Summer reading isn’t just for kids, though every parent and interested adult might ask their favorite little one(s), “what’s on your reading list this summer?”

So my question to you is the same.  “What’s on your reading list this summer?” Here are some recommendations from Richard Feloni and Shana Lebowitz with Business Insider, and members of the Young Entrepreneur Council – for the best business books to read this summer.

Top 23 Best Business Books to Read This Summer

I’d love to start a book club and read of copy of every business book listed here.  Granted, I’ve read a few already, but certainly not all 23! 10 top picks on their list include:

  • Sprint by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz. What’s the process to launch amazing new product at Google? Take a deep dive at Google’s venture capital firm and see what their 5-day “sprint” method is all about.
  • Shoe Dog by Phil Night. When Phil Knight graduated college, he sold running shoes out of his parents’ garage. He also happens to be retiring as chairman of Nike this summer. Here’s his story from laces to going places.
  • Originals by Adam Grant. Grant is the highest rated professor at Wharton and the youngest to date, to reach full professor. In this book, he looks at daring thinkers over the last century and inside their minds. What makes them “original?”
  • O Great One! by David Novak and Christina Bourg. Novak is the retired chairman of Yum Brands and left the company with more than a pension; 41,000 restaurants across 125 countries. The #1 leadership lesson he teaches?  Show employees appreciation for great work.
  • How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb, CEO of Sevenshift. Webb shares practical best practices and tried and true career advice from her 16 years as a consultant – including how to deal with annoying coworkers (and so much more).
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth. Duckworth, a psychology professor at U Penn and winner of the McArthur Genius award, believes that true grit – a combination of passion and perseverance – will lead to success. She thinks in fact that it’s often more important that talent or intelligence.
  • An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. Two Harvard professors wrote this book citing that employees work two jobs; the one they signed up when they joined and one they battle in office politics. Select companies avoid this by creating Deliberately Developmental Organizations. Who are they? Read the case studies and find out.
  • Quench Your Own Thirst by Jim Koch.  The story of how a consultant, thought crazy, left his $250,000 a year job and started Koch’s Beer Company, competing with the likes of Budweiser and Heineken. You may know the brand, Sam Adams?
  • Deep Work by Cal Newport. Georgetown professor Cal Newport argues that some of the greatest output is the result of deep work. This book tells you how you can build deep sessions into your day to accomplish top quality work in a few hours or less. Sign me up.
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Find out how acting on ego can prevent learning opportunities and similarly, how it can prevent successful people from adapting to change. Holiday uses lessons from history and philosophy to show how to master the ego. Read to see how this applies to New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Hmmm.

Interested in other top business book touted by the Young Entrepreneur Council?  Check them out here.

And, what’s on Bill Gates’ reading list? See what he’s recommending for the Summer of ’16.

You got it, right here.

Live a lot. Learn a lot.

  1. Do you know your audience? It’s important to know who you’re pitching and what they want. Don’t sell ice to an Eskimo living in Hawaii unless they own an ice making business! What’s your big vision and does it fit with who’s buying?  Think it through on paper and make sure it works!
  2. Are you passionate about your idea? Passion makes a big difference in presenting a concept and often, enthusiasm is lost if there’s a publicist or hired gun doing the talking. If you’re the presenter, make sure you have positive energy and communicate with a high vibration. It shows not only in the voice, but also in the body. Twinkling eyes are a bonus!
  3. How professional are you? Professionalism is critical not just in writing, but in delivering. For Good Morning America, Tory needs to know without a doubt that the company presenting is totally operational and can deliver great customer service – even if the company is tiny! Talk the talk and believe it yourself!
  4. Are you prepared? Many entrepreneurs want ‘it’ to happen, but aren’t ready and launch discussions prematurely. If you’re overly excited and not ready with all the facts and figures, there’s a chance you may lose an opportunity and be passed over by someone who’s got their ducks in a row. When you speak up – be ready!
  5. Will you leave a positive or negative impression? Often negative impressions are longer lasting than positive ones. Make it a point to practice your pitch not only in front of a mirror, but test it with people who’ll give you honest feedback. If the feedback is similar from all parties – it doesn’t mean you’re bad, it just means that you need to tweak your pitch!
  6. Are you crystal clear? When it’s your moment to shine, be crystal clear about who you are and what you’re offering. A confused mind never buys and certainly won’t put you on Good Morning America. Again, clarity comes from practice.  At our last SBANE meeting (Smaller Business Association of New England), we talked about this article from Forbes on public speaking lessons from the world’s greatest Ted Talks. It’s worth reading.
  7. How about your confidence? Competence and confidence go hand in hand. Sometimes, we get nervous when there’s a big opportunity and ask for what we want. Frankly, it’s silly because we KNOW OUR STUFF. You might get lucky and who you pitch may be gentle and work it out of you, but that’s not always the case. Go for it. Be confident or you may lose the opportunity if you’re weak in your presentation.
  8. Are you concise and to the point? Tory told the audience she has three minutes on-air to sell five products. So, a thirty minute lunch for her with a prospective entrepreneur is out of the question. She suggests networking and practicing your elevator pitch for brevity – so others can repeat it in a sentence.

You might not know it, but you pitch on a daily basis. Keep it simple. Practice passionately. And, deliver from your heart.

Twinkling is a bonus, especially this time of year.

If you’re like me and don’t care for the same old same old on Valentine’s Day, you might appreciate a few new ways your sweetheart could say ‘I Love You’.

Is that a yes, or at least a maybe? Then take a look at PhotoFunia.com where you can create a personalized message and ‘name drop’ for fun, marketing or just because.

Want to see your photo in a cup of frothy cappuccino? Your headshot in a museum gallery? Or your logo in the spotlight of Times Square? Ask and you will receive!

Take a few minutes to explore the hundreds of almost instant graphics to choose from and customize your ‘I Love You’ this weekend or message any day in a fun, playful way.

For my kids, sweetheart and readers, Happy Valentine’s Day!

ILoveYou

And, to the New England Patriots and Football Fans everywhere,

Love-Football

Wishing you love in ‘every zone’ — with no timeouts.

What an amazing week we’ve had with the Robin Samora PR team and Partner Promotions! It was an honor to be featured as a social media panelist at IBM sponsored Women’s Toolbox conference, participate at Mara Glazer’s BizCon 2014 event, be a right hand to CBS for their Price is Right TV auditions and represent the Xfinity brand at Harvest festivals and retail venues in New England.

Next up – getting ready to speak at the #BostonSmallBizExpo on October 2.

Now for the Rainmaking – PR, marketing and social media articles (and video):

First up, check out this fun YouTube video by Dutch Royal Airlines KLM.   This is plain and simple ‘brilliant social media, engagement and brand loyalty’! It’s quite adorable, too (and features a cute puppy, so if you love dogs like me – you’ll definitely want to watch and learn!)

Next, we found a Duct Tape Marketing weekly round up we wanted to share with you. Last week’s round up included three useful social media tools. We like ‘em. You’ll love ‘em! Check it out and see if you agree.

Last, but not least ‘17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content’ via Kiss Metrics. This is for you if you are ready to promote your content beyond posting to Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter. I read it more than twice, whoa baby!

I hope you enjoy these articles and other bits of information we’re collecting at Robin’s Rainmaker’s – the Web’s best PR, marketing and social media wisdom.

Have a great week and feel free to share below!

Last week, I was a guest at the New England Speaker’s Association meeting and auction, and got reacquainted with Belinda Rosenblum – a Wealth Expert, CPA and Founder of OwnYourMoney.com. Belinda and I sat next to each other and talked about business, blogs and babies. She has a one-year old, and mine are traveling the world!

Because her expertise is so vital to entrepreneurs and growing yourself and your brand, I asked her to write a guest blog about money and how it relates to spending hard earned cash on your business and self-promotion. See if you agree with her findings!

Money, Self-Worth &
Promoting Yourself

by Belinda Rosenblum

Spending – and earning – money for entrepreneurs is a tricky subject. Every dollar earned is essentially one you had to ask for – directly or indirectly – so we attach more weight to the spending of it.

In particular, spending money on promoting ourselves feels counter-productive since it causes money to go out with an initial unclear return.

However, when we hold on too tight, we literally stop the flow of money – both out of and into our business. Since this clearly thwarts our larger goal of business growth, we as entrepreneurs need to become more unemotional and powerful when it comes to making decisions with our money.

As a start, watch out for these 5 culprits that hold people back from spending the money necessary to grow their business (including promoting themselves):

1) Fear of being seen (or being a fraud) If you really go big, then people will see you for who you really are. And if that happens, then will you suffer a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Of course not! You are brilliant – and doing the world a disservice by not letting them in on the inadvertent best kept secret.

2) Afraid you won’t be able to handle the volume. I call this a “high class problem.” If you have a lot of people interested in your work, then be willing to call in the staff and the advisors to support your growth. It does not mean you’ll have to work 80 hours a week, but it does mean you’ll have to ask for help. (It’s ok, you are actually more powerful not less powerful when you do this. This has been a tough but crucial lesson I’ve learned along the way.)

3) Afraid of laying out the money with an uncertain return. As business owners, we take way more risks than the average employed person. AND, for sustainable success, it is imperative that you learn how to take risks and recover quickly from whatever feedback the risk shows you. It is all helpful feedback. The key here is leveraging the opportunities you create for yourself – and then building momentum and excitement around your business with the visibility.

4) No depth to your offerings. The concern here is that if you got the exposure, you wouldn’t have anything to sell to all the people who come to your site. So what are you waiting for? Create a free awesome juicy gift to collect their names. Start with an easy $97-$197 product that people can try you out – allow them to “date” you before you want them to “marry” you with a higher-end offering.

And the kicker…

5) Lack of belief in your own worthiness. Are you really worth spending money on and allowing people to get to know you and your services more? Absolutely – but it all starts with you believing in you.

Get out there in a bigger way – the world needs exactly what only you can offer!

I hope you enjoyed this article, and as always, please feel free to post your comments on the social media platforms below!

Belinda Rosenblum, Wealth Expert and CPA, just got you started with today’s guest blog post. If you’re ready to really make more, save more, and stress less about your money, start with her complimentary “Money Makeover Kit” available here: www.OwnYourMoney.com/gift.

RSI PR waveSummer in New England is the most fantastic of times, especially when you’re a guest at a magnificent beach house near Weekapaug, Rhode Island. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be relaxing for a few days with friends and enjoying fresh oysters from the pond, lobsters that were harvested hours earlier and a new mussel recipe, that I’m happy to share!

Vacationing doesn’t mean that you have to stop all PR efforts while you’re riding actual waves – it just means knowing how to capitalize on current PR and extending it to maximize exposure, especially if you’ve got some good press going on.  And, what’s great is that you can ride the PR Wave whether the sea is flat, or it’s a surfer’s dream.

3 Ways to Ride the PR Wave

  1. Quoted? Make sure you’re noted!  If you’ve had the good fortune of being quoted in the media – whether it’s in a newspaper, blog or article, make sure to share that mention as part of your own PR plan.  Quoted content is better than any advertising – it comes from an outside source.  Share notable links on LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook or other social media channels you’ve designated as part of your PR and marketing campaign. Be sure to vary it up, and don’t post the same material on all media, at the same time.  It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s worth it!
  2. Add Expert Content to Your Press Room. If you have a website and are proud of your accomplishments, you may want to build or add to your press room, or a media room as it’s sometimes called.  When you’re ‘in the news’ you can showcase your story and why you’re an expert – from the media’s viewpoint. Ask permission to use logos from selected media to jazz up visuals, and don’t be afraid to feature video, radio, podcasts, articles, sections of white papers you’ve created or presentations. It’s not bragging, it’s sharing!
  3. Keep Your Clients and Prospects up to date. We’re all so busy with projects and planning for the future that we often don’t stay in touch with our client base as much as we should.  That’s a lost business opportunity in some ways because out of sight may mean out of mind. Create a postcard (and send via snail mail) of a recent press success with a special offer, and target those you want to be ‘in the know’. Monthly communication via direct mail, email campaigns, phone calls, lunch appointments, birthday cards, and networking meetings are but a few of the fantastic ways to share your good news, build business and share opportunities to help others.

PR is all about putting your best foot forward, and positioning your product or service in a way that helps you stand out from the crowd.  It’s creating messaging why you or your product may be a better choice to help solve a client’s problem.

This summer, heck this year, ride the PR wave with confidence.

YOUR TURN

Where have you been noted recently and how have you shared that content to make a splash?

Besides social media, what other innovative ways have you used to broadcast media mention?

How many of you have a press room, and what are you most proud of?

5 WAY TO GO FROMThere must be a time clock in my body that screams ‘be invisible’ around the 4th of July. It lasts about two weeks and happens when I go to my island house on Lake Winnipesauke. My kids and their friends come to visit, I connect (multiple times) with my favorite internet techs for service, and generally enjoy time off without guilt, remorse or worry.

That of course doesn’t mean I’m not conducting business, or having important calls helping clients with their Grammy® nominations, developing signature speech campaigns for authors, or reviewing social media strategy and training for bloggers. It just means business and life take on a different feel in the summer — while rain storms rock the boat, chipmunks sneak a rub by my feet on the porch, and a sea of colorful beach towels dry on a line.

Scheduled time out is important for rejuvenating PR, Marketing and Visibility. It’s as important to disconnect, as it is to connect. That said, I wanted to share some insight.

Here are 5 Ways to Go from Invisible to Visible and Still Enjoy the Summer:

  1. Plan PR and marketing campaigns and tasks in advance with your team. This sounds like a no brainer, but if we don’t communicate, how will we everyone know what’s going on? Put marketing and social media on auto-pilot as best as possible, schedule conference calls or video skype appointments early or later in the day, and get-er-done while getting tan.
  2. Challenge yourself to read email only twice a day. If you’re a recovering perfectionist or work hound, it may be difficult to do. But try it. You’d be surprised at how many people are working less, but still in touch at the office. In fact, announce your policy in advance of a vacation, and to those who are resistant, repeat often.
  3. Be accessible by cell phone and text more often. Being flexible in how the media, your clients, prospects and colleagues contact you gives them comfort in knowing you’re there, and you won’t let them down. As much as I love to talk on the phone, sometimes island reception isn’t all that wonderful, but a text always gets through.
  4. Review your swipe files and brainstorm/write new concepts at least partially. You’ll be surprised at the good ideas you have while on vacation, or driving a boat or talking to someone who seems interesting. It’s summertime here in New England and CEO’s as well as well-heeled prospects all dress down. Remember, we meet people for all different reasons, and they just could be the conduit for your next promotion or biggest sale of the year.
  5. Don’t forget about pitching to the media. It doesn’t matter if it’s 85 degrees or not. There’s always an opening for a good story, a comment on what’s happening in the news, a contrary opinion to what’s going on in your industry or an opportunity to connect with a reporter who has an open spot in his/her editorial calendar now, or 3 – 4 months out. Say hello. Send a postcard. Be seen, heard and known.

YOUR TURN

Is being MIA a guilty pleasure for you? Why?

How do your prolong your summer schedule, without losing momentum in your business?

What are your secrets for balancing home, family and business — especially when it’s vacation time?

Please share your answers below.

I’ve been living on an island for over 30 years, and despite the challenges, I love summers here.

I just wish my cell phone got frequent flier miles. I’d use them to go surfing in Puerto Rico next year.

As the weather is finally warming up in New England, so are our activity levels – of not only doing the work we love as we’re called to share our greatest gifts, but also finding time to enjoy nature’s wonderland, attend family parties and graduations, and think about a summer vacation – where we’d like to go to expand our minds, satisfy our souls and take a break from every day routine.

I’ve never been a big proponent of routine, and have been a master juggler of sorts throughout my life – because in all truth, l believe ‘variety is the spice of life’ and I like to be spicy!

That said, even the best of jugglers can drop the ball now and then, and it’s no fun (repeat no fun) when anyone drops the ball on a project, misses an important deadline and spaces out because there are too many balls in the air.

Here are 3 ways to Juggle, Stay Balanced and Still Have a Ball:

  1. My dear mentor taught me early on to write things down in one place and focus on one project on a time. This little piece of advice helped me communicate more clearly with one person at a time, and allowed me to be fully present and all-in.  In fact, I found that it’s one of the greatest gifts to another human being to be able to listen completely and connect with who you’re talking to, without any interruption or monkey chatter. It doesn’t serve me, any of my clients or even strangers for that matter to multi-task and half listen when you’re with someone. And, if you’re reading texts or checking email while you’re having a conversation? I’d tell you and anyone else, ‘let’s talk when you have time.’
  2. Calendar your time in blocks, not by the hour.  Many years ago, I calendared my time excessively. Now, as a recovering perfectionist and a more seasoned professional, I find that working in blocks of time suits my personality and desire for freedom and flexibility in far better ways. I’m able to do my marketing and PR writing say from 1 – 2a (not a typo); garden from 7 – 9a, consult with clients from 2 – 6pm and make sales calls when my prospects have indicated an interest, when they want to be called.  And, I have haven’t even blocked in any time for media work, open office hours, writing my book, fun, treats, vacations, or exercising.  Think of scheduling as a block party – and you can invite whomever and whatever you want in your life!
  3. Learn to Love saying No.  It may sound selfish at first, but if you’re a pleaser and always ready to jump in and save the day, I ask you to consider saving your own day.  Want to support a friend at their 5th fundraiser of the year and live miles away?  Send a check. Always asked to organize your company’s annual event (and not be paid)? Say with the utmost kindness, ‘I’d love to but my plate is full – try me next year. But, I’m happy to bring dessert!’

If you want to run yourself ragged, and be a Busy Beaver, that’s up to you.

Been there, done that.  Make time for what’s important, yes and do it with aplomb.

But life as a juggling act? Personally, I’d rather have a ball.

Your Turn

If variety is the ‘spice of life’, how are you going to spice things up?

Who can you give one of your balls to – to juggle for themselves?

What balls are really that important to you – and if they weren’t in motion, what would that mean? To you?  To others you’re satisfying, perhaps even out of obligation?

 

TV Commercial (1)It’s May Day – a day of celebration around the globe, often heralding spring – and I’m hopeful here in New England that we’ll see it soon!

I’ve always been a believer in celebrating. Some people reflect their accomplishments at the end of each day, others take stock at the end of each month, and some not at all. If you’re not a celebrator, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest joys. Taking time for reflection and acknowledging accomplishment is powerful, and creates a visual smile line of where you’ve been so you can determine where you want to go!

This week, I celebrated a birthday with a dear friend at the White Barn Inn in Maine (yes, it was fantastic), and to top it off, we both had a part in a TV commercial for the Nova Star cruise line which is launching its new ferry service from Portland to Nova Scotia on May 15. We were extras with part of the Partner Promotions team, and even had a few wardrobe changes!

Going to Maine without enjoying lobster or the ocean isn’t celebrating in my mind, so we also shared love with Mabel’s Lobster Claw for their famous lobster roll, then walked the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, a beautiful ocean footpath that’s not to be missed.

Life’s journeys take us to places we’ve never been, and you can complain or celebrate. Small celebrations can be just as powerful as big ones. It’s the thought behind it.

In business, celebrations could be a sale you’ve just closed, a positive review of a book, program or workshop, a referral from a former client, a press mention (had a great one this week, thank you Monster) or getting a prospect to say yes to an appointment, after the 8th phone call.

Take a moment to celebrate something today. It’s an opportunity to reflect upon your attitude and interaction with life. A high five is always there – the question is, where’s your hand?

YOUR TURN

What has to ‘click’ in order for you to celebrate?

Did you grow up as a family celebrating small successes with a pat on the back, or something more?

What’s the most fun celebration you ever had – this year, last year, in your whole life?

It’s winter here in New England and sometimes it’s more than just darn cold. It’s funny how the weather can influence your decisions more than your brain, and hold you back from doing what you want to do, personally, and in business.

Mind over matter prevails in instances like this, and I make it a point to ‘shake it up’ and ‘get on out’ to re-energize my spirit and follow through on keeping my lifestyle fun and active, and my business on target so weather won’t make decisions for me and prevent me from meeting my goals.

Here are five (5) thoughts:

  1. Attend at least two new business events this month. Pick a group that’s on the fringe of your target audience and focus on meeting at least one new person who may become an ally or supporter of your business. There’s no end goal here, just be open to who shows up. There’s always a reason for your connection and like picking a new destination for vacation, there are hidden benefits to exploring new territories.
  2. Add one fun activity per week to your calendar. We often are so busy with work that we don’t make time for joy. Whether you love to dance, cook, sing or participate in a book club, it’s important to incorporate pleasure into your life. This holds true year-round, not just when ‘weather’ prevails. Really, what makes you happy? Do it.
  3. Work out at the gym. Consider joining classes instead of a solo workout. The camaraderie of others and energy of a group can be beneficial to your mood, and leave you feeling more uplifted than just being by yourself. I’ve always believed that a positive attitude is contagious and it shouldn’t be surprising that you’ll not only become friendlier, but others will be friendlier towards you.
  4. Invite company to your home. Some of us tend to be hermits during the cold winter months, and hibernating becomes a way of life. It’s easy. It’s cold. Pick up the phone, and have an impromptu potluck dinner, or ask friends over just because. Engagement is key to feeling vibrant and full of life, and laughter is the best medicine. Watch a funny movie. Kick off your shoes and enjoy downtime with friends. Laugh and play makes a wonderful day.
  5. Go outdoors, even if it seems counter intuitive. Bundle up baby. Get your blood moving and brave the elements. Dress with a layer or two, and feel the rosy glow of the cold. I’m not asking you to freeze to death, just get some fresh air. Your Mom might have told you the same thing, and she was right, right?

Nature in all of its seasons is beautiful. Enjoy it all, every day.