FOCUS!!!! And Then Drink To Your Success

I came across a quote from Lori Greiner the other day and it is flipping brilliant. For those of you who don’t know who she is, if you’re an entrepreneur, Google her. Like, right NOW. She’s the reigning “Queen of QVC” and one of the stars of NBC’s “Shark Tank” – the one they refer to as “the shark with the heart.” LOL. But it’s true. She’s smart, insightful and knows a good deal when she sees it but she always exercises sensitivity to the plight of the aspiring entrepreneurs that parade their wares around the tank. Okay, so clearly I have a girl-crush…

“Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist–while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!”

See? She loves wine, too. How can I not be smitten?? =)

But this quote holds true for me in so many respects (other than the booze…LOL!). More often than not, I have at least fifty things going on at once. The past month has been particularly busy – between building up Author Navigation, blogging, editing two of my books and writing a brand-new one, my creative juices were leaking all over the place. My focus was…hell, there WAS no focus, just endless lists of to do’s and never getting dones.

Do you know what that means?

Potentially missed opportunities. I would have been snoozing on that glass of wine because my mind was full of scattered thoughts with no definitive paths to meet any discernible goal. A jumble of ideas is absolutely useless if you can’t flesh them out and apply the ideal amount of focus. Multi-tasking is all well and good but we’re best when we keep our eye on the prize. Remember that. =)

Eye close-up

Put A Little Sex In The Headline

Okay, it may not always work as planned, depending on your audience. But I can tell you it will make your headline click-worthy. It doesn’t have to be graphic either, by the way. Just suggestive. =)

PR is EXPENSIVE so anything you can do on your own to generate buzz will reduce your burn rate. You can pitch editors yourself but if you don’t have a hook, they don’t have a story. The surest way to get a response is to give them the whole setup. If you can’t hook an editor, you won’t have a shot of hooking readers.

Press conference

An attention-grabbing headline is the first step. Think about this blog post. Did you click the link because there was a sexual reference in the title? Don’t be shy, it’s all good. I’ll bet everyone reading this was just as curious as you. If I hadn’t written it, I’d have done the same thing.

Eliminate the mundane. People won’t care. You need to find the angle that will pique their interest and work it into your pitch.

Here’s another little tip. Less is more. Your pitch needs to be short and sweet. Make your point once, quickly, before the editor loses interest otherwise your brilliant story will most assuredly end up in the desktop trash bin.

7 Must-Do Tips For Startups To Generate Good PR – Entrepreneur

Oh yeah, one more thing. Proofread your email and make sure you’re addressing the right editor because it would really suck if you sent your pitch to the wrong person at the wrong publication because that’s your one chance to make a first impression, folks.

Wine and editorial pitches DON’T mix!!!

Recipe For A Startup Romance

If you saw my last post “Wanna Learn How To Start A Startup?” you know that running a startup is pretty much a 24 x 7 gig, which begs the question, are there any slivers of time in a given day dedicated to dating and romance? I mean, even entrepreneurs need love, right?

Interesting and intriguing questions, considering I’m a romance author and I basically create love stories out of circumstances that wouldn’t ever materialize in reality.  I can make anything happen…to anyone…and find the perfect resolution for all to end happily.

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

But in the real world, things aren’t so simple. They can’t be handled with a few clicks on a keyboard and a couple of glasses of wine.

The Truth About Entrepreneurship And Dating

I read about a company called Underground Attached, a unique dating experience that brings together 40 (20 men and 20 women) prescreened, like-soul and like-minded people for an evening of play (no, get your minds out of the gutter) and hopefully, a few love connections. Put a roomful of driven, ambitious professionals together and hopefully, sparks will fly…as long as they can stay off their iPhones, Galaxies and CrackBerries long enough to exchange business cards.

39 Signs You’re Dating An Entrepreneur

Sounds good in theory.  Of course, if all else fails, they could also find solace in using my brilliant app idea to build their own virtual reality porn star and their own…well, read the post if you can’t figure it out.

Maybe entrepreneurs should look at potential mates as prospective “investors.” You want someone who will support your goals and help drive you to achieve, someone who understands what it takes to be a success and will be patient waiting for the big returns.

How Can I Find Key Influencers In My Niche?

Start-ups are typically cash-poor, at least in their very early days. So how the heck are CEOs supposed to get the word out about their fabulous offerings? Marketing firms, publicists, advertisers…everything costs MONEY! CEOs need boku bucks in order to develop their ideas into something saleable but then they need even MORE money to reach customers.

But not if they can appeal to key influencers in their market segments.

Influencers are people who have a respected voice in a specific niche area. They have an avid group of followers that holds their opinions in high regard. They are a trusted source of information and opinions about a given area.

They trick is to figure out WHO the influencers are in your niche.  There are tools you can use to find them.  I’ve used Klout and Kred but i found another one I like better called Followerwonk. You look up keywords and search results are presented with a ranking.  Pick out 10-20 influencers and then the fun really begins because you’ll need to incent them to endorse your product or service. They may accept payment, although this is not as effective as getting editorial review for your company. Positive affirmation from an unpaid source is always preferable, just not always possible.

instyle

Sometimes incentives come in the form of some type of gift, like product, tickets to an exclusive company-hosted event, or swag of some sort.  But what happens if what you have to offer isn’t really enticing enough?  This is the issue for most of us, if you were wondering.  =)

That’s when you have to get creative.  And believe me, it isn’t easy.  I’ve tried a few different things as an indie author to raise interest in my books.  Most times, it doesn’t work.  On rare occasions, my efforts pay off.  It’s those few and far between wins that I choose to focus on, because maybe it’ll be one of those influencers that will ultimately help me spread the word.  Too bad I don’t have any more Krina handbags to send out.  What romance aficionado wouldn’t love to tote around a luxurious leather handbag for an e-reader and some assorted favorite novels?  And maybe a bag of Starburst jelly beans.

Are You Creating Something Disruptive? If Not, Get Back To The Drawing Board!

I’m a lot of things.  Patient is not one of them.  And it cost a boatload of cash for me to realize that rushing toward the finish line without a solid pair of running shoes is the surest way NOT to win the race.

You see, back when I decided that I was going to design the next “IT” handbag, I needed to jump in with both feet, break both ankles and crash down on my knees before realizing that a bit of education and feedback might get me a hell of a lot farther than throwing an awful lot of borrowed money toward my dream.

Why was I in such a rush?

Nobody had a bullet to my head.  I never stopped to research, didn’t bother to have any informational interviews with success stories.  I NEVER considered getting feedback about the designs.  Why WOULDN’T someone want to buy a Krina handbag?  Best Italian leathers, trendy looks, fabulous colors, celebrity endorsements?????

But while that should have made me stop and think about a longer-term strategy, it only made me want to drive harder.  Get more bags to market, edgier designs, better colors.  Capitalize on the momentum!

After all, InStyle and Katherine Heigl loved their Krina bags, why not the rest of the world?

InStyle

And don’t let Katherine’s super sexy outfit detract from your opinion of the bestselling Calista handbag perched on her luggage cart!

 

KatieHeigl

Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of the resources available to me.  I wasted a lot of money, learned a very harsh lesson and realized where I went so utterly WRONG.

Richard Branson recently uttered some great pearls of wisdom for a newbie fashion designer.  Unfortunately, it came a bit too late for Krina but here’s the gist of what I took away from the article in Entrepreneur magazine:

Figure out your passion.  Instead of rushing to make it a reality, take a step back to see if it’s disruptive in any way, shape for form.  Disruption is key to innovation!  A leather handbag is NOT disruptive to the fashion industry.  This is why so many other indie designers crashed and burned alongside Krina.

Testing is also key.  You know what you know but it is limited to YOU.  Getting feedback is essential, as you are building something for a wider audience than just yourself.  If someone gets excited, it may be a winner.

It doesn’t count if it is only you and your partner (my bestie, who is thankfully STILL my bestie after what I put her through!!) who are jumping up and down and popping corks on champagne bottles to celebrate the birth of your creations.

 

Not All Silicon Valley Execs Dress Like Zuckerberg

I got a new pair of KG Kurt Geiger sandals today.  They’re HOT…like if you touch them, your finger will sizzle HOT.

Kurt Geiger Sandals

Kurt Geiger Sandals

I tried them on, teetered around the kitchen and wondered if my current heroine Avery might sport them.  Although anyone who knows me would imagine that ALL heroines I create would share my insatiable love for dangerously high heels, I’m still not sure about Avery.  So to avoid tearing out my hair over that very disconcerting fact, I’m going to redirect my attention to fashion…yes, fashion in Silicon Valley.

Oxymoron?  Not entirely.

Just as an aside, if I were a guy in Silicon Valley, I’d never sport the Zuckerberg ensemble.  EVER.  I’m not crunchy, I don’t particularly care for hoodies and if sandals don’t have a heel, they aren’t generally welcome in my closet.

Courtesy of www.businessinsider.com

Courtesy of www.businessinsider.com

I’m excited to report that there are several female execs in the technology hotbed that sport veeery exclusive designer wares.  Just ask Entrepreneur magazine.  They’ll tell you all about Silicon Valley’s best dressed.  Even Vanity Fair weighed in.  Think Ruzwana Bashir, Marissa Mayer, Juliet De Baubigny and Alison Pincus.  Not only are they entrepreneurs but they’ve got mad style.

My husband does a lot of work with VCs and tells me my vision of glamour in the Valley is somewhat flawed.  Sure there are exceptions, but they’re few and far between.  Whatever.  I’ll keep my perspective.  I knew it couldn’t all be about khakis and button downs.

So, hell YES, I’d sport these sandals in Palo Alto.  But I’ll opt to stay out of San Francisco unless I’m driving.  Way too hilly.  =)

 

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