on paper what I want to do for the rest of the year.  It can be a very quiet office.

Today’s subject is a little different.  I have talked endlessly about the time I spent reflecting last week and this topic actually came up.  I have wondered what direction to take my blog.  Do I want to focus on business topics?  Do I want to focus on life? Do I want to have simple solutions to life’s challenges?  Then driving home, it hit me……….

The picture above was posted by my daughter as we had a moment before we left North Carolina.  Being in the gray area of diagnosis for my MS and Addison’s has caused me to feel like I am my illness.  Crazy, right considering I am always saying #mswillnotdefineme BUT the truth is I was letting it define me.  I was letting it become a part of everything – the reason I was gaining weight, the reason I was emotional, the reason why I had aches & pains and the list goes on. In an effort not to own or be responsible for what was happening, I quickly and easily blamed my diagnosis.  The truth is I am a 59 year old who beat up her body for years.  The years of drug addiction, bulimia, abortion, playing hard and never thinking about my health.  I had aches and pains before I had a diagnosis or two.

As a people pleaser, I always listen to what others have to say then adopt my actions.  I think back to when I started blogging, nothing planned just sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Over the years, yes 3 1/2 years to be exact, I have changed to fit into a mold of what others are doing or suggesting, simply trying to find a purpose.  Playing the comparison game.  Hoping for more readers.  Hoping to turn those readers into customers or followers.  Believe it or not, I actually have lost my love for writing.  YIKES!  Scary but true.  I have wondered if I should continue or give it a rest. I wondered if anyone would notice.  So many questions.

Then as I reflected on this simple post, I realized what I loved about my blog was I got to share and write whatever I wanted – business, personal, tips, recipes and I didn’t care because I knew somewhere it would touch the person who needed it.

So, I will continue writing.  I may share about my struggles with doctors and my health.  I may share about my amazing pink bubble and my business.  I may share recipes.  I will continue to share words of encouragement on Sundays.

I am owning my diagnosis, realizing it is just one part of me and what defines me.  I am owning my blog as mine to do with as I want.

Another ramble but I hope it has touched someone – whether you are struggling with a medical diagnosis, growing your business, finding yourself or just looking for something to read.  I would love to hear from you via comment or email at HopeWs31@gmail.com

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Money Wisdom

e1c0f24f5e17429895626f49a8c12f36

We are halfway through the year and the fiscal year closes for Thirty One today.  Each year, I review my goals and my finances.  It has been a rough few months adjusting to the diagnosis of MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) and another possible auto-immune disease but I am not using that as an excuse to not move forward.  For some that may seem harsh, for others they will understand that staying positive and moving forward is what gets me up every day.

I have learned (yes, in my 50’s) a few things that I wish I had of learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal of being debt free from credit cards.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant that I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your card to the lowest possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer.

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

43ad1f50d0f442bbb84bfffbc719ac46

#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay of your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  WOOHOO!

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. That cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

12495040_1004179469638257_2185327697641532492_n

#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late that it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.