Why Should I Care???

Okay. If I haven’t made this point clear in the past, let me try again.

People are INUNDATED with information, 24 x 7. If yours doesn’t have the potential to minimally raise an eyebrow, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

I’ve experienced this firsthand in my own entrepreneurial endeavors and it never ceases to amaze me how some people just don’t care about contributing to the overload. They have something to say and darn it, it shall be said. The only problem is, oftentimes, NOBODY CARES!!!!

Business owners are focused on distributing a message but they don’t always focus on the value proposition of said message. The value prop is the internal benefit derived by the recipient of the communication.  It basically tells people why they should care about the information being presented.

  • Why do I care about your product or service?
  • How will it improve my life?
  • What makes yours better than the competition?
  • And oh, by the way, what can I get for trying it?

Yeah, if you hadn’t already guessed, freebies and discounts go a LONG way. It’s worth the investment if you can convert email subscribers to customers.

Takeaway? Make the message meaningful and impactful and give prospective customers an incentive to BUY.

What Does Success Look Like???

The unknown is daunting.  Even extensive planning can’t always prepare you for challenges you may face in your entrepreneurial endeavors. Sometimes you just need to trust in yourself and be confident in your abilities. Obstacles may seem insurmountable at first glance but if you are dedicated to your efforts, you WILL work through them.

My advice is simple.  Embrace the unfamiliar and power through.

You’ll never have all the answers or the insight you need to feel comfortable in EVERY situation.  And that’s okay because you have faith, drive and ideas to propel you toward your goal.  Sometimes, that’s all you need to meet success.

Believe in yourself and what you can do.  SEE yourself creating, designing, writing, selling. The powers of the subconscious mind are astounding. =)

Don’t be afraid to fail.  That only really happens when you give up on your dreams.  Outcomes that don’t match your expectations aren’t an indication of defeat. Think of them as things that need to be tweaked to meet you goals.

Try new things. Be creative. Think outside the box. Do something nobody has thought of before.

Life is all about taking risks. If you play it safe ALL the time, you’ll never uncover your true potential and untapped talents.

LEAP.

Even if you crash-land, you can still say you tried. =)

 

 

Odor Eaters…For Your Mouth

The lingering flavor of a Morningstar Griller veggie burger on your tongue…definitely not delicious-smelling. In fact, the scent might well wilt a flower if you open your mouth next to it.

So what to do if you’re headed to a party right after scarfing down one of those bad-boys? You’d pull out a stick of peppermint-flavored Orbit gum, of course. Because other than vigorously brushing and flossing your teeth, what are your other options?

Nada.

But what about the fact that there will be wine at the party? Unfortunately, peppermint mixed with Sauvignon blanc isn’t super-appetizing.

Hence, the light bulb.

A Tic Tac type chewable that neutralizes the odors in your mouth.  It doesn’t have any flavor so you can eliminate all evidence of food and prepare for the next indulgence without making your stomach turn at the prospect.

I love this idea.  Hopefully, one day some chemical engineer will come across the post and figure to how to create the product.

In the meantime, I’ll struggle to enjoy my minty-fresh wine.

Still Plenty Of Time To Shop Startups!!!

This is such a fun post because it combines several components I’m very passionate about….FASHION, TECHNOLOGY, SHOPPING and ENTREPRENEURSHIP!

Women 2.0 put a list together of 21 gift ideas born of female-owned startups. This is right up the Idea Mama’s alley!!!!!

21 Gift Ideas That Technology Made Possible

There were several that really popped out…really super-cool, sleek and cutting-edge. Check out these awesome finds and support these fabulous females this holiday season!!!

ElemoonJing Zhou, Co-Founder & CEOBoring rubber wristbands…yeah, they’re considered “smart tech” but they are NOT considered stylish…at least not by self-proclaimed fashionistas like myself. Elemoon combines a touch interface, activity sensor, notifications and colorful lights into one elegant accessory. The Elemoon’s LED light designs and colors can be customized to match different outfits. Can we say WINNER????

Ringly Smart Jewelry – Christina Mercando, Founder & CEOLove the look of this finger bling! I hate the feeling that I’m going to miss an important text or call when I’m out, but I also dislike carrying my phone in hand. This brilliant tech invention comes with an app that helps you decide what’s important and what’s not. If something is critical, your ring will alert you by buzzing or lighting up while your phone is tucked safely away in your bag. And it’s PRETTYcrafted with a rhodium plated setting and a tourmalated quartz semi-precious stone and available in black onyx, pink sapphire, rainbow moonstone and emerald. YUM!

EverpurseLiz Salcedo, Founder & CEOBrilliant! How many times are you in the situation where you’ve completely drained your device battery from obsessively checking Facebook and your email? Everpurse is a clutch that charges your iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or Samsung Galaxy S4. You charge the clutch on a mat overnight and when you wake up in the morning, you can keep your phone juiced for up to 48 hours!

CuffLinkDeepa Sood, FounderCuff smart wearable technology enables you to connect with friends and family members in emergency situations. Activating the device will send a notification with your GPS location. It also incorporates audio so whoever you notify can hear what’s happening around you. Safety plus fashion equals a surefire winner!!

There’s Nothing Taboo About Failure

Hi, my name is Kristen and I am a handbag junkie.

In fact, I love them SO much that I spent a very large sum of money to design and sell my own. Unfortunately, though I cherished those handbags and saw them having a unique value proposition, my business never did become profitable. I really thought it was on the brink a couple of times but we all know close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.

InStyle

I lamented my losses for a long while (and continue to do so when I send my monthly loan payments to the bank). Was I really a failure? I mean, from a financial perspective, it definitely was an epic fail. But if I came away armed with useful knowledge and constructive feedback to apply to my next endeavor, maybe it could be chalked up to a lesson learned, albeit a very expensive one.

I have a close friend who is a co-owner of a man’s skincare line, a very difficult niche market to penetrate. But she believed in her product and drove hard to achieve success with her target. We spoke yesterday and she was completely deflated that her last-ditch efforts to generate revenue yielded no benefit at all. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole and she’s come to the realization that it’s time to say goodbye.

Let me just stop here and tell you, it is HEART WRENCHING to slam the door on your hopes and dreams and downright depressing to see all of your hard work and effort crumble around you. It’s like a bad breakup story. Making the decision to pull the plug is a very humbling experience. Realizing that you couldn’t make it happen? Man, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

I know this all sounds a little dramatic, but if you’ve ever been in the situation, you know all too well how devastating a loss it is. And for a while, you question and second-guess and lament some more, but it won’t change the overall experience. Sometimes, it’s cathartic to just get it all out there, to share your story with anyone who’ll listen. If you have truly lived and learned, you know where you made mistakes. When they are brought to light, maybe next time around you’ll know which pitfalls to avoid. It’s no longer taboo to hold it all in.  More and more entrepreneurs are coming forward with their own stories.  We’re in good company.

Here’s what I can tell you…don’t be too dejected. You can’t crush true entrepreneurial spirit. Don’t give up on it. If it truly resides within you, you’ll achieve your goals. And all the postmortems and lessons learned you’ve collected over time will make you that much more successful in your future endeavors.  I really believe that…

Embrace and nurture that spirit because once you channel it, you can’t turn it off. It’s what makes you a driver. I LOVE the feeling of coming up with new ideas and strategizing about how to make them come to fruition. The creativity charges me.

So even though things may look dismal now, tomorrow, they’ll look a bit better. And the following day, even better than that, until you finally come away with a lot of clarity and direction about how you can launch the next big thing.

Likes, Shares and GIVEAWAYS!!!

I just spent two days in Atlantic City at a leadership offsite where one of the resounding themes was COMMUNICATION. There were a couple of other themes floating around as well….like gambling and drinking but for purposes of this article, I’ll focus on the former. =)

So, to put it very bluntly, communication can make or break your success as an organization. If you publicize effectively, people feel informed, engaged, and empowered. Impactful internal messaging boost employee morale and incent them to drive toward set business goals.

If you communicate poorly and without an executable plan, you’ll experience the opposite effect. Employees become detached, disenchanted and siloed – all leading to a heck of a lot of angst on the part of management.

So what can you do to improve receptiveness?

 

  • Tell people what they did well and how their efforts contributed to a specific goal.
  • Make them feel like they are valued and solicit their ideas for improving planning and delivery of initiatives.
  • Reward them for being active contributors.
  • Target the messages so they are most impactful and relevant to each specific group.

Turning A Prospect Into A Sale

Communication is key…no matter how large or small the company.

This concept applies to startups as much as it does to mature companies.

Furthermore, identifying and resolving gaps in external communications is critical to the growth of your business.

Just as successes can drive employees to achieve, they can also incent prospective customers to BUY.  Forget guerrilla marketing tactics…use accomplishments to your advantage. Celebrate them, ask for feedback, shower them with freebies or discounts, run giveaways for prospects who “like” or “share” something you’ve put out there. Anything to keep their attention focused on your company and what you are selling.

All of the efforts boil down to this objective…getting your name out to the masses. Highlighting awareness enhances credibility and if you are consistent and calculated with the types of communications you disseminate, people will be more likely to take a test drive. That’s your big opportunity to convert them into customers for life.

So don’t mess it up. =)

Courtesy of brendandunne.wordpress.com

Courtesy of brendandunne.wordpress.com

I AM…The Idea Mama

You know the moment when inspiration strikes. The whole EUREKA experience…it’s incredible, isn’t it?

And do you know what’s even better? You mention the fabulous idea to an objective outsider and they’re just as charged about it as you are.  That’s the second you know…you have SOMETHING and it’s BIG!!!

#bestfeelingever (LOL!)

Anyhoo, I’m kind of there now.  Yesterday, I came up with not one but TWO ideas…one is for a new romantic suspense series which I started and LOOOOOVE and one is for a business of sorts.  More to come on the latter…still a bit too pre-beta for discussion.

Ask me if I worked on either tonight.

NOPE!

Sometimes it’s nice to have the ideas, the hope and the promise of what can materialize once the gears start cranking. It’s kind of like a honeymoon period…before you have to do the real work that makes all the fabulousness become a reality.

Yeah, I like the reflection period…before all the stress and anxiety kick in. But that’s all part of the process…and how the magic ultimately happens.  =)

 

To Boost Or Not To Boost

I’m not a Facebook guru, by any stretch.

My fan page confuses the heck out of me, specifically why some posts get minimal reach whereas others get tremendous engagement…we’re talking mind-blowing numbers. From little old me. =)

I still have yet to figure out how these posts are evaluated by the elusive Facebook algorithms but here is what I suspect…they pick up on certain words and if there is anything remotely related to a contest or giveaway or solicitation of business, they hide those posts (or at least bury them in the News Feed).  This may not be a revelation to everyone but I’ve tested this on my own page and believe it to be true.

Here’s a simple example…yesterday’s post asking for erotic novel character names received engagement of over 500 folks to date, whereas a post that announced a giveaway with a $25 Amazon gift card mention got a pathetic reach of 13!!!!!!!

Facebook clearly holds the cards here.  =)

So, I decided to take the leap and BOOST.  I’m testing this over a non-consecutive two-day period.  I only went with friends and friends of friends and I paid $10 for the initial boost. I’ve heard negatives and positives associated with boosting but I figured, for $10, it wasn’t a really huge financial risk. Lord knows, I’ve spent much more on much less. =)

So we boost…today and again on Monday.  And let’s see what kind of activity my $20 can buy!!!

I’m So Thankful For….

All of YOU!!!!! <3 <3 <3

So in honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to do a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

And who wouldn’t want to win a $25 Amazon gift card, especially this week when the cyber deals are a plenty? Plus, you can also win an e-copy of my newly launched contemporary romance, UNLIKELY VENTURE!!!

So many ways to win!!!  You can add UNLIKELY VENTURE to Goodreads, follow me on Twitter, “like” my Facebook author page or subscribe to my mailing list!

Click here to enter the Gobble Gobble Giveaway!!!

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

toon-thanksgiving-turkey

 

 

Stop Hounding Me With Buy Links!!!!

People want to buy but they don’t WANT TO BE SOLD!

I love that quote. It’s so true. How many times do you go into a store, greeted by eager-beaver salespeople asking if they can help you find something to buy?

I could never be in sales…

But alas, I AM.

I’m an indie author. Not only do I write, but I also market and SELL.

Like with most businesses, the market is pretty much saturated with books. You name it, there’s a genre out there. And about a trillion books within each, with more and more being self-published on a DAILY.

Courtesy of 365til30.com

Courtesy of 365til30.com

As an entrepreneurial author, you may find success in publishing a book that embodies a brand-new concept, something new, different and alluring because it is outside the norm.

But that’s risky because people like what they like and most are creatures of habit. So unless you come up with something cutting edge that an influencer finds appealing, you may be SOL with that plan.

But fear not…there are other ways to gain an audience.

The world of indie publishing is very different now than it was a year ago. Isn’t that insane? I Google articles and if they are pre-2013, I rarely bother reading them because they are THAT outdated.

Social media takes the front seat with indie publishing. You need a presence and you need a ridiculously large network to get your name out there. But that’s not even enough…

The challenge is building a network where you form meaningful relationships, not just hey, post my link and I’ll post yours kind of stuff. That doesn’t do anything. It’s all white noise. And like I said, people get annoyed at the constant buy links. They aren’t helping authors move units.

The ideal is to build relationships online that translate to relationships OFFLINE. Grassroots efforts ultimately result in more widespread awareness, although they take time to gain traction. I’ve given plenty of books away…why? Because if you read “Unlikely Venture” and tell ten friends that you loved it, maybe they will buy and love it…and leave a review on Amazon. =)

And when “Nothing Ventured” comes out, they’ll be anxious to get their hands on that story and tell even more people if they enjoy it. By the time “Venture Forward” is released, I will have established a fan base (hopefully) for the rest of my author career.

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Here’s the key takeaway – Always keep focus on PEOPLE. Create for them, market for them, make them happy and excited because they are the ones who can make or break any of your entrepreneurial endeavors.

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