Free samples are an excellent method for small businesses to reach more clients. You may even use this tactic already as part of your growth strategy. However, you can do even better than just giving your samples out randomly. To get the best results from your samples, you need to target specific people who are both likely to use what you offer and can increase your visibility even further. That makes getting celebrities to try your products and services a winning strategy, and itâ€™s easier than you may think.
Hereâ€™s how free samples can launch your business, including exactly what steps to take.
The benefits of free samples
Samples introduce your brand to consumers, which is especially important if you are unknown, or unknown in a new niche. And, as with any marketing strategy, your free sample campaign should be directed toward a specific target group. Passing out samples randomly may bring in a few new clients, but itâ€™s not a cost efficient way of operating your business.
You should certainly send samples through mediums that connect with your industry niche. But consider thisâ€”sending a sample to a regular consumer may garnish one new conversion. It could even get a loyal fan of your brand to spread word-of-mouth. And both of those are good results. But to get the most ROI from your endeavors, consider sending samples to someone who can extend your reach much further than their small group of acquaintances.
A common struggle for small businesses is to get their brand out in front of more people more times. If a celebrity likes your brand, they can give you that boost in visibility because people pay attention to what celebrities are wearing and using. They want to be seen with the brands celebrities are seen with, and they are interested in hearing what new things their favorite celebrities are interested in. For example, fashion brand Self-Portrait just launched in 2013, but they already had their clothing on the Red Carpet being worn by Lady Gaga and others. Even more impressive, theyâ€™ve seen their sales grow 300 percent between their launch year and 2015.
Establishing a celebrity client can also open the door to other celebrities in their network buying your products or services. And it gets you in front of their fans, creating additional visibility. Once you successfully gain a celebrity client, donâ€™t underestimate the power of name-dropping. When pitching your brand to other clients, you can mention your celebrity client to boostÂ your credibility.
The exact steps you need to take
The first thing you need to do when sending your samples to a celebrity is to match the sample to the right individual. You have two primary methods of figuring out which celebrity to choose. Either select someone you are already familiar enough with that you are certain they are a good fit for your sample, or do plenty of research to ensure you are not wasting your time with a poor choice.
For instance, your vegan, cruelty-free makeup line may not be as big a deal to a celebrity who loves steak and supports ranchers. Likewise, their fans probably are not a big part of your targeted industry niche. But, if you offer it to someone like Natalie Portman, who is a known vegan and animal rights activist, you stand a better chance of making an impact on how many people recognize your brand.
Also, consider reaching out to up-and-coming talent. They can be easier to get in with, and you have the advantage of growing your reputation with theirs.
Next, youâ€™ll need to find a delivery method that works for your business.
1. Getting into a gift bag or gift lounge
Many brands have good luck with putting their free samples into a backstage gift basket for performances, events, or award shows. You will likely have to pay a fee that can be hundreds of dollars, but even the most prestigious events rarely charge more than $4,000 to put your item in the gift baskets. The up-front cost is an additional reason to choose your venues wisely.
Participating in a gift lounge at an award show is another option, but it can be pricier (in the thousands and up to the tens of thousands) and may be a better option for businesses that are already seeing some sales success.
Another way to get your samples into a gift bag or gift lounge is to use a PR firm or â€śmiddlemanâ€ť agency that can help you get your foot in the door. These companies take your samples and do the work of finding appropriate celebrities to offer them to. Often, they can put your products or services in events where celebrities will be gathered, giving your brand more visibility. Having your brand showcased among other companiesâ€™ best brands will create an appealing reason for the celebrity guests to peruse the selections.
2. Going direct or through a celebrity rep
You can also send samples directly to the celeb, but know that if you use this route you will typically need to go through one of their representativesâ€”an agent, manager, or publicist. Sending a package directly can be an inexpensive way to get your name in front of a celebrity, depending upon how many celebs you reach out to and your shipping costs.
In some cases, you may be able to contact the person without an intermediary. This is usually in situations with YouTubers or other online influencers. Note, however, that even some online celebrities require you to contact them through an agent or manager.
Contacting celebrity reps is another place where you need to do your due diligence in research. Sometimes you can find the name of the person you need by checking the celebrityâ€™s website. If you are unable to find their representatives contact information on their website, another option is utilizing a celebrity contact database.
A good practice is to email or call the publicist before mailing anything so they know to be on the lookout for your items. Otherwise, your package could be put aside and lost or forgotten.
Hereâ€™s something else to consider if you sell clothing, shoes, makeup, jewelry, or other wearables. Rather than sending your items to the celebrityâ€™s representative, you could send them to the celebâ€™s stylist. This option puts your product right where the celebrity has an opportunity to use it, and the stylist may even recommend your product to other clients if it is well-received.
Whichever route you go, be attentive to your packaging. When you send a sample package to a celebrity, you want to pay special attention to the first impression you are making. Choose attractive packaging materials that will stand out from a typical brown box.
Now you have the basic information for adding celebrity leads to your free sample campaigns. As a last bit of advice, be polite; be persistent; and follow-up on PR opportunities that present themselves. You may just find a devoted brand fan by putting in a targeted effort.
Everyone loves a bargain. Over the past few years Groupon has positioned themselves as the king of savings. Thousands of consumers visit the site daily to take advantage of great deals on gifts, services, restaurants, travel, and more.
Recently, Groupon ventured beyond the pay-per-deal model and added a new feature: Groupon Coupons. What’s exciting about this new feature is that customers don’t need to buy anything upfront. Instead, they can stop by prior to using a service or visiting a venue and grab a coupon to apply to their purchase. And there’s plenty to choose from; currently, they have over 55,000 free coupons from more than 8,000 popular vendors.
Simply find the store you’re looking for, copy the coupon code for the offer you want, and start saving. But don’t limit yourself to the traditional searches.
As moms and small business owners, we need to get in the mindset of saving time and money whenever and wherever we can. Groupon has great deals on the things you use every day, but there are also great business savings to be had as well. Popular services like GoDaddy, Dell, and HP are available currently. Keep checking back. They’re adding more all the time.
With tax time coming up, you can also check out deals on tax preparation services like H & R Block and Turbo Tax.
The new coupon tab is available from the same screen where you access your Groupon local, goods, and getaway deals. So, the next time you’re on Groupon, don’t forget to check out the great coupon offers in addition to the other deals.
Have you tried Groupon Coupons yet? What great deals have you found?
When you’re first getting into the retail or wholesale game, things can seem pretty confusing. There’s so much to know- where do you begin?
A bad first impressionÂ can beÂ difficult to overcome.
Not only do you risk lookingÂ unprofessional, but a poorly planned process has the potential to cost you more money than the sale isÂ worth
The good news is, selling your unique creations to retail store buyers is not as overwhelming as it seems, especially if you’re properly prepared.
Here are a list of six simpleÂ systemsÂ to put in place before you visit your first retailers.
1. Develop Correct Wholesale/Retail Pricing
As a general rule of thumb, your wholesale price should be approximately 50% of your retail price. If it is less, you will have a difficult time selling your products wholesale. Often, it will take some work to make sure there are adequate margins for you both and the gift retailer.
Following is a rough formula to use when determining pricing for your products.
Cost of Good (plus time and marketing) X 2 = Wholesale Cost
Wholesale cost X 2-2.5 = Retail Cost
One of the biggest mistakes I see with new producers is that they work their pricing backwards, taking their retail price and dividing it in half to come up with a wholesale price.Â Always start with your costs and work your way through the formula to come up with a wholesale price first, then double (or more) to arrive at a retail price.
2. Decide on Your Payment Terms and Minimum Order Requirements
Most retailers expect Net 30-60 terms, but I suggest you ask for credit card payments on the first order or two.Â After that, you can extend whatever terms you would like to use, depending, of course, on the particular store you’re working with.
Minimum order amounts can vary from product to product.Â Sometimes, it is reflective of the best use of your raw materials.Â If you are unsure, most retailers expect between 6 to 12 products in a single design or type as a starting minimum.
3. Create Your Sales and Order Taking Materials
Full color sales flyers are an absolute must when selling wholesale.Â Samples are great, but flyers can beÂ bothÂ emailed or left with your buyers.Â Each page of your flyer needs to include size, color, minimum quantity, terms, price, contact info, as well as photos of your products.
Order books are also useful, especially if you visit your buyers.Â You can design your own order forms or use a sales order form book available at any office supply store.Â The best option is to add a few extra columns to your sale flyer or line sheet to use as an order form.
4. Designate a Shipping and Fulfillment Area
Research UPS, USPS, and FedEx to see which company will be the best fit for you. Once you decide, open an online account where you can input your info and print shipping labels right from your computer.Â This method saves you bothÂ time and money once you starting doing a lot of shipping.
Set up a separate area in your office or home for your shipping supplies, so everything is right there where you need it. Keep your order boxes, peanuts, bubble wrap, and packing tape all on a large table where you can package orders quickly and easily.
5.Â Set up Your Record Keeping Systems
Even if you only sell products via credit card, you will still need a bookkeeping system. In order to stayÂ abreast of your financial situation, you will need to find a system that will print invoices and packing slips, as well as keep track of your expenses.Â Freshbooks and QuickBooksÂ areÂ both excellentÂ options.
6.Â Develop a Follow Up System
Lastly, make sure you have developed a follow up system to check in with your buyers.Â Once your product sells out, it’s yourÂ responsibility to make sure your products are re-orders.Â Don’t expect your buyer to contact you.
Setting up a written or computerized schedule to follow up with each wholesale customer will help you keep track of when to contact your buyers.
Once you have all the above systems in place, you should be ready to approach your first wholesale buyer!
If you think blogging is going to help your business, youâ€™re right!
A blog is the perfect medium to tell a story, your story, and this helps your exposure more than almost anything else you can think of short of full-blown advertising. Brand marketing experts focus on the story more than the product or service, because stories effectively fix the brand identity in the mind of consumers.
As a small business entrepreneur and mom, you know how important it is to get people to listen to what you have to say. Some studies believe that companies that have a dynamic blog on their website convert 67% more sales than those with no blogs. Thatâ€™s a pretty big number, and you should want in!
However, blogging for a business is different from blogging for personal use. While both should be distinctive, you have to consider other factors for a commercial blog that may not be so important for a personal blog.
ToÂ avoid wasting your time and energy, here are 6 ‘THINKS’Â you should do before starting a blog for your business.Â
1. Think platform
The first thing you need to consider is your platform. You want your commercial blog to be flooded with comments and posts, because that means it is popular. However, there are many platforms available for different types of users.
For non-techie bloggers, you want something that you can figure out on your own because you will probably be doing your own posts. Even if you hire a company to design and maintain your website for you, you should want to have complete control over it.
In addition, you want your blog to be searchable, so it is important that your platform has the necessary plugins and features to help you spread the word.Â The most popular blog choices are WordPress and Blogger. WordPress is ridiculously easy to use and customize, and Blogger is Googleâ€™s own. Other options are Tumblr, SquareSpace, and Wix. Check them out and see which one might be right for you.
2. Think persona
You need to decide on the personality of your blog. This sets the tone for the type of readers and followers you attract.
The persona you choose should reflect the type of product or service you offer, never mind that it is not precisely a reflection of you, personally. This is a major difference between a personal and commercial blog. You have to consider your target market when deciding on the â€śpersonalityâ€ť of your commercial blog.
You can be as conservative or wild as you like in your personal blog, and even shift in mid-stream if that is your mood. With a commercial blog, however, you need to be more consistent, and most importantly, appropriate.
3. Think time
A commercial blog takes time and effort. It is not something that you should start on a whim and then abandon it for weeks or months at a time because you donâ€™t feel like putting in the resources.
You have to make sure that you can commit to a regular schedule for posting new blogs, and replying to comments, inquiries, and complaints. An inactive blog says a lot about your commitment. If your readers see that your last post was a few months ago, they will question the reliability of your business.
If you have a million things to do, you can outsource some work like editing to save time. If you are not willing to put in the time consistently, starting a blog may not be a good idea. On the other hand, if you commit just an hour a day doing blog duties, you can look forward to great returns.
4. Think long-term
Keep in mind that your blog will be one of millions, so donâ€™t expect quick results unless you happen to post something that goes viral. Don’t expect huge readership numbers to begin. Just as with most good things, it takes time to nurture and grow.
Enjoy your blog and make connections with readers to help increase your exposure. It may take some time, but if you are consistent and patient, it will happen.
5. Think social
Before you start your blog, think about the social networks you can use to promote your site. These sites can be the feeder for your blog readers and participants, but you need to establish yourself as a regular member to create your network.
You canâ€™t just pop in and say: Hey, visit my blog at firstname.lastname@example.org. First you need to establish your reputation. Your blog will only be effective if you already have a good online presence.
Side note: You can learn more about creating a great social media presence in Get Social: A Definitive Guide To Social Media For Small Businesses.]
6. Think content
Write it and they will come? Well, yes, and no. WritingÂ relevant, organic content is a good way to be searchable, but there is more to writing content than that. There are several reasons why a blog will fail, and mostly it has to do with the quality of your content.
Make sure that you understand everything you can about writing blog content before you even beginÂ creating one. Blogs, after all, areÂ about great content and what you have to say. Make sureÂ you’re offering value and a unique viewpoint if you want a devoted audience of readers.
Starting a blog is definitely a good idea for any mompreneur, no matter what industry you’re in.
If you go through these six thinks before you take the plunge, you should do very well. Happy blogging!
As a busy woman, executive or business owner â€“ I imagine that youâ€™re probably a pretty good plate spinner or whirling dervish, as you get pulled in multiple directions on any given day to fulfill your duties as boss, manager, mom, cat herder, taxi driver, friend, lover, confident, and a whole lot more.
Itâ€™s exhausting isnâ€™t it?Â
If youâ€™re not careful,
If the plate spinning goes on too long, it can turn you into a walking zombie as you go through the motions checking off the boxes on your long list of to dos, as you get more and more disconnected and out of touch with your body, your feelings and your spirit, so you can â€śjust get through the day.â€ť
How DO you manage all of those multiple channels running at a time?
Itâ€™s like youâ€™re a smart phone with all these different apps running in the background ALL of the time. (Thereâ€™s the whatâ€™s for dinner app, the pick up the kids and take them to practice app, the be a great boss app, the Iâ€™m a wonderful wife app, the get stuff done app, and so on, and so on, and so on…)
Avoiding the zombie apocalypse can be challenging for sure, especially if you donâ€™t take time out for yourself.
Otherwise you run the risk of having your battery die and leaving you stranded, brain dead in the middle of an important meeting.
Has that ever happened to you? Where even a stiff cup oâ€™java canâ€™t even helpâ€¦?
Here are 7 simple things you can do to help revive your brain, boost your energy and get you focused and back on track and prevent you from turning into one of the walking dead.
Take time to stop and breathe for goodness sake!
All that running and gunning has you breathing more shallowly which doesnâ€™t feed your brain sufficiently.
Take 5 minutes in a quiet space to take a few slow, deep belly breaths. Inhaling in through the nose as your belly rises and out through the mouth. Doing so will help slow down your system and lower your cortisol and stress levels.
Bonus exercise: make a sticky note and put it on your computer or in a prominent place where you will see it regularly that just says BREATHE to remind you.
Repeat as often as necessary.
This is something you can do in your office or even in the bathroom if you donâ€™t want your co-workers looking at you funny. Cross your right elbow over to your left knee as you raise your knee up and then cross your left elbow over to your right knee as you lift it up â€“ alternating left and right for a minute or two (you can also do this while sitting).
When you do movement that crosses the midline of the body, it integrates the left and right hemispheres of the brain, gets your blood flowing and creates greater coordination. It also increases cerebrospinal fluid pumping up to your brain which helps increase concentration, focus, and memory.
Get out from behind your monitor, get off the phone, and go outside for a walk.
The sunshine helps trigger the production of vitamin D and serotonin, one of your â€śhappy chemicalsâ€ť that the body naturally produces to raise your spirits and brighten your mood.
Other things you can do while on your walk include stopping to smell the flowers (lavender in particular) and eating some dark chocolate (in moderation) as you walk around the block.
Lavender, vanilla, and chocolate are proven to release endorphins, (another one of your happy chemicals) while decreasing the production of the stress-related hormone glucocorticoid and cortisol, which suppresses your immune system and leads to weight gain.
Besides, what could be better than a walk in the sunshine with chocolate â€“right?
Tap into your phone and listen to a guided meditation to slow you down and calm your system. There are a ton of apps available these days (gazillions at last count), so you are sure to find a mediation app that suits you.
Here are a few of my favorites:Â
Mary Maddux – Meditation Oasis
Vishen Lakhiani â€“ The 6 Phase Mediation
and Calm: Meditation and Simple Guided Mindfulness to Sleep, Relax & Breathe
I can hear you now, â€śI canâ€™t meditateâ€¦â€ť but think of it this way, these are just really nice people with pleasant voices talking quietly in your ears to help you still your mind, breathe, and find some fresh perspectives to try on for just a few minutes.
Thatâ€™s all. How hard can that be?Â
Laughter reallyÂ is the best medicine.
These days itâ€™s easier than ever to find a ton of videos bursting with puppy cuteness, silly antics of cats, carpool karaoke, and so much more. You can even ask your friends on Facebook to recommend their favorite videos that had them bust a gut and book mark them on your computer or phone.
Next time youâ€™re stressed out, just pull up one of those bad boys and have yourself a good belly laugh.Â Laughter creates a powerful 1-2 punch on your stress by lowering the stress hormones of cortisol and epinephrine while triggering the production of endorphins which can relieve some physical pain and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells to boost your immune system.
Hereâ€™s my latest fav with James Cordon from the Late Late show and Adele as they tour around London.
Banana! Yes, eat one.
Bananas are high in potassium, known to help regulate blood pressure which rises during times of stress. Many folks have found that by eating a banana when theyâ€™re stressed can help improve their energy and recovery time.
Guess what â€“ you now have Full Permission to color, just like when you were a kid.
Art:Â It does a body good.
I was just recently given a mindfulness coloring book by a dear friend of mine. (Apparently, theyâ€™re all the rage these days). Grab yourself some colored pens and take your doodling to a whole new level as you color away while on that super exciting conference call or virtual meeting.
It can help you stay calm as it quiets all the noise going on in your mind.
It also helps you find a state of â€śFlowâ€ť â€“ that place of being so engaged in something that you lose track of time by almost being in a meditative state. Which, can leave you in a much more calm state when youâ€™re done.
There you have it â€“ 7 simple ways to catch your breath, recharge your batteries and clear your mind to keep the zombies at bay for another day and maintain some balance of your body, mind, and spirit.
Let me know how you do with these, and which one you find to be most useful!
Women have a unique stake in economic markets, policy and outcomes. We contribute to the U. S. economy; we have driven the creation of new businesses and jobs, moved into leadership roles providing financially for our children and families our employees and the community and we hold the majority vote. And we have done so by managing our many roles, including that of Mother.
Mothers are at the core of their familiesâ€™ economic security. 72% of mothers work; the percentage of mothers working full time has increased over 61% since 1979. And a record 40% of all households with children under 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for their family. Working mothers now account for 63.3% of household earnings.
Women have progressed from the home to the workplace and into business ownership, we now own 36% of all businesses and control up to $15 trillion in purchasing power, and we are expressing our unique views and needs from this position of power.
Unfortunately, women in business have not realized their full potential as our revenues are not commensurate with our numbers â€“ women-owned firms produce only 4.23% of all firm revenues an annual opportunity shortfall of over $10 trillion dollars. And mothers are even more challenged given their dual roles.
A number of challenges face all women in business. The U.S. Womenâ€™s Chamber of Commerce has identified the top three challenges that impact the business bottom line.Â They are access to capital, access to federal contracts and access to family friendly work environments.
Access to Capital
First, we must end the minimized access to capital, composition and high capital cost which holds women-owned businesses back from realizing their full economic potential.Â Women entrepreneurs face significant barriers in obtaining the right capital â€“ at the right cost – to maximize their opportunity for growth. For example, women are much more likely to fund their businesses with high cost capital sources (such as credit cards) and they start their firms with about 23 percent less of the capital needed with which men start comparable firms.
Despite the vast economic importance of women-owned businesses, in 2012, only 9.3 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 women-owned businesses compared with 24.7 for male-owned small businesses. Women account for only 16 percent of conventional small business loans and these loans account for only 4.4 percent of the total dollar value of loans from all sources. Overall, just $1 of every $23 in conventional small business loans goes to a women-owned business.
Aside from the discrimination women face when applying for loans, women are less educated regarding capitalization and tend to have a limited set of resources / connections to the full range of the lending community. And the SBA has not aggressively sought to fulfill their role in ensuring that loan dollars backed by SBA funds are committed across the full range of market needs, nor do they hold their lenders accountable.
Access to Federal Contracts
Despite Small Businessesâ€™ critical importance to our nationâ€™s economy, their share of federal contracts continues to decline. Small business awards were $23.6B less in FY2015 than they were in FY2010 â€“ including a large contraction of $20B between FY2014 and FY2015. Finally, of the 261,969 small businesses listed in the Small Business Administration (SBA) database of firms seeking federal contracts, only 108,660 secured contracts in FY2014.
Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) are being even further hurt. The stated goal is to award 5 percent of federal contracts to WOSBs as prime or subcontractors â€“ despite the fact that women own ten million firms representing 36 percent of all U.S. businesses. Moreover, according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, in 2012 and 2013, 40 percent of the WOSB and EDWOSB awarded contracts went to ineligible firms. According to the SBA Inspector General, federal agenciesâ€™ contracting officers awarded 15 of 34 set-aside awards, totaling $7.1 million, without the companies meeting the set-aside requirements of WOSB. Specifically, 10 of 34 WOSB set-aside awards were for ineligible work, and 9 of the 34 were awarded to firms that did not provide required documentation to prove that they were eligible for WOSB.
Yet each year the SBA reports the federal government is exceeding the 23 percent minimum goal for contracting with small businesses – even though the facts do not support this claim. For example, the SBA small business goaling report and scorecard for FY2013 reports $83.7B spent using small businesses. Yet an advanced search on the Small Business Dashboard reports only $4.8B. Furthermore, companies listed as receiving small business awards listed in the reports included such companies as Raytheon, Booz Allen Hamilton, and The Boeing Company, among numerous others that clearly are not small businesses in actuality.
Access to Family Friendly Work Environments
A failure to achieve positive workplace environments, compensation, advancement, and costly childcare has driven many women out of the workplace and into their own non-employer firms.
However, many of these women are not seeking significant business growth but rather they are either working as 1099 workers (without security and benefits), have their own firms in addition to jobs, or are simply performing service industry or craft work on their own. These women and their families are at great financial risk.
The lack of fair pay, paid sick leave or paid parental leave, workplace flexibilities impacts not only women workers but also women-owned firms. Women-business owners seek to offer fair pay, benefits, higherÂ wages and a better workplace environment because many of them have been previously in workforces that did not offer theseÂ critical benefits. However, they are competing with companies that do not offer the aforementioned â€“ which places undue competitive pressure on them.
While these challenges are decades old, 2016 brings in a unique opportunity to drive change.Â As women have gained critical mass in our numbers as business owners, consumers and voters, we can take action to bring about financial growth. It is our choice – we can continue to allow the disparities or we can step up to lead the change.
By targeting our purchasing power with women-owned firms first and women-friendly firms second, we can ensure fair pay and family friendly work environments.Â And as voters, when we choose candidates that support the Womenâ€™s Economic Priorities, we can ensure policies that reflect our economic growth and security.
As women behave with authority on economic issues and act as a mature major market force, we grow our financial success and advance our Nationâ€™s economic achievements; we must change the conversation and we must position ourselves as industry and market experts. We must call out inequities and get involved in policy and politics to ensure our views and needs are represented.
And above all, we must step up and take ownership of our future as industry and market leaders.
To be a part of the change, you can join the U.S. Womenâ€™s Chamber of Commerce and advance the power and clout of the Women Led Economy and work to kick open the doors to career and business growth and political leadership.
Every now and then we share interviews with inspiring women who have turned their passion into a successful career. Today, weâ€™re talking with Detective Lori Morgan, the resident forensic expert at the Iberville Parish Sheriffâ€™s Office.
There are beautiful landscapes across America that appear untouched by man, but underneath them lays a sinister reality. On Tuesdays at 10 PM, Discovery Channel has been running its first-ever true crime series called â€śKilling Fields.â€ť If youâ€™re a fan of Netflixâ€™s â€śMaking a Murderer,â€ť HBOâ€™s â€śThe Jinxâ€ť or â€śTrue Detectiveâ€ť this is a series youâ€™ll want to check out. It is uniquely Discovery with an exploratory feel tracing the criminal investigation in real time.
The story follows homicide detectives as they reopen the case of a young woman found in the Louisiana swamplands, a body dumpsite, where the forces of nature often erase evidence of a crime. Tormented by an unfulfilled promise to solve the 1997 homicide investigation, Detective Rodie Sanchez comes out of retirement to rework the case that has haunted him for the past 18-years. Armed with cutting edge investigative technologies, Rodie puts together a top-notch team including Detective and forensics expert Lori Morgan. Originally a stay-at-home mother, after her children were in school, Lori sought a new challenge and went on to earn her degree in forensics.
Lori is often first to hop into her vehicle to attend to a crime scene in the show. She is the liaison with the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and is tasked with the job of finding a piece of evidence that can be used in conjunction with modern day forensics to help solve a case.
We had a chance to catch up with her and ask her about what itâ€™s like to be chasing killers, while balancing life at home with her family. Here’s what she had to say.
What drew you to the field of Forensics?
I was always interested in the field of Forensics â€“ even before I even knew what it was. When growing up, my brother and I would read stories about crimes and serial killers. While most kids shy away from that kind of stuff, or be a little afraid, that wasnâ€™t in our case. But interestingly enough, even though I was so interested in that as a kid, I didnâ€™t go into this business when I first went to college.
Was it hard making a career switch later on in life?
The challenge was finding a degree program that would work into my life with my family. I never wanted to take away too much time with them to study or be in class. The hardest part about studying was that I usually had to study late at night, after my children went to bed. Some nights I was so tired that I would just have to throw in the towel and wake up super early to study. I also tried to get as much studying done while my kids were at school.
What is it like to have a full-time job as detective and a busy family life at home?
Are your kids interested in following in your career footsteps?
So far, no. None of my children have expressed an interest in Forensics. They see how much I love my career but they also see the late nights and long hours that doesnâ€™t have very much monetary compensation. I tell my children that their career choice should be something they have passion for because the money aspect of it will only keep them happy for a limited time.
Was it strange to have a TV crew following you around in your daily routines?
When we first began the project, I donâ€™t think any of us realized the magnitude of it all. In the beginning, it was strange but now weâ€™ve all gotten used to the crew. And weâ€™re actually going to miss them when they leave.
Is working as a DNA detective just like CSI, True Detective or those other shows on TV?
Not exactly. We donâ€™t always get that perfect DNA profile to give a lead that will end up with an arrest or a suspect. There arenâ€™t machines yet that draw up this beautiful fingerprint every time. A lot of times we have to deal with very small partial fingerprints that yield nothing, and the same goes with DNA. Itâ€™s only a 50-50 shot that youâ€™re going to get that DNA profile, and then when you do get it, that person has to be in the national database system for you to even get a coded hit.
Anything else youâ€™d like to add?
The mystery deepens each week and the clues keep coming in. Just last week we learned that one of the key suspects that the detectives were looking at in the murder of Eugenie Boisfontaine, serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, died from an undisclosed illness. He had been sitting on death row for a different murder conviction. You just never know what will happen next.
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Hear more from Lori:
KILLING FIELDS is one of the networkâ€™s most high profile series right now. It is co-executive produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Tom Fontana (â€śSt. Elsewhereâ€ť) and Academy Award-winning film director Barry Levinson (â€śRain Manâ€ť) and follows homicide detectives as they reopen the case of a young woman found in the Louisiana swamplands. You can watch Tuesday nights at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery channel.
Like no other form of marketing, editorial media coverage gives companies an implied third party endorsement that can drive recognition and sales. Today, more than ever, media outlets are keen on outside content and sources as they deal with a 24/7 news cycle that requires a constant stream of fresh stories.
Big brands spend millions each year on managing their presence in the media through public relations. For small startups, that expense is simply and sadly out of reach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t launch into the press spotlight. And you should!
Here are five ways businesses can leverage opportunities with the media and land feature stories without spending a fortune:
Find your Story
You don’t need to spend major dollars to define and refine your messaging. When it comes to getting your company editorial coverage, it comes down to one simple question: Why would anyone care? Answer that, and you have the basics for a story pitch.
Does your company offer a solution that doesn’t exist elsewhere? How is your business different or better than others. What’s unusual or interesting about your story? Take a look at your story from an outside point of view and you’ve got the makings of the right message.
Reporters want to cover stories that have viewer/reader benefit to their audience. One of our entrepreneurial clients Michele Welsh inventor of SafetyTat, had the opportunity to be on the Katie Show with Katie Couric, when we focused the news angle on how her invention helps parents ease anxiety at public places. The SafetyTat serves as a temporary tattoo in case the child is lost. It’s a problem many parents can relate to and that problem-solution pitch was enough to catch the attention of national producers.
Release the Release
Forget what you’ve been told about the perfect press release. Those should be strictly reserved for formal company announcements, such as financing. Even then, they are rarely effective at getting the media’s attention. Instead, engage reporters on an individual and less formal basis with a tailored and specific “pitch” based on the types of stories they cover. Do a little research to make sure you are connecting with the best contact at the media outlet you are targeting.
Today’s digital and social media world makes it easier than ever to track down the right journalist. A good pitch can be accomplished through email, or even LinkedIn. Just make sure to keep your teaser short (no more than two paragraphs.) Remember, you are trying to grab a reporter’s attention, not tell your whole story. Through this type of tailored pitching, we’ve secured coverage for an array of companies in top tier media outlets such as USA Today, Real Simple Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. No press release needed.
Give, don’t Receive
Ask not what the media can do for you, but what you can do for the media. One of the best ways to get national exposure is to position yourself or someone within your company as an expert. Can you offer insights into a timely news story? Reporters are always looking for good sources who can provide interesting quotes or perspective on various stories. This is an easy way to get your company editorial exposure and it puts you in a good position with making contacts in the media.
An author client of ours, who wrote a book on customer service, made himself available to reporters each time there was a customer service mishap story in the news and he landed national exposure with Fast Company, Forbes, Boston Globe, Entrepreneur and others. Plus, you can go a step further and assemble content which press outlets can easily run; either specific tips or a full bylined article that credits you and your company as a source.
Timeliness is next to Godliness
Plain and simple, if you don’t attach a timely angle to your media pitch, it’s not news. If your company is brand new, that can be a well-timed angle in itself. If your company has been around a bit, then look for other ways to make your company relevant NOW. That may mean connecting to other current stories and trends in the news, or perhaps there is seasonality to the story that makes it more relevant now than say six months ago or six months from now. Think in current and timely terms and you’ll increase your chances of media exposure.
Go Global, but think Local
A feature in the Wall Street Journal or on Good Morning America is fantastic, but not likely right out of the gate if you’re doing things on your own. Your local market, on the other hand, provides a perfect opportunity for exposure. TV stations typically have morning and midday lifestyle shows that can be the ideal venue for a feature segment. Local newspapers are likely to be interested in your business startup and entrepreneurial story.Â Again these media outlets are looking for good stories; all you have to do is reach out!
A local story can extend well beyond your local market. The inventors of a reusable grocery bag were featured in their local Denver newspaper, which then was syndicated and ended up running in newspapers around the country. Another client was showcased in a Seattle TV segment which caught the eye of a national producer and led to a feature on the Today Show.
A smart PR strategy is within your grasp! It just takes savvy planning and know-how. Armed with these tips, you can confidently navigate this vital form of marketing and create incredible buzz for your company â€“ without breaking the bank.
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For even more amazing publicity tips, check out our BRAND NEW reference guide: Get Famous. It’s everything you’ll need to know to get yourself and your business on the map!
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Gone are the days where â€śblack hatâ€ť practices such as dodgy link building and spamming forums gets you on the first page of a search engine. These days, it pays to do it right or you could suffer penalties that will move your website to the back of the queue and take years to recover from.
Blog content is an essential ingredient inÂ getting your website found in search engines.
Here are 7 waysÂ you can make the most of your business blog and gain higher Google rankings:
1. Useful Content
We use search engines like Google to conduct â€śsearchesâ€ť, seeking information to answer a particular problem or query we might have.
If you understand Google, youâ€™ll understand that they areÂ a business in theirÂ own right, and as such, they careÂ about theirÂ customers. Google wants to give us the most relevant information so that when we do a search, only the â€śbestâ€ť information comes up first.
So when you create content that is well-written, detailed, and includes valuable information that the searcher will appreciate and share with their networks, Google will reward you by improving your rankings. There content you produce that is â€śrelevantâ€ť and is well-received by users, the more Google â€śjuiceâ€ť you will receive..
So donâ€™t try to cut corners, focus on creating valuable, relevant original content and let Google do the rest.
2. Post Regularly
Thereâ€™s no doubt that creating content such as writing blog posts and recording videos is time-consuming, however you will need to create regular contentÂ if you wish to rank highly. Google prefers fresh content to stale content and if your website is consistently creating high-value content on a regular basis, Google rewards you for it. You neednâ€™t create content on a daily basis, but whatever the frequency, you should stick to it. If you decide to publish one post a week on a Monday, then do so on a consistent basis.
3. Include KeywordsÂ
What words and phrases do you want to be found for on Google? If youâ€™re a brand that specializes in ethical fashion, you may choose to rank highly for the words â€śethical fashionâ€ť, â€śfair-trade fashionâ€ť, and â€śeco fashionâ€ť. So do some brainstorming and choose your top keywords and longer tail keywords.
Once youâ€™ve decided what they are, make sure to write articles that are relevant to these keywords, and then use these keywords and phrases in the blog post title andÂ in the body of the post. Use anchor text when you link to previous posts that youâ€™ve made. Doing so will help search engines understand what the page (and post) is about, which effectively helps them to rank your website accordingly.
4. Donâ€™t Forget Your Metas
In addition, you should include your keywords and phrases in title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords. If you have outsourced your internet marketing to anÂ SEO company, this should be second nature. If not, you can manually do this. If you use a WordPress template, there are free plugins you can use to help, such as WordPress SEO by Yoast.
5. Outbound Links
If you’re writing an article, it makes sense to link to other authoritative websites and blogs. Linking to other websites allows readers to click on a link if they wish to learn more about a particular subject. Linking to research studies, interviews conducted with other publications and videos helps to enhance your content, which Google will reward you for.
6. Social Share Buttons
Your blog should have social share buttons to encourage people to share your content with their networks. You can even go aÂ step further and ensure that the number of social shares for each individual platform is displayed on the post. By doing so, people will see how popular it is and feel the need to share it within their own networks, too (â€śherd mentalityâ€ť).
7. Promote Your Posts
Gone are the days of â€śbuild it and they will comeâ€ť. It is essential that you market your posts on all your social media platforms and include links to your content in your email newsletters to encourage your subscribers to visit your website. If your time is limited,Â consider using automation programs such as Buffer to schedule and publish posts.
A business blog is one of the best free tools you can use to achieve better rankings on Google. Allocate some time, create a content plan and editorial calendar, and execute.
In the comments tell us: What 2 or 3 tasks will you prioritize this year?
Are you living a life you love? If you arenâ€™t clear on what you want, your life will live you, instead of the other way around. The busier and more successful we get, the more important our time becomes. No one put this better than Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.
He spoke to the graduates about the power of listening to their intuition when deciding how to spend their limited time. â€śRemembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,â€ť he said. â€śYour time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.â€ť
Whose Life Are You Living?
I believe that by internalizing that our lives are finite, we gain powerful leverage for creating a life we love. We donâ€™t plan to wake up each morning and say, â€śI choose to work on someone elseâ€™s priorities and goals today.â€ť Yet we do this unknowingly because we are wired to help others. Over time, we wake up and wonder where our own priorities and goals have gone.
Especially for considerate people who want to please others, the opinions of our peers have can be powerful, making it difficult to follow our own voice. Have you ever been influenced by the comments of well-meaning friends or relatives? Or have you ever been at an event and when asked what you do, wished you could answer in a different way? In one way or another, our peers opinions can sway how we design our own lives. However, becoming comfortable with the limited time to live your life allows you to let go of other’s opinions and get clear on what is most important to you.
Essential Six Exercise
In my experience growing a successful business while juggling family and responsibilities, Iâ€™ve learned that my subconscious often has the answers I seek. Tapping into your subconscious and harnessing its power will help you uncover your most compelling goals for your business and your life.
To guide this process, I use the â€śEssential Six and Most Vitalâ€ť exercises, which will begin transforming your life as soon as you begin to use them. In the Essential Six, you will identify your top six professional priorities for each day; the Most Vital is the big goal you must accomplish each week.
Before you leave the office at the end of each day, list the Essential Six things you must accomplish the following day, in order of importance, and add them to your calendar. Doing this the night before allows your subconscious to begin to work on your tasks in advanceâ€”to prepare for the day ahead. Donâ€™t worry about getting to exactly six items, three can be just as powerful. The trick is to get clear on what is most important and tackle the most critical task first.
Each morning, start working on your number one task first and do not move on to number two until you have finished number one. You may not get through all six items every day, but by focusing on your most important priority and getting it done, you will be surprised by how much more you accomplish overall.
Your essential six do not have to be exclusively business-related, but could be other tasks you consider a great use of your time. For me, they are often tasks like working out, meeting with a valued prospect or client, making a potential acquisition call, attending a webinar, or going on a date with my wife.
Every week, it is also important to set your Most Vitalâ€”the top goal that is tied to your overall business success. Naming it at the end of the week or on the weekend gives your subconscious the opportunity to work on it, so you will have clarity going into the week.
My Most Vital for the week is almost always tied to my number one company priority for the quarter. I try to dedicate the first ninety minutes of my day to working on it alone, usually before anyone else is in the office. The clarity and focus this process offers allows me to devote my time to the tasks that make the most impact on my business and life.
When you are clear on what you really want to get done, it will be a lot easier to say no to distractions. The more focused you become, the more effective you will be, and the more willing your team will be to mobilize behind your latest initiative. That, in turn, will free you to focus on what youâ€™re most passionate about at your business. Â Suddenly, you will be busy with balance.
Adapted from The Sustainable Edge.
About the Book
The Sustainable Edge: Fifteen Minutes a Week to a Richer Entrepreneurial LifeÂ was written for business owners who are seeking a fuller, more rewarding work-life balance. In this easy-to-reference, practical guide authors and entrepreneurs Ron Carson and Scott Ford share personal anecdotes to their own career successes. Each chapter is designed to inspire entrepreneurs to define and sustain a competitive edge in the complex, fast-changing world of business. The Sustainable Edge hits bookshelves everywhere tomorrow. Grab yours, here.
So you came up with your business plan for a product or service to change the world. You put in the hard work, launched your business and maybe encountered a few setbacks along the way. If you have not yet experienced the astounding success you imagined, donâ€™t let it stop you from making your dream a reality.
Iâ€™ve spent three decades helping business owners leverage success and create solid, thriving businesses. The difference between those who have a dream and those who can make their dreams flourish often boils down to three areas: getting the support they need, focusing on sales, and knowing the numbers that are critical for success.
Here are three steps to put you on the path to a thriving business:
1. Set Up Systems for Support and Accountability
Your business idea might be unique and brilliant, but without proper guidance, you may find yourself spending money and spinning your wheels. All major businesses have advisors who help them plan and execute their strategies. No matter what your business is, a proper support network is crucial. Mastermind groups and direct one-on-one strategy coaching with an expert can make a big difference. The collective mastermind is essential to helping you with accountability and support and a top-notch strategist can keep you out of the weeds.
2. Put Your Sales Plan on the Front Burner (and Start Selling)
Too many business owners put off sales while focusing on other areas of business development. People get stuck in designing a logo, building a website, and all the other minutia of building a business and often delay sales until everything else in in place. The problem is, building a business is an ever-evolving process thatâ€™s never truly finished. Iâ€™m not saying you shouldnâ€™t have a great platform, a good website, and a solid plan. But those tasks should be happening the same time you are bringing in revenue. Focus on building sales and income from the start because they are the lifelines of your business.
3. Track Your Numbers
Success is a numbers game. From the moment you start your business, there are things to measure, including sales, leads, calls, clicks, and conversion.
Are you counting the right things?
Are you measuring daily?
Do you know your numbers?
Some of the most important areas to measure are:
- Revenues and Expenses â€“ Be clear on how much money you are generating vs. how much you are spending to maintain a clear picture of your operating costs. Develop daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly spreadsheets to track how much you are spending and making. A simple review of your bank and credit card statements will give you the numbers you need. These numbers can help you tighten up expenses, increase efficiency, and find creative ways to boost your bottom line.
- CAC â€“ One very important number is your Customer Acquisition Cost, or CAC. How much does it cost for you to get one customer? CAC = All Sales & Marketing Expenses / # of New Customers. Some common sales and marketing expenses include paid advertisement, sales and marketing staff salaries, CRM and marketing automation software licenses, events, sponsorships, gifts to customers, content production, social media, web site maintenance, and more.
- LVC:Â Lifetime Value of the Customer â€“Â Roughly defined, this is the projected revenue a customer will generate during their time with your business. How much can you expect to earn from one customer? What is the sales cycle after the first purchase? Determine how you plan to move them through the funnel for future purchases.
Hereâ€™s a simple formula to calculate this number:
(Average Value of a Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) xÂ (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)
- Lead List Size â€“ This number will tell you how many prospects you are adding to your funnel each day, and it should grow daily. Keeping track of the number of fresh leads will help you streamline your prospecting activities and create more ways for those leads to get into your funnel. List size matters in most businesses. A business without a growing list will soon exhaust what they have and end up in crisis.
So get the support you need to create the strategies that will make your numbers grow. Donâ€™t neglect your sales process while you are building other important systems in your business. And as you track all those numbers, get clear on where you are and where you want to go.
These are the key ingredients in a strategy that can help you grow your business by leaps and bounds.
Starting a new venture demands every resource and advantage you can bring to bear to increase its likelihood of successâ€”from a new career endeavor to a new business opportunity. One of those key resources is your mind. Your mindset can easily make or break your new endeavor. This article explores seven ways to protect, develop, and leverage your key resourceâ€”your mind.
Never Say Anything Negative About Yourself Â
We are consciously aware of around 10 percent of the comments, observations, signals, sounds, smells, and touches that we experience. Our minds register the remaining 90 percent without our even being aware of them. Some of these messages and signals, especially any which are repeated again and again, our minds accept as truths, which affect our self-confidence, attitudes, and behaviors.
The most dangerous messages are negative ones we repeat either aloud or to ourselves:
- Iâ€™m ill at ease socially.
- Iâ€™m forgetful.
- Iâ€™m not good at math.
- I have no sense of direction.
- Iâ€™m bad at sports.
- Iâ€™m a slow learner.
- No one listens to me.
- I canâ€™t manage people.
Such messages can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Tell yourself you are socially inept, and you will become (or remain) socially inept. Constantly reinforce to your unconscious mind that you are bad at sports, and you will become (or remain) bad at sports. Donâ€™t let messages like these become lodged in your mind as truths. Never say anything negative about yourself. If you must, use the past tense: This is the way I used to be.
To be very clear, this is not to avoid negatively impressing others. We are not concerned about what they think; we are concerned about what your unconscious mind thinks. Avoid negatively impressing your unconscious mindâ€”your most important audience.
Similarly, do not dwell in your mind on the times you were socially inept or bad at sports. How do you avoid doing this? There is only one way: Think of something else.
For all the negative things you have recently said about yourself, or negative thoughts that have recently crept into your mind, make a list of the moments your behavior, performance, or actionsâ€”no matter how smallâ€”have demonstrated the opposite of those negative thoughts.
For example, Iâ€™m forgetful vs. I remembered where everything was filed. Iâ€™m no good at math vs. I did the math in my head. No sense of direction vs. I got us there without getting lost. I canâ€™t manage people vs. My team did it under budget and on time.
Make your positive moments as detailed and graphical as possible with photos, videos, articles, awards, and other artifacts. The primary beneficiary of posting diplomas and trophies is you. Think of it as feeding your mind, just as you would feed your body, a nutritious diet.
Donâ€™t Complain or Criticize Others
Who benefits when you complain or criticize others? You do. But not in a good way.
When we criticize others, endorphins flow to our brains, which for five seconds give us a sense of well-being and superiority. But at the end of five seconds, the endorphins go away, we go back to the way we were before, and the criticized individual or individuals are discouraged and demoralized. By any measure, the net outcome is negative.
I used to say that positive feedback should exceed negative feedback by a factor of 10:1. That is true. But over time, the optimal ratio to my mind has grown to 25:1 to 50:1 to 100:1 and beyond.
Many other approaches are better than complaining or criticizing. Ask questions that help others discover the implications of their behavior or actions. Factually articulate the consequences of the behavior or action you would like to change. Invite the other person to offer specific suggestions. Celebrate the good in what somebody else has done. Try these instead.
Look for and Find the Good in Others
We saw how reminding ourselves of our strengths makes us stronger. Similarly, reminding those around us of their strengths helps make them stronger. Even if we detect just a glimmer of courage, good judgment, or perseverance in someone, letting them know we see this (being as specific as possible) helps build those strengths in them. People are drawn to those who build them up. Practicing this attracts good people to you and elevates you to a position of leadership.
Think of a point on a carpet. Try to grab the carpet at that spot and lift it up. We canâ€™t lift up that point very high unless all the other spots around it are lifted up, can we? We are all like the points on that carpet.Â
Short Term Becomes Long Term Very Rapidly
Long ago, in high school, I was klutzy and in the bottom 10 percent in physical fitness in high school. In flag football, I tagged the opposing teamâ€™s ball carrier only once. The handsome and charismatic cocaptain of the Jupiter High football team, Buddy Smallwood, was there and said it should not count. No one could have expected that I would tag someone.
That was in high school. Over the years I worked to get in shape and maintain a healthy diet. Not obsessively, just consistently. By my forties, I was in the top 10 percent of physical fitness for my age group. You can do the same. For most aspects of lifeâ€”athletic, professional, scholarly, managerial, diplomatic, romanticâ€”you can move from any starting point to any level that you wish simply by earnestly persisting.
As you do so, gauge your performance, gather and act on feedback, and refine your approach.
The same is true of entrepreneurship. Assuming you learn from each experience, every new venture that you start is more likely to succeed than the previous one. If you have passion and perseverance, the odds add up rapidly in your favor. Letâ€™s say for example, that your first venture has only a 30 percent chance of success. Your second venture might have a 50 percent chance; your third venture, 70 percent; and your fourth venture, 85 percent. The probability that at least one of these four ventures is successful is over 98 percent.
Be Humble about Your â€śOriginalâ€ť Ideas
In my mid-twenties, I came up with a catchy melody for cello, wrote it out on music paper, and proudly played it for my teacher, Cheryl Fippen. She agreed that it was catchy but thought it sounded familiar.
Impossible, I insistedâ€”this was an original creation, coming straight from my heart and soul.
A few months later, I was out driving and my song came on the radio! Not only was it exactly the same melody; the composer had the audacity to write it over a century before I was born! Turns out my theme was from Borodinâ€™s Prince Igor overture, a popular piece of classical music I had surely heard but forgotten.
Similarly, the idea of doing surveys via email, which seemed so fresh in the early â€™90s, was also no doubt originally inspired by a forgotten person or source. My point is that whenever you (think that you) have an original idea, be humble: You never know when another person or event may have smuggled it into your mind.
Find an Ancestor that You Admire
Everything I ever heard or learned about my fatherâ€™s grandfather, Captain William Chisholm (1819â€“1903), was impressive. Born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Captain Chisholm was one of over a dozen children and became a master mariner and seaman. He visited nearly all the principal ports of the world, served as governor of a Pacific island and as officer on the Great Eastern, the ship that laid the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. He was physically imposing: My fatherâ€™s mother said that his enormous hands hung at his sides like a couple of hams. And he was highly regarded in his community. His death was listed in a historical booklet as one of fourteen most significant events of 1903 in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Overall, my family tree is not particularly distinguished. My great-grandparents, Luigi Digiuni and Maria Beltrami, could neither read nor write, and I was the first male in my family to earn a bachelorâ€™s degree. But everyone is related to someone accomplished or admirableâ€”you just need to find that person. Captain William Chisholm provides a fine reputation for me to live up to. Iâ€™m proud to be his great-grandson and know that my genes are similar to his. Find one or more ancestors of yours in your family tree that you admire; know that you have much in common with them; and let them inspire you.
Connecting People: The Easiest Way to Make the World a Better Place
Think of a person who introduced you to your best friend, cofounder, significant other, or spouse. That person did you a great service, didnâ€™t they? They made the world a better place. Probably you feel deeply grateful to that person. You can do the same thing for someone else.
If a week goes by that you or I havenâ€™t introduced two people who share a common interest or passion, whether itâ€™s a sport, hobby, industry, technology, book, skill, or academic interest, weâ€™ve missed an opportunity to enrich peopleâ€™s lives. Email makes it easy. If it is a professional introduction, my subject line will invariably be something like, â€śMary, meet John Smith of XYZ; John, meet Mary Jones of ABCâ€ť; if it is personal, I omit the â€śof XYZâ€ť and â€śof ABC.â€ť Make certain to mention at least one common interest of the two people. Otherwise, they may not be motivated to meet.
The cost of making an introduction? Just your thoughtful support of their interests and passions. Priceless.
Now, an action item: Â
Think of two or three negative thoughts you might have had about yourself.
What are specific instances when you disproved and demolished the negativity that those thoughts represent?
What have you learned?
â€˘ If you genuinely cannot change some aspect of yourself, find a way to view it as an asset.
â€˘ Never say anything negative about yourself.
â€˘ Donâ€™t criticize or complain.
â€˘ Look for and find the good in others.
â€˘ The short term becomes long term very rapidly.
â€˘ Be suspicious of your â€śoriginalâ€ť ideas.
â€˘ Find an ancestor that you admire. Know that some of him or her is in you.
â€˘ Connect people; make the world a better place.
In the comments, let us know: What actions canÂ you take to change your own mindset for the better?