This morning, I got up at 6:00 am to launch my Q2 PR and marketing strategy and attend a Boston University Alumni breakfast networking event.  It’s part of a heavily promoted month-long career month to bring alums and professional together – and connect recent grads with seasoned professionals. (Did you like how I said that)?

It was my first networking event sponsored by BU, other than going to cheer on the Terriers in hockey, and I’m glad I went. Why?

Networking Opens the Doors for Opportunities

  • First, how great to see someone who knows and respects your work. A genuine smile and hug in a room full of strangers is almost always welcome. I’m a hugger, but if you’re squeamish, keep in the comfort of your own boundaries.
  • Networking gives you a chance to hear what others are doing in the marketplace and notice opportunities to connect, partner, refer, work or collaborate together. There were quite a few COM (communications) grads there and possibilities are brewing!
  • Meeting face to face with a brand new circle extends your promotional reach in ways you can’t imagine. It also reinforces your expert status with a whole new group that may one day –become raving fans.
  • There are no rules to revising your elevator pitch. Modify your message according to what you need in the present moment, and the crowd. The elevator pitch police won’t have a warrant out for your arrest if you change it up.
  • Talk with people who may not be your target audience, because they might know someone who might be the perfect fit. Profiling isn’t always in your best interest.

My colleague, who I met while speaking at the Small Business Expo and at the Boston Business Journal enthusiastically endorsed me in front of a room full of strangers. Love that! Thank you, Joy! She’s involved with a new venture working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, and it happens that I’m speaking with her mentor on a national level this week.

From my meeting this morning, I already got invited to speak on a panel in early April and begin preliminary discussions of a potential world-wide tour.

If I didn’t get up at 6 am I would have missed this. Will other opportunities to increase my PR and marketing expertise show up?  Definitely.

Say yes more often than you say no and see what happens.

Oh, and set your alarm clock.

PS:  Sign up now for the Digital Marketing Weapons Event at  Sleek Marketing University on Saturday, 3/26. I’ll be speaking about How to Get Free Publicity for Your Business and Grow Your Brand. Use the code CONTACT for 50% off – since many of you were at the Constant Contact event where I spoke on March 1.

Want more info? Read these other articles on improving your online presence. 9 Cool Free Publicity Tools and Tactics,7 Easy Ways to Get Attention Without Selling Your Soul and How Do I Get More PR and Online Visibility  We’re all experts in training!

RSI Crazy ClientsI wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day.  Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.

Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You

  1. Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
  2. Establish Boundaries from the GetGo. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
  3. Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.

On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.

My clients are from all walks of life.  They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.

Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.

 

I’ve been so fortunate to spend a good amount of time with my daughters and nieces this holiday season. I don’t always see them as much as I like, since they’re busy with school, consulting, travel and just ‘plain living large’, but I’m aware of how they grow and measure it in a few ways;

By what we talk about – content, the way they look and carry themselves – presentation, their emotional space – attitude, and of course, their communication to not only me, but others around them and the world at large. Year to year, there’s growth – not what I’ve chosen, but what they and life have delivered to their doorstep.

Christmas2013

A photo shows how we might change visually year to year, but what about how we grow year to year, on the inside?

Here are 6 Things You Might Look at in Your Own Life to See How Much You’ve Grown:

1)      Have you chosen to be ‘different’ than who you were last year, because it’s not who you are?

2)      Did you consciously make a stand on what’s important in your life, and say NO to the BS?

3)      Have you noticed the more you give the more you get, and seen the results first hand?

4)      Do you have toxic people in your daily life and if that’s a yes, have you set healthy boundaries?

5)      In the scheme of things, are you happier now, or last year? And if happiness is a choice, why aren’t you happy now?

6)      Have you made a decision to make 2014 the best year ever, and every day commit to it?

YOUR TURN:

Resolutions are words that we put on a piece of paper. Verbal promises to ourselves and others can be broken.  A real decision is just that –hardcore, no turning back.

What are you scared to death to do that will change your life for the better?

If you believed that freedom lies in bold action, what bold action would you take to set yourself free?

What items have you crossed off your bucket list, and are they crazy enough to make living worthwhile?

Questions for thought…as we begin the New Year.

Here’s to your health, wealth and happiness in 2014…

In business and in life we get sidetracked. Bumps in the road. Circumstances beyond our control. Unexpected opportunities and better yet, pleasures that seem to come just when needed. But when we recognize that being sidetracked becomes a habit rather than an occasional daydream, or excuse for not accomplishing your goals, it’s time to take action and get back on track.

Here are 5 easy ways to Stay in the Bowling Lane:

1)      Before you go to bed at night write 5 things (rocks) that you need to work on the next day. Keep this list in a place where you’ll see it. These rocks are important to your progress.  Start working on them, and you’ve got motion.  Inspired action.  All good.

2)      Find a colleague, friend or mentor who can serve as your accountability partner.  If you have to report to them on your progress, and they to you, there’s less chance that either of you will jump lanes. Make a commitment to each other. Make a rule, no man or woman in the next lane!

3)      Create a No Drama Zone – one of my favorites. To each of us, a “No Drama Zone” is different. Limit unpleasant interaction, especially during work hours. Strengthen your boundaries. I often tell clients that you can be responsible to people, not for them. Be strong. Focus on where you need to be, not where someone wants to lead you. Stay in your Bowling Lane.

4)      Keep your workspace clean. Piles of paper, stacks of unpaid bills, unfinished “to do lists” can cause anxiety. I don’t know anyone who needs more anxiety. Do you?

5)      Buy a special notebook, one you love, and draw a “timeline” of your accomplishments — from the beginning of the year, to the end. You’ll be surprised. A timeline is visual. Drawing your progress on paper is wonderful. Your mind just forgets all that you’ve done.

My million dollar tip today is simple, and doable.

Stay in your Bowling Lane and out of the gutter. You’ll score every time.