Milton, MA…Business and Life Strategist, Robin Samora, recently interviewed celebrity photographer, Nikki Incandela from La Jolla, California on her monthly interview series.  The title was Put Some Pizzazz in Your Picture: What Your Image Says About You.

Nikki spoke about the importance of images in your personal branding. “With the prominence of Facebook and other social media, consistent branding is very important for your on-line presence and distinguishes you in the marketplace,” she said.  Nikki also offered some pointers on the different ways to use your image in your marketing and collateral, and shared her vast experience about being comfortable in front of a camera, style, and how to have an image that “attracts business.”

“A bad image can follow you for years,” said Nikki, “but a great image makes you confident and empowers you in your professional and personal life.  You have about four seconds to create an impression to say who you are as a person.”

“Nikki incorporates an important lesson I’m offering,” said Robin.  “No risk, no reward. Go for it. Don’t wait for someone to discover you. Put yourself out there and celebrate your brand – and  pretend it’s bigger than it is. If you do what it takes, you’ll grow into your new shoes. Nikki works at her public image using networking, social media, and she is a fabulous photographer,” continues Robin. “She also aligns herself with who she is, and where she wants to go!”

Incandela, who started as a fashion designer, was just at the Oscars not only to shoot the most glamorous Hollywood stars as they came down the runway but also had an opportunity to get fitted for a couture dress to wear at the gala event.

“Nikki and I have been working together informally for a couple of years,” said Robin, “but recently – she made a decision to make it big. I see fireworks in what she’s doing. It’s a combination of her inner flame, talent, and doing what she loves. Nothing makes me happier.”

About Robin Samora

Robin’s career began in advertising and then transitioned to media buying in the film industry. She owned two restaurants, became a Major League Baseball licensee, and worked in cable television as an Event and Promotions Manager – with major networks such as ESPN, HGTV, CNN, and MTV.  Robin eventually started her own company in 2002, Partner Promotions, a

Brand Ambassador firm for Fortune 500 companies like Comcast, Tivo, and NBC, marketing products and services – one-on-one in the retail sector, at business events, and in the community.

Wanting to utilize her talents, and years of coaching experience, Robin realized she loved working one on one, with clients, entrepreneurs and small businesses – not just major corporations.  She couldn’t help but notice that she would attract people who wanted to talk, and ask her advice. It became clear to her and those who sought Robin out for her insight, wisdom and advice — that she would be a “calm voice of reason, in a storm,” and provide a path for “next steps” to get recognized and promoted in the marketplace.

With years of business knowledge under her belt, Robin launched — Let’s Make You Shine a business and life strategy company for entrepreneurs who want to boost their bottom line, get attention and stand out in the marketplace. Now, Robin takes great pleasure in teaching others how to realize their dreams and potential, while also making a difference.

Let’s Make You Shine has been created with more than two decades in business development, operations and execution, sales and marketing, and extensive professional training. It’s Robin’s mission to help her clients make more profit, share their gifts and passion with the world, and get recognized for who they really are.

It’s my first Make Money Monday, and I’m in coffee shop not in my local area. How cool. Perfect opportunity to say hi, to business folks, entrepreneurs, and soloists working at perhaps “their” favorite coffee shop. Everyone has one, right?

So my million dollar tip, besides a million dollar smile, is to just get out there and take a risk. I’m working it, and feeling good about my life and my business.

“Nothing ventured nothing gained”, my entrepreneurial Dad would tell me. I’m showing up, fully present, reading the Money & Investing section of the Wall Street Journal for free, and agreeing with the trend of bankers to look at the person, their character, and centers of influence when they are making judgment about a loan. Going back to the “past”…in some instances.

I find it a good sign that banks are realizing that it’s people behind businesses, and that good people with character will work through their problems, with good intention. It’s small business owners all over the world, that help the economy get better, that give people a chance, and owners that take chances themselves – even when they may be feeling a little afraid.

Calculated risks , knowledge, visions of a better life for their families, and a good dose in faith that what they’re doing is right, for right now – cause that’s all we have. If we’re talking about investing — It’s not just about the Mega-Machine. I’m putting my dollars in Mega-Me. I know her pretty well.

If you weren’t on the call with me this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing my dear friend and colleague, Nikki Incandela, a celebrity photographer from La Jolla, California. She spoke about the importance of putting pizazz in your picture, and what your image says about you in branding.

Nikki and I have been working together informally for a couple of years, but recently – she has started to POP! BANG! And bring on the FIREWORKS!

For quite some time, she had an idea for a luxury T-shirt line, Your F’exy — and I was lucky enough to witness the birth of this new fashion division. From concept to logo, from sketches to production — in just three short weeks. And where did she debut? At the Sundance Film Festival, of course.

Nikki got a website up in just two weeks (with the right team behind her). She had celebrity photographs posted on Facebook, and on her blog. And now, she’s in business, taking orders for her Your F’exy line. Mind you, this was all while she creating amazing photography for entrepreneurs, small business owners –and clients from the red carpet to royalty.

Nikki added another profit center to her already successful business. She took a risk for a potential reward – which aligned with her fashion sense, and her core beliefs. She knew before she started that she could do it.

What’s particularly exciting for me, is that right after our call on Tuesday, Nikki let me know she was asked to go to LA this weekend, to not only shoot at the Oscars, but also to get fitted for a couture dress to wear on the runway.

The Lesson I’m offering? No risk, No reward. Go for it. Don’t wait for someone to discover you. Put yourself out there and celebrate your BRAND.

For now, pretend it’s bigger than it is. If you do what it takes, you’ll grow into your new shoes.

Nikki works at her public image using networking, social media, and she is a fabulous photographer. She also aligns herself with who she is, and where she wants to go!

Friends, where do you want to go? What courage do you need to get off the bench? What guidance will help you with your idea?

You don’t have to be a celebrity photographer. You can be a budding author, a publicist, a realtor who has it all together, but holds back.

In prior years, I held back. But why? Probably the same reason as you.

Now, what the heck. I’m going for it – and, in a big way.

For Nikki, it’s her first fitting for a couture dress. I can’t wait to see her next year’s performance – or yours.

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room,
drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk
through the rooms of our lives…
not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
~ Ellen Goodman

I love this quote by Ellen Goodman because it stirs up unfinished feelings and thoughts in all of us. Longing, ideas, and “I should, but I’m too busy. I can’t , because I don’t know how. I’d like to, but how can I manage something like that?”

It’s amazing that most of us use only 10% of our potential. Where is the rest? Hidden in our fear? Dormant in our dreams? Buried in a “to do list” that doesn’t really even matter? After years of listening to clients, I’m convinced people know (some of ) their potential but it’s too much trouble to uncover the brilliance of their own true light. Decisions have to be made, changes need to occur, relationships may be affected, and most importantly — it’s uncomfortable to address our innermost desires, and then make a plan and stick to it, to make our dreams come true.

As we start the New Year, and you make plans for 2011, I’d like to ask you three simple questions:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What does your perfect life look like?

When answering these questions, be open for what comes up for you. Journal if you like. Chew on it a bit. No judgment. Be brutally honest with yourself and look at your life –every part of it. Then ask, “how is this serving me?” You’ll be surprised that sometimes the answer is “not so well”. Listen to your intuition. Part two of the question requires further thought. “And, what are you going to do about it?” If the answer is “nothing”, or a “hmmmmm” then it could be you aren’t willing to risk living at your fullest potential, for whatever reason (or excuse), and sometimes that’s OK for where you are in your life. I’ll be perfectly clear. Risk is involved if you want to change. That’s just part of the process.

Here’s the good news. We all have greatness. We all deserve to live in the light and share our gifts. If you are aligned with your true purpose then you are living in some way to serve – not always through your day job, but through your daily life. It all starts with a decision. To be more, to do more, to live more, to have a more amazing life, which in turn will help someone else along their path. It’s funny, one small gesture, or kind word, or phone call can be the catalyst toward making someone’s day a bit brighter – or can be a lifesaving comment to change how they look at the world. I’ve been witness to it many times, and it is humbling.

Your words and your actions are all dots that connect to a much bigger picture. When you aren’t being your glorious self, and living to your maximum potential, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but also not being who you were meant to be. You know those “tingles” you get? That’s your connection to what’s really happening in life. Follow those tingles, and your intuition, and take a real look at who you are now, and peek into the future of who you were meant to be. I can assure you, that you are way cooler than you ever thought you could be, and here to make an enormous difference in this world. I’m tingling as I write this now.

Happy New Year!

Thanks to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Blog for featuring my post (#132) in their listing of The Biggest Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know

What’s the #1 tip every entrepreneur needs? It’s not a MBA, it’s not an international ad agency,it’s not a Facebook Fan page with 5,000 followers.

It’s You — Being You, in a big way.

Forget about what other people think. It’s not a popularity contest, it’s your BUSINESS–and,you need to SHINE!

Put your photo and branding out there. Make a splash. Shine your bright light. BE your business and show the world your charisma.

Pretty much, you’ll be unstoppable.

“The more you seek security, the less of it you have.
But the more you seek opportunity, the more likely it is that
you will achieve the security that you desire.”
Brian Tracy

Sometimes you’re just guided — to stop at a coffee shop and ask directions –to help a stranger in distress — to make plans with an elderly person who needs company — to get involved in a community organization and make a difference — to make a decision that will change your life. Life offers each of us endless possibilities. If you aren’t open to them, possibilities pass you right on by.

If you give yourself permission to be open to possibility — if you’re willing to stay open and stray from your ‘plans’ — you’re off to a great start. Add in being aligned — from head to heart — and I know for a fact , that amazing things can happen.

Opportunities abound. People show up just when we need their knowledge and wisdom. Life becomes different, without the usual struggle. With the right mindset and the knowledge that you truly do create your life, you can flip your internal switch at any time and propel yourself forward. I like to call it Manifesting on Demand®.  It’s not always instant, but it’s a process that works, and can be accelerated with practice.

Manifesting on Demand® means putting your desired outcomes ‘out there’. Think about what you really want and how it will make you feel. Put your dream down on paper… talk about it… hope for what you want and begin to expect it! When you’re in a good place mentally, emotionally, physically — feeling happy about realizing your dream — you are on your way. It may take time to get what you want, so place your ‘order’ today! Then, move forward with good intentions and a sense of gratitude that your dream is already being realized. It’s all about the feeling you have in the NOW and expectation that your dream is on its way — which it is! Positive thoughts and openness to possibility produce positive results. Find that positive, open place within yourself, then you are able to manifest the life of your dreams and it will be delivered.

This week, I’d like you to notice how open you are to possibility. Do you wake up dreading another day, or are you open to what the world has in store for you? Are you going to bed at night praying for rest from the madness, or are you creating the life you’ve always wanted? I’ve lived both ways and from my experience, the way to go is to be open to possibility, because there’s so much delight in the unexpected!

Live the life you deserve. Isn’t it about time?

Has anyone out there had a bad day where you’ve just beat yourself up  — over and over again —  about something you said, did, or imagined you had a part in? I know I have.  It’s like Ground Hog Day at its finest.  We relive every action, comment, or “not so nice thought” we’ve had or said to someone, and feel worse as time goes on.

I think one of our greatest challenges is to develop the skills to be able to switch our thinking — from negative to positive, or even negative to neutral ” because negative thoughts tend to linger endlessly, and there’s never any reward. In fact in my experience, negative thoughts snowball and never turn to positive, without a shift in mindset.

Eleanor Roosevelt had it right when she said, “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” My Dad must have know Eleanor (probably not, but you never know) when he said, “Robin, it doesn’t matter what they think, it’s what you think. That’s what counts.”

What’s my take on the subject? After much study, I’d suggest the easiest and most direct route to disallowing the negative, is to change your thinking.  After all, your thoughts do create your world.

Hard to believe?  Think of it this way, and add arrows as you please.  Thoughts turn into emotions, which turn into actions, which turn into results (or lack thereof). Bottom line: Change your thinking ” Change your world.

Case in point. When I was traveling recently to meet with my Coach, and Mastermind group, I received repeated calls from my new landscape helper. I found missed call after missed call, or just a message with the voice mail, “call me.” Working all day, unable to pick up his calls, I became a bit anxious, wondering what was wrong. “Would he quit?” ‘did he have another job?” “Would I have to learn to ride the Big Bad Mower?” I live on a fairly large property, with lots of grass and trees, and was panicked at the thought of making friends with the real John Deere. After all, we’d only seen each other in passing!

Fretting about the future doesn’t serve anyone, and knowing how to read a situation for “what it is”, rather than “what it may be” is a lesson we should consider repeating often.  My landscape helper just needed to get his finances in order, and called often ” to speak with me. I took it far too personally, and expected the worst, rather than expecting the best.

So, there you have it.  I made myself feel badly for no reason.

My take away?  Watch what thoughts you put in your head. If they’re negative, I urge you to change your thinking.  Remember, change your thinking —  change your world.

Bonus points, I also defrag daily.  And you?