What ETTWomen Say: The Fabric of a Great Leader

Nelson Mandela, The Pope, Oprah, Steve Jobs… I’m sure you’ve got a fab list of great leaders too!

However, great leadership can be difficult to understand. Even great leaders have a difficult time explaining what makes their leadership so infectious and effective. It is their actions and words that undoubtedly make their great leadership noticeable.

I love finding out what makes people tick and I wanted to know what traits or behaviors others thought were in the fabric of a great leader. I polled our members and they weighed in with the amazing qualities they feel make up a great leader:

  1. “I think that Optimism is what makes a leader great. It is imperative that a leader have a positive mindset that they share to inspire others on their team and those they work with.” Valerie Ryan, IDLife
  2. “Great leaders always look to empower others, be it by education, guidance, or praise.” Mayra Betances, d&e Papel
  3. “I have been captain of cheerleading 3 times in my life, and coached for 10. For me it’s always about leading from example. You have to be what your subordinates aspire to be.” Janice Martinez Woerner, Jersey Girl Health and Wealth
  4. “Great leaders don’t make their family their excuse, they make them their reason to…succeed.” Renee Marshall-McKinley, Keep Yourself Smelling Sweet
  5. “A great leader listens to the individual and shares with them what they need to move ahead.” Susan Best Jones, S. Best Designs
  6. “A great leader is also a humble servant. When we can also be a humble servant, we show the art of support and team work through example.” Joanne Malley, JoanneMalley.com
  7. “A leader is someone who can easily communicate and delegate without feeling they have to be in control of everything. They help guide their employees and are happy to see their employees succeed.” Evy Havlik, Efficient Socially Savvy Media
  8. “A great leader motivates, inspires, empowers and encourages. A great leader does not run away from obstacles, passes blame or dwells on setbacks – but will say: let’s figure it out. A great leader is smart, resilient and energetic. A great leader is someone others are proud to work for and with!” Fran MacConnel, The Balanced Owl

I’ve learned that great leaders foster an environment of symbiotic growth (The teacher becomes the student mentality). Great leaders understand that ‘Team work, makes the dream work!” and also that another person’s success is also their success.

Great leaders welcome debate, criticism, and different perspectives other than their own. They understand that an environment where people are afraid to offer insights and/or ask good questions is destined for disaster.

Great leaders aren’t born, they are made.

oprah-wrinfey-quotes

What other traits or behaviors do you think define great leadership? Please leave me a comment below.

Better Blogging in 7 Easy Steps

You finally started to blog. So…what now?  You make it even better.
No worries, we’ve got you covered!
Here are 7 steps to get you there:
1. Give your audience exactly what it says on the subject Line.
If your title is: “Better Blogging In 7 Easy Ways”, then make sure that your blog post delivers exactly that. Don’t encourage readers to click on a headline only to find that the post or article is in no way related to what they are looking for.
2. Be informative, BUT keep it simple.
Your blog post needs to be informative. Remember that the main reason people read online content is because they are looking for information. Try to add as much relevant information about the topic as you can however, don’t overload your post with technical terms.
Don’t over explain yourself. Your writing style should be simple; that’s the way good writing works. Clear language is best. My best piece of advice is to write as if you were talking, but even more simply, and without the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and ‘sort ofs’.  It’s about being authentic and not trying to pretend you are something that you’re not.
3. Get to the point.
Although your post needs to be informative, it should also be short and sweet. Most people have short attention spans -especially on the internet. The online world is about brevity and speed. The better you get at this the more successful your blog will be.
4. Don’t sell.
When you blog effectively, one of the first things you will realize is that a blog is not a sales pitch.
People do not like being sold to, so don’t do it! Sales pitches will stop readers from getting to the end of your posts.
Blogging is about providing compelling content that inspires, educates and informs your audience. If you can do that, then people will respect you, your brand will grow and those readers will look to learn more about you. The selling will happing organically because believe it ornate, through your blog, people get to know, like and trust you.
5. Tell the world about your post.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, will read your post if you don’t tell them about it. Excellent content does not guarantee traffic to your blog.
You have to know the right ways to promote your post and get more eyes on your page. The posts you’ll find here on our site are formatted to be shared easily through social media sharing plugins, so we can tell our social media following about it. Do the same with yours.
6. While it might sound Ok in your head, it may not be.
You have 3-5 seconds to make a first impression online and just because you wrote the post, it doesn’t mean that it all makes sense. Sometimes when writing you get so in the zone you overlook a few things. Check, double check and even triple check your post for mistakes. We are human and yes, you should not be crucified for a typo. However, if you’re trying to establish yourself and an expert in your field, model expertise.
7. Practice makes perfect.
Get the content written, check it, publish and distribute it.
Blogging takes commitment, dedication and passion -most importantly, consistency. I’ve been doing this for 7 years and I’m still learning new things. I love the community and opportunities that blogging has allowed me to experience.
Remember that there are no overnight successes, stay committed to your vision and you will reap the fruits of your labor.
Have you started blogging? Have you been blogging for a while? What are your challenges, if any? Do you have more tips to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. If you found this post helpful, please share it!
Want to learn more? Join me at my next ETTWomen Workshop: 7 Ways to Write Blog Posts that Get Read

12 Steps to Building A Fabulous Personal Brand

Building a personal brand is something that you work on on different levels. It genuinely begins with knowing yourself better and knowing what you stand for. You then need to understand what you want to communicate to your target audience.

A personal brand is a vision and when you speak about your brand, it should always become about your message.

Here are 12 Steps to consider while building a fabulous personal brand:

1: Determine your unique value proposition

Stop. Take a minute and spend some time thinking about what makes you different. Think about your strengths, your passions, and your goals. Know who you are -most importantly, who you are not.

2: Find out how others see you

Ask trusted colleagues, co-workers, and friends for 3-5 adjectives they would use to describe you. Ask specifically: In which areas do they view you as “irreplaceable?” What are you good at? What are your strengths? Use these adjectives in your marketing copy.

3: Identify your goals

Where would you like to be in 30 days ? One year? Five years? Defining your goals helps you craft a message that helps you reach your goals.

4: Identify your target audience

Just like coffee-deals site knows that their target audience is coffee drinkers, you need to understand who will be receiving your message. This will help you master your message and to deliver it in the right places.

5: Reevaluate your priorities

As an independent business owner, woman, spouse, mother…you’re probably used to putting yourself last. While you still want to be loyal to your clients, colleagues and family, please remember to be loyal to yourself, first.

6: Pay attention to the details

Everything you do contributes to your personal brand. Once you’ve defined your brand, make sure that the way you dress, your body language, how you interact with others, the emails you write are all consistent with your brand message.

7: Update your resume

Go through your resume to determine if it resonates with your brand and that it accurately defines who you are, and is in alignment with both your short and long-term goals.

8: Become a social networker

If you haven’t already done so, set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and ask those in your target audience to follow and subscribe to your pages. Make sure you update on a regular basis. Make sure your updates resonates your message.

9: Build your own website

That’s right. Your website should be about you. It should highlight your professional accomplishments, your skill set and your knowledge, what you stand for, and your value. Make it about you, not your company or clients.

10: Blog

Blogging makes it easier than ever to promote yourself to your target audience. Make the commitment to posting 1-3 times a week on topics that your audience will find interesting and educational. These posts should highlight your skills and experience.

11: Get published

Write the book. Let me write that again: Write a book! Also, contribute to industry publications and update the content on your site. Being published is a great way to promote yourself as an expert in your field.

12: Pound the Pavement and Go Offline

Make sure that you are promoting your brand in person as well as you are online. Join and participate in industry groups, give talks at conferences, or lead a project that showcases your unique talents.

 

Self-promotion is an extremely important part of building your brand (if no one knows of your accomplishments or the company you work for, then how are they going to do business with you?), the biggest factor that separates you personal branding from shameless self-promotion is value.

Time, Money and Why Free, Isn’t Free!

The subject of this post is one that Lynette and I have discussed with many of our members on a personal level.

So, let’s talk about Time and Money and Free. We treat time and money delicately when in reality, they should be two of the clearest aspects of our business.
 
In fact, when it comes to charging for or placing value on time, we do our research, we nitpick…and especially when it comes to putting a dollar amount on it, we are well…frugal (to use a nice word :). 
 

And then there’s FREE. Have you ever really thought about the value of FREE? I could go on about this topic, but will let you continue reading this post which, in the end…makes my point.We’ve discussed the importance of investing (not spending) in ourselves as we are the greatest asset in our businesses.

 

Free Isn’t Free

What is you ROTI (Return On Time Invested? I’m not talking about the time your clients pay you for.  I’m talking about the time you spend doing administrative tasks, creating a DIY website, or customizing a free service for your needs.

Your time is yours, correct? Yes and no.

Yes, you own your time and no, you don’t need to pay someone else for it. But your time is an asset and it has value, so how you spend it determines if your return is more or less than its value. Make sense?

In fact, time is your most precious and irreplaceable asset.

How you spend your time will directly impact your bottom line.  Unlike other assets, you can’t save it up for a rainy day.  You can’t buy more time.  You get 24 hours in a day like every other business owner out there and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

“I just want to make a living. I’m not interested in dissecting the meaning of life,” you may say.

What DIY Really Costs You

You decide that you are going to build your own website from scratch.
You will have complete control over the structure, the layout, behind the scenes SEO, and more. There’s no waiting for an outside firm to update your site. There’s no risk of looking like 50 other sites because you used a template.
Sounds great, right?
Not so fast.
  • What FTP will you use?  Do you even know what an FTP is?
  • Do you know any HTML? Do you even need to know?
  • Have you ever created your own CSS file?
You’re smart. I’m sure you are able to learn all of these things. The real question is how long will it take? Let’s assume it would take you 120 hours, or one month, to learn these things and build your own site.
When you perform work for clients, you are earning $50 net profit for every hour billed.  If you were to pay yourself a fair market value, the cost would be $6,000 ($50 X 120 hours).
Before embarking on this DIY adventure, you request proposals from a couple of reputable web developers.  You learn that it would cost roughly $3,000 for someone else to create the website of your dreams.
The reality is, you don’t actually have to pay yourself.  So, why spend the cash on someone else?
Great question.
First, and most importantly, if you do it yourself, you will miss out on the chance to earn $6,000 if you had been performing work for a paying client. 
After paying someone else $3,000, you would still be ahead by $3,000 ($6,000-$3,000 = $3,000)
Not convinced yet?
More reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
  1. Total project time: An expert is going to be able to complete a project faster than a beginner.  If you need to hit a deadline or simply need it done fast, outsourcing helps.
  2. Expertise: While your result may be “good enough”, an expert will bring all of their tools, tricks and insights to the table.
  3. Better than cloning: You can’t be doing two things at once.  By outsourcing, you can ensure that two things are getting done at the same time in a professional manner.  This can accelerate how quickly you will hit revenue and profit goals.
This my friends is the reality of doing business.
There are certain circumstances in which you may still wish to build it yourself.  You may just be starting out and simply don’t have the capital available.  You may not be established enough to use that time serving profitable customers.  Each business is unique.
All of this is ok, just recognize that you are in essence paying yourself less than market value, and your path to profitability will be longer.
Remember, your time has value. 
Take a minute to calculate how much your free resources and services are costing you. If your time was an asset you could record in your financial statements, would you be ok with showing others how it is being spent? 
Do you still think free is free?

Marketing and Advertising: How Much Should I Be Spending On It

Marketing and advertising your small business are 2 of the most important ongoing activities you should consistently focus on for your business. There are many ways to do these.

It can be challenging for https://www.libertylending.com/, especially when it comes to personal loan and how much money will be set aside for these 2 key aspects of business.

One way of doing this is by calculating the percentage of gross revenue. This will allow for your spending to change as your revenue does.

Truth: Marketing and advertising budgets vary based on your industry, competition, profit margins and other aspects. Marketing and advertising are typically revenue drivers.

ICYMI: Marketing and advertising are typically revenue drivers.

So, let’s break it down:

  • Marketing by Percentages

“The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million a year in sales and your net profit margin — after all expenses — is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range.”

Many marketing and advertising experts suggest that start-up and small businesses should allocate between 2 and 3 percent of revenue just for their marketing and advertising. If you’re in a competitive industry, up to 20 percent. Other experts advise a range between 1 and 10 percent, and even more depending on how long you’ve been in business, competitive activity and bottom line, what you are able to afford. These different opinions may lead us to believe that the percentage of gross revenue for marketing and advertising depends on whom you ask. I believe that investing in marketing and advertising is fundamental to growing your business so anywhere from 10 to 20 percent from your revenue should go towards these activities.

  • Spending Variables

Regardless of what others are spending, I know that there’s a limit to how much you can afford to spend. Affordability can actually be your spending guide. Also understand that certain internal and external factors may cause your spending to vary. Introducing a new product or service requires more spending than what you spend on an on-going business. You may of course want to reduce marketing spending while you are in the midst of activating your exit strategy – this is if your business is in its twilight years. If you’re selling high-ticket, high-margin goods or services, you need to spend more on marketing. If your competition is giving you a headache, you may have no choice but to increase your marketing spending.

  • Marketing Drives Revenue

Marketing and advertising are typically revenue drivers. Marketing and advertising spending in most successful businesses is task- or project-oriented, whether doing some pay day loan leads programs or the promotion in social media. Task-oriented marketing requires a marketing plan, something I strongly recommend.

What are some of the challenges you face when marketing or advertising for your business? Would love to think thank with you!

Your Marketing Checklist for 2016

I know you’re probably on ‘New Year, New Goals’ overload…BUT if you want to rock out your marketing in 2016, please bare with me.

 

You’re a smart entrepreneur and I’m sure you want to #StepIntoYourPower in ALL aspects of your life and business. Here are 5 strategies to give your marketing a powerful boost:

 

  1. Market less. Say what?!?!? What I mean by this is that you know what isn’t working. So do less of that and also, don’t overextend yourself marketing in places where you don’t have the ability to sustain a long term effort. Focus on mastering 1 marketing platform at a time. Become indispensable in 1 area and in 1 network. And, meet your customers where they are.
  2. Focus on subscribers. The way to do that in a digital arena is by sharing valuable content on a specific date and a specific time. It’s like making an appointment with your audience. Create anticipation and reliability for it.
  3. Amplify your distribution. Creating valuable content is one thing, getting eyeballs to it…another. Build momentum by focusing on your subscribers and audience BUT you may need to consider paid promotion/distribution. Yes, this looks like print/online advertising. Include it in your budget for the year as it’s imperative to keep your business visible.
  4. Align your assets. From a branding/marketing perspective what this means is that after taking a look at all your social media platforms ( Facebook Page, Twitter presence, LinkedIn Groups, YouTube Channel, blog, newsletter, etc.) can you answer this: If your logo fell off your marketing materials, would people know it was coming from you? If yes, AWESOME SAUCE! If no, take stock of your efforts and realign. They should all have the same look/feel as well as an improved user experience.
  5. Mobile is where it’s at. If there is one thing you need to make sure of is that your website is optimized for mobile. Believe it or not, between 75-85% of sales happen on a mobile device. Yes, you read that correctly…75-85%! That’s a crap load of sales or signups that you’re missing out on if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Get. On. It!

 

Make 2016 your most successful year ever! Step into your marketing power with these easy strategies to add to you marketing mix! Join me tonight for an in-person discussion! RSVP HERE!

Photo Credit: Mobile-Cuisine.com

Have a question? Please, leave me a comment below!

Personal Branding 101

personal branding

 

personal brand is something you work on building in so many levels. It all starts with getting to know yourself better. You then need to understand what you want to communicate to your target audience. This all happens before even opening your mouth (or posting in social media).

It’s simple really: A personal brand is a vision. And when you speak about your brand, it should become all about the message -not about hard-selling yourself.

While self-promotion is an extremely important part of building your brand (if no one knows of your accomplishments or the company you work for, then how are they going to do business with you?), it also seems that the biggest factor separating personal branding from shameless self-promotion is value.

If a person provides value with his/her content, then all the self-promotion is justified because people will benefit from the content.

Once you really understand your values you’ll know what you want your brand image to be. You must also align your communication and overall message with your target audience, not only the message.

It is not wrong to provide information about the content that you provide. Just make sure that it is targeted to the right audience an be personal while doing it.

I’ll be leading a workshop on personal branding for ETTWomen at our North Jersey Chapter! Join us HERE!

Before 2016, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions

new-year-2016-vc-IG

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your love and support to ETTWomen this past year. It’s been a remarkable year and and this new one ahead will be even more so!

My personal prayer for 2016 is that love, compassion and empathy reign in our hearts. That we dig deep within ourselves and find the fabulous gem within each of us and let it shine…because greatness, well… it is in each and everyone of us.

As you stop and reflect upon the year that has passed and look to the new one ahead…here are 10 questions you may want to ask yourself:

  1. Am I happy with where I am at with my life right now?
  2. What am I passionate about? What am I doing to pursue my passion?
  3. Who and what things are weighing me down that I need to get rid of? How will I do it?
  4. What do I need to forgive myself for?
  5. When did I feel most alive this year?
  6. What was sacred about that moment?
  7. What do I want to let go of?
  8. What do I want to dedicate 2016 to?
  9. What did I learn about myself in 2015?
  10. What did 2015 represent to me in my path?

I wish you a happy and healthy New Year! 2016, let’s roll!

Do you have a question? PLEASE, leave me a comment or contact me below!

 

4 Affirmations to Help You Shift the Energy in Your Life and Business

How-Your-energy-affects-your-life-and-business

“My job sucks.” “The economy is terrible.” “I haven’t made a sale in weeks.”

If you can relate to even 1 of these statements, I am sorry to say but you have probably become a victim of your own negative thinking.

Have you ever considered that maybe the only thing stopping you from having a life and business you love is precisely that, negative thinking?

Truth: It’s not the lack of resources or the ‘uncool’ mom you had as a kid or the other excuses we use to justify for not having the life we want.

We all have reasons to feel bad at any time during our day. I get it, circumstances change for better or for worse in a flow of events. And naturally, we react to those circumstances just as we’ve been taught to by our families and friends.

So does how we react to any given situation matter? Your reaction is energy and energy is everything.

Everything you see, sit on, feel -the sun on your face, your kid’s laughter, your morning jog, prayer, a kiss…it is all source energy, source energy is where everything and everyone originated.

You are made up of this same energy. Its frequency can be raised or lowered according to your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Therefore, the frequencies you send out attract similar frequencies. What you put out, you receive…ring a bell?

Each of us has an energy sequence: negative on the bottom and positive on top.

Positive energy includes:

  1. Our brilliance,
  2. Goodness,
  3. Divinity,
  4. Inspiration,
  5. Love, passion,
  6. Optimism,
  7. Happiness and
  8. Joy (our connectedness).

Negative energy includes:

  1. Anger,
  2. Depression,
  3. Sadness,
  4. Guilt,
  5. Pessimism,
  6. Sense of lack -not just from others, but from our source energy.

We go up and down on this energy sequence everyday, depending on our circumstances. We may think or say, “If only I had X, I could be or do X.” And the ultimate joke is that if we ‘get happy,’ our circumstances will change to meet us. Not so much.

According to the Waist Training Center, “moving up on your energy sequence by shifting your energy to a higher frequency and opening up to source energy connects you to your inspiration, spirituality and goodness.” It has the power to change your life immediately!

From the low end of your energy sequence you can’t even think about doing things you love, let alone muster up the energy to go out and find it.

From the high-end of your energy sequence, you’ll get new ideas, tap into your light and inspiration, connect with the people you need to see, and get into the flow of positive energy that guides you through ‘a good day’ and therefore ‘a good life.’

So, how do you flip the funk?

The first step is catching yourself. Then, you redirect your thoughts. Use positive affirmations every time you notice yourself thinking negatively. I personally love these:

  1. I am.
  2. My life is abundant.
  3. Wonderful opportunities are coming into my life today.
  4. Today is a great day because I opened my eyes.

I am pretty notorious for using humor to approach difficult situations, because I open my eyes and my eyesight is actually horrible but I like to humor it, it´s good because I´m using the outback vision protocol to better it. It’s something I learned from my father and incredibly, my children have picked up on it too. Humor is also a very effective way to raise your energy sequence, therefore making you better able to respond to any situation.

I know it sounds easier said than done, but I promise you, these small shifts will help elevate you. Remember, YOU and only YOU are responsible for the energy you bring into your life and your business.

Here’s to living fabulously Chica!

Do you have a question? PLEASE, leave me a comment below! 

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