Life Lessons And Blogging

comfort-zone

I love blogging, most days.  Even though I love to write, I do get writer’s block.  I have doubts – I wonder if anyone is reading it.  Am I sharing too much personal stuff?  Am I pushing my business too much?  So many questions run through my mind.  Doubts plague me.  Like that should surprise you!

Then someone will reach out to me and says “thanks, that is what I needed to hear”.  Those doubts melt away until the next time.  I smile and say “you are welcome”.  God has provided a “wink” moment to let me know that he is still in control.

When asked what my blog is about, I often hesitate because I am not sure just how to answer that question.  My goal is and always has been to share my strength, hope and experiences so that others may benefit from my struggles.  I want people to be able to get to know me – all sides of me – the good, the bad and yes, the ugly.

I have learned to stop worrying about who is reading my blog as well as what people think.  Now, if I could apply that to the rest of my life, I would be ROCKIN’.  I am who I am.  I know that some will like me while others will run in the opposite direction.  I know there will be critics.  Through it all, I get through it.

I like to mix things up in my blog with things that I have learned in business along with life lessons combined with things about my family, friends and of course, my pink bubble.  Are my details too intimate?  The things I share in my blog are things that I would be comfortable sharing even if we were having a conversation face to face.  I want to be honest and open with my readers.  I want to create a relationship with them, as best I can over the internet.

I have heard from a few people that they want to start blogging but don’t know where to begin.  I remember being there and my first blog was actually something dear to my heart.  I shared about the bullying that my daughter endured in school.  It was hard but I wanted people to understand that just because parents don’t know what is happening, it doesn’t mean that we are bad parents.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for the push, I will be eternally grateful.

Blogging has helped me to be confident.  It has pushed me outside of my comfort zone.  It has helped me face my fears by putting them out into the universe.  Even though writing is a cleansing process for me, I try to use it as a way to help others to overcome their fears.

The truth is that I journaled everyday for years as a way to work through things.  Blogging allows me to share what I have learned while encouraging others. Can you tell that today was one of those days that I wasn’t sure what to write?

If you are thinking about blogging, try it!  Step out of your comfort zone.  If you are already a blogger, post your link below so that we can all read your blog.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Blogging Is Good for Business

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Blogging is one of the most valuable tools that a business has to engage with customers and ultimately serve them better.

I LOVE this statement.  I have heard it for almost two years.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for my challenge almost TWO years ago!

I am NOT going to tell you that blogging will get you instant customers or increase your business by X%. What I will tell you is that it has helped me to build relationships with potential customers and hostesses.

I am blessed that on most days, writing comes easy to me.  On occasion,  finding a topic may be tough since I do this every day BUT once I have an idea, the juices start to flow.  I consider it another form of social media that will help you to build your business.

Want to know how to start…. JUST DO IT!  Here are 4 ways to spend your time blogging productively:

  1. Solve one problem per post.  I know you are all probably thinking that I should take my own advice, right?  LOL.  The truth is that you want to be the person your customers turn to when they need something.   You want your customers to think of you, you want them to think of how quick, smart, helpful, knowledgeable and to the point you are.
  2. Speak your clients’ language.  Write in terms that YOUR customers will understand.  If you use acronyms and technical terms, you may loose them.  The key is to figure out how your customers actually speak, so you can relate to them on their terms.
  3. Stop writing about yourself (or stop blogging).  I know that I include a lot of commentary in my blogs and some are personal but they have a purpose. They are a way for me to share what has worked or NOT worked for me.  Hopefully, my personal stories help others to avoid my mistakes or to know that they are not alone.  Sharing details of your personal life can help potential clients know, like and trust you. That can be very powerful.  You need to find a good balance between the two and know your blog audience.
  4. Tell your readers what to do next (and make it easy).  I have to admit that this is not something that I do well (or at least I don’t think I do).  I need to remember to tell my readers to do something when I end my blog.  Fill out a form, email me, like my Facebook business page, etc.  You get the point right?  At the end of every post, tell your reader exactly what to do next. Make it a simple, low-risk task that requires next to no thought. For example:

Click here and enter your e-mail to learn more about how [your great service] can help you with [their problem].  Then follow up with some useful information about your services and an invitation to talk by phone for a few minutes. Keep it simple.

I have been asked how long it takes me to blog.  The truth is, I never thought about it.  I write when the mood strikes which is usually early in the morning so it takes less time.  If I am struggling with a subject or a topic, then the time frame changes totally.  I have been told by a few bloggers when I get stuck that “if you’re spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to write about, you should probably be blogging less and talking with your potential clients more.”

Talking (and listening) to people in your target market is the best way to generate ideas for your blog. Are you blogging?  Share your blog below.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Value in the Eyes of God

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 (NIV)

As I reflect on the last 10 days, I am in awe of the way God has worked in my life.  This simple bible passage helps me to remember that no matter what I may see, God sees a totally different picture.

As I have mentioned, I had some God moments during the ETTM Power of Connection moment.  Sharing a past “secret” with someone who I didn’t know but felt compelled to share with was overwhelming.  The release of that “secret” that has haunted me for years was the beginning of a transformation that would continue the rest of the week.

My sponsor with Thirty One (who has also reached the highest ladder with Thirty One as an NED) Hope Shortt has an annual vision call.  It is during this call that she shares her heart felt story of her journey with Thirty One.  Every year, I cry and I am touched with her honesty, her humility and her success.  This year, I shared the recording with my hubby.  I wanted him to understand and see how AWESOME she really was.  His response to the call was surprising or should I say – SHOCKING!

When I started to talk about a recent struggle, he put up his hand and said “All I hear is blah, blah, blah!  You are your own worst enemy”.  Yes, it may have been a bit harsh but it is something that I have heard for years.  Counselors have told me, rehab counselors told me, family and even friends have said the same thing.  I know it!  I am my biggest struggle.  I get it but how do I get over it.  In a calm voice, hubby said, “l listened twice to the recording of Hope and I thought I was listening to your story.  You two could be sisters or better yet the same person”.  Okay, so I was a little shocked because I would never even consider myself on the same level with Hope (the other one).  Rob proceeded to tell me it was time to get through the block and find some help.

My first reaction was to get a “trainer” or life coach that I have met at the conference.   You know the ones that offer awesome programs that you know that if you take them, you will be awesome too.  Rob’s response was not what I expected – he said “you need someone who takes our insurance and can not only help you through this block but also coach you”.  YIKES!  Where was I going to find someone like that?  I had a million reasons (okay, excuses) when he said “you are just stubborn and standing in your own way of success”.  I have to admit, I pouted for a bit.  I got mad.  But I got busy looking for someone that would meet all of my requirements.  I was going to interview counselors and I was going to prove to him that there was no one out there that could do what I needed in my personal life and my business.

God had another plan.  I started pulling up all of the counselors in our network for insurance.  There were the usual ones that dealt with emotional disorders but than I came across one.  I was intrigued enough to do some more research on her.  I found out that she did counseling for women only and focused on self-esteem, weight loss, and was a life coach.  I called her expecting to get a machine or to have to wait a long time for an appointment.  WRONG on both counts.  She answered her own phone and gave me an appointment for Wednesday – this coming week.

Okay God, I get the message.  I have beat myself up long enough.  I have come close to success and backed away.  I have been that stubborn woman who doesn’t believe anyone can love her unconditionally.  I am ready to change.  I know it is not going to be easy.  I have to admit, now that I have made the appointment, I am a little nervous and tempted to cancel it.  I won’t because I am not only doing this for me – I am doing it for my marriage, my business and most of all because I believe that this is God’s plan for me.

You see, real value is in the eye of the beholder, and Christ is the Beholder of us all. Our value not only makes us precious to God, but it also makes us usable for amazing purposes in His kingdom that we would have never imagined.

I long to see myself in his eyes.  I am ready for this new journey….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tea and Cookies

My favorite drink is tea… I know it used to be coffee but I found that coffee and my stomach are not a good mix.  Hot black tea and green tea have become my new best friends.  The flavored teas just didn’t seem to be for me.  Of course, I use Equal (artificial sweetener) which is a no-no as far as hubby is concerned.  His latest mission is to get me away from the “poison” of artificial sweeteners – could be a tough one but he is not giving up the fight. Okay, I squirreled!

I would have to admit though that he may win the no sweetener battle if the only tea I drink is from my dear friend, Kathleen Edinger who is the founder and owner of TeaScapes.  This is like no other tea I have ever had.  I LOVE it.  The Spring Break is a black tea combined with some other flavors.  SHH!!!! Don’t tell hubby but I didn’t use any artificial sweetener with it.  A small out of raw cane sugar and I was good to go.  Check it out….

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I often talk about Jersey Cookie Girl – her cookies are so YUMMY!  Now that I am gluten free (actually trying to stay away from all wheat), I was sure that I would miss these YUMMY cookies.  YEAH!! I was thrilled to taste her gluten free cookies courtesy of TeaScapes (picture on the left).  They were just as good as her regular sugar cookies. The cookie tray on the right is the birthday tray that Nicole shipped to North Carolina to arrive on my daughter’s birthday.  Cookies themed just for her – not a one was cracked or broken.  Homemade delicious cookies shipped – YEAH!!! What a great way to share a taste of home with Belinda.

teascape cookiebelinda's treats

I love sharing my favorite products with you… Check both of these AWESOME business women out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Gutsy Gal

It is Friday and I am ready for a busy ThirtyOne-derful weekend after what has been a week filled with Thirty One activity.  I had the chance to Celebrate and Connect with some AWESOME women on Wednesday night as we prepared to PARTY, PARTY, PARTY this holiday season.  During the day yesterday, I got to network with and meet some new women at “Women Only Networking”.  Then last night, I shared Thirty One with local women who were enjoying a Girl’s Night Out courtesy of Ocean Medical Center in Brick. I get a breather today then tomorrow it is off to St. John’s United Methodist Church in Hazlet to do a Thirty One Photo Booth.  I LOVE being able to share the gift of Thirty One!

No, that is not why I am a “gutsy girl” today.  Well, maybe it is because it is sharing Thirty One all over that brings me the most joy.  The last speaker that I want to share about from ETTM’s Power of Connection Conference is Roe Couture DeSarno – your Crusader for the Gutsy Girl Life!  Her story gave me chills as she shared the transformation that took place in her life after 9-11.  Here are some things she shared that may help YOU to become a “gutsy girl”:

  1. Know who you are… be authentic.  Our priority is to connect with our true self and our passion.  I know, not always easy for those of us with excess baggage.  Maybe you are still looking for your true self.  Maybe you live with a lot of “shoulda” and as a result, you never really get to your true self.  I am getting ready to take her Core Values Test to see what things I can discover about myself.  Not to worry, I will share.
  2. Know why you do what you do.  I know, you hear it all of the time “your why”, right?  But what if you were to dig a little deeper.  What is the driving force that keeps you going?  For some, it is to pay bills, or stay at home with their kids, while for others it was a short term goal to pay for a trip or earn a trip.  Maybe you don’t even know what your why is.  If you are still working your business beyond you initial why – what makes it meaningful to you?

As you all know, I struggle with my why on a regular basis.  Always digging deeper to get to the root of why I want to do what I do (besides I love the product).  I love this quote Roe shared:

“Why is the foundation to courage.  Only when you know why matters can you be the courageous person who you need to be to figure out your goals so you can have your goals”

Here are two things that will help you in your business (I am working on them now):

  1. Take inventory of your accomplishments within the last 30 days, 6 months, 1 year.  Then move onto your previous job.  Think about a risk you took and it paid off or worked.  List 30 things!  Yes, I said 30.
  2. Make a list of 30 things that your clients (customers) will experience from working with me.  This one is tough too.  I got as far as 20 and am struggling.

I would love to have you share your lists with us or even some of your accomplishments… Who is ready to share?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#ETTM360