Growing up I was told, “Quitters never win and winners never quit“. To quit was to be a failure. I carried this with me as a grew up. That was until one day all of my toenails fell out…don’t worry, I’ll explain.
I was about 15 years old and after training to be a lifeguard I hunted for a job. Too bad for me it was close to the end of summer and everyone had already hired their lifeguards for the season. But one person must have seen my despair-stricken face and taken pity on me because I was offered a Pool Maintenance job for a high-rise apartment building. Eh, close enough, I thought. Plus it paid pretty decent dime for a summer job. My first day was a blur. I was responsible for shocking the pool and backfilling, twisting and cranking the very large machine, located in a cool, dank room in the underground parking garage. The guy who showed me the ropes (who I can only assume hated the job since my training lasted a whopping 3 minutes), said something like this: “turn that wheel, then crank the bar, then let the water run out for 1 minute, then turn the wheel another 45 degrees, reverse crank the bar, push the button, make sure this is lit up, but not lit up blue (because that would be bad), add some powder here, but not too much powder, then blah, blah, blah. No written instructions, no demo, just a bunch of words hurled at a naive 15 year old girl.
Fast forward to my first real day on the job. I arrive at the apartment building and make my way to the bottom level of the parking garage. I open the heavy metal door to the maintenance room, it closes behind me and I tremble in front of the huge machine that makes the pool function. Somehow I remembered the instruction from the day before. I turned and cranked, as instructed, then suddenly the room went dark…power outage. Now if you remember the instructions, this is right around the time that the machine gushes out water. I now stood in a pitch black room in the basement of a high-rise with water rushing out of a huge electric machine. I panicked. I stumbled around trying to find the wall so I could feel my way back to the metal exit door. I tripped more times than I can count over the buckets brimming with chemicals and powders that lay strewn about the floor. Eventually I found the door, opened it and ran through the dark parking garage towards the stairs. I ran up as fast as my skinny legs would take me and found the superintendent who was busy answering angry calls from residents. “The…room is…uuuh…filling up…with…uh…water!”, I stammered. He looked at me like I was an annoying bug who had just landed on his sandwich. I thought he was going to squash me. “Stupid girl!” was his answer. He proceeded to bark at me to show him the room. We hopped down the steps two at a time to get to the room as quickly as possible. At some point the power came back on. We reached the door to the maintenance room, I opened it up and inside was a chemical soup about a foot deep and getting deeper by the minute.”Get in there and turn off the water!” he screamed at me. Ever the obedient girl, I waded through the foamy cesspool and turned off the flowing water. I don’t remember much of what happened next. What I do remember is taking a shower that evening and my toenails falling out one by one.
Needless to say, I quit that job and never looked back. I quit because I was disrespected, I quit because I was physically harmed, I quit because it wasn’t the job for me. I learned the lesson that sometimes quitting is necessary.
Quitting isn’t bad. But sometimes the intentions behind it are. If you’re quitting something because it’s too hard, you’re afraid, someone makes you quit for a reason you don’t believe in or because you don’t believe in yourself, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. But don’t be afraid to quit something that’s holding you back from being great at something else.
Collective buying sites like Groupon are popping up all over the internet. These sites can translate to amazing value to both the buyer and the seller alike. If you’re not familiar with them, in a nutshell they offer a feature product or service at an unbelievable deal to subscribers who have signed up to learn about promotions in their area. The catch is that the offer only becomes valid if a minimum number of people sign up for it. I’ve advised a few of my clients to promote their wares on Groupon with amazing results.
But collective buying sites are not for every business. Here are a few tips to consider before making your products & services available for bidding:
For many small businesses, the thought of significantly discounting their products and services PLUS splitting half of the revenues with Groupon can seem like a losing proposition. This Groupon Sales Calculator can help you determine whether the accounting will work for your business.
For more information on Groupon case studies as well as how specifically it works, visit Grouponworks.com.
My girlfriend just lost her job. Everyone’s reaction was, “Oh, that’s too bad!”. But it was probably the single-best thing that has ever happened to her. Why? She was a drone. She went through life doing something she was comfortable in. But in truth she hated her job. The thing is that it paid very well, gave her the flexibility to work from home and it was a job she could do in her sleep. Yet every night she would go to bed and lay awake for hours fearing the moment she would wake up and have to get ready for another day at work. Comfort does not breed happiness.
For those of you who have read my story, you know that I worked for a number of different agencies over the course of 13 years. I wanted to be the best at what I did. I worked extremely long hours, staying late at the office, bringing my work home with me, working weekends. I had built the reputation I desired, I had gained the trust of my clients and I was being groomed to take over my boss’ job. I was miserable. Success does not breed happiness.
Fulfillment breeds happiness. What ever fulfillment means to you. Think about what you want your legacy to be and build a plan for how to achieve it. Don’t get caught up in comfort and success. You may just find out too late that you’ve missed out on happiness.
I have thousands of connections on Twitter, almost a thousand connections on Facebook, hundreds on LinkedIn, hundreds of blog subscribers, thousands of contacts in my address book and hundreds that blog that I follow in my reader. I get dizzy just thinking about the number of connections I have. Many overlap connection points – I have contacts that I’m connected to on LinkedIn that I also am friends with on Facebook, I have others that subscribe to my blog and are in my address book, and others that I tweet with and email from time to time. It’s confusing to track all of these connections. In fact, there are many people that I email and have no idea we’re actually connected on social media sites. This is where many get social media overload. But your contacts are gold…when you know how to manage them.
This is why I love Gist. It’s been in Beta for about a year and as a result it is 100% free…not to mention one of the most useful tools I have in my social media arsenal. In a nutshell, Gist helps you build stronger relationships with your connections by providing critical information about all of them. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re connected with John Doe on Facebook and LinkedIn. By simply inputting John’s email (which he uses for both social media sites), it will pull John’s phone number, address, his social media account names, website, rss feeds, shared connections, the last time you connected with him, etc. You can also sync with your emails so that your latest correspondence is stored with the contact! Essentially it’s a social CRM service.
Here’s a video overview by The Social Networker to give you more in-depth info (please note that the video was created when Gist was released so some of the content has evolved, but it’s a great overview):
1. All of your contacts and all of their details in one place. Enough said.
2. It has a built in Google search feature. This allows you to get the latest news on your contacts and their companies.
3. You can tag your contacts. For example, tag them with ‘prospect’ and you can sort your contacts by tag.
4. You can read your contact’s tweets, facebook status updates and blog posts without leaving Gist. You can also customize what you want to see and what you don’t. Don’t want to see Twitter updates? Uncheck the Twitter box. This feature has virtually replaced my need for my reader since I’m connected to most of the people whose blogs I follow.
5. You can easily share your contact’s rss content by email, facebook or twitter. You can also favorite items that you really enjoyed.
6. If you sync Gist with Google Calendar, you can hone in on the updates from the contacts you plan to meet with.
PS – The iPhone app is available for download. An updated version has been released to fix some bugs. It’s obviously not as easy to navigate as the desktop application, but it’s still a really useful application.
I’ve come across some great blog series lately that offer you a month of helpful hints to better yourself or your business. Here are 5 of my favourites:
1. 30 Days to Better Meetings by Quorky
2. 30 Days of Branding by Liz King Events
3. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Pro Blogger (it’s from 2007, but still a relevant a solid resource)
4. 30 Days to Better Business Writing by Bad Language
5. 30 Days to Better SEO by The Keyword Academy
That’s a good 5 months of resources. Sounds like you’ll be busy for a while :)
I’ve blogged quite a bit about the amazing 3D projections, projection mapping and holograms that are getting oohs and aahs all across the globe . Here is a snapshot of some of my favorites (please note if you’re viewing in Facebook some of these videos will show as links):
(check out 1:45 onwards)
On June 7 – 10, 2010 I did not attend Engage!10. In fact, they didn’t even have a virtual component to the conference. But I was still part of their virtual audience…a remote and passive group of viewers who witnessed the event through the blogs, tweets, Facebook status updates, pictures and videos of the live attendees.
For those of you who don’t know yet, Engage!10 is a luxury and exclusive wedding business summit that is held twice a year for an intimate group of 175 of the industry’s brightest. June’s event took place on the beautiful Cayman Islands and their upcoming October event will be held at The Breakers Palm Beach.
Now I’ve been involved in many a conference over the years both as a speaker and a delegate – most of which were targeted to the special events community. Two things struck me as remarkable about this event.
1. Emotion | As I read the communications from the attendees, I was moved by the passionate words they used to describe their experience: ‘it was the most amazing time of my life’, ‘I made relationships that will last a lifetime’, ‘I had business-changing conversations’, I felt reinvigorated & inspired…and the list goes on.
I asked Rebecca Grinnals of Engaging Concepts who is the brains and heart behind this event, why she thought people were so moved by Engage!10. She modestly ascribed it to something that happens organically when you get this group together. But it became clear as I listened to her speak that it was attributed to a clear and focused vision for her event.
Rebecca shared with me that for many years she felt frustration with the lack of education for professionals in her industry. If you wanted to attend a wedding conference, it was most likely an event that was marketed to brides. At one such event a speaker asked the audience to put up their hands if they were an event planner. Almost 75% of the audience raised their arms. Rebecca knew what she had to do next.
Her vision was to create the kind of event she would love to attend. One that takes the best thinkers in the luxury wedding industry and focuses on inspiring and motivating through high level content. More importantly, Rebecca wanted to create an atmosphere where over the course of the summit attendees could dance with, have drinks with and break bread with the speakers. After all, these one-on-one conversations stimulate some of the best ideas and partnerships…organically.
2. Visual Storytelling | Take one look at the images from this event and your jaw will drop. No matter who took the pictures, the story is the same…and that’s not easy to accomplish. Every single detail of this event was visually branded Engage!10. Why is this so important? In this new age of social media, the experience of your in-face attendees can influence the desire for your online audience to attend next time around. Photos and videos are very sharable. According to David Kirkpatrick, author of the Facebook Effect, for many years more than 50% of all pageviews on Facebook are of photos! We love to look at photos. I can attest that the many pictures I saw of the event made me want to attend.
Rebecca says that the keys to success in visually branding her event were to:
1. Start with a color palette . For this event, Rebecca choose a teal and yellow combination. This palette was chosen when she did a site visit at the Ritz Carleton. The colors were simple and unique and every single detail used this combination – from the website to the programs to the signage to the table tops.
2. Have a graphic designer as her right-hand man (errrr…woman) . Every detail was designed by their resident visual brand stakeholder. This ensured consistency and an aesthetic worthy of the Engage!10 name.
3. Think about every single detail . What color is Rebecca wearing at the podium? Why yellow, of course. She laughs when I point out that I noticed this and claims that she doesn’t own another piece of yellow in her wardrobe. But she bought it because it helps tell the story. Just look at the image below in combination with the other images in this post. It all fits.
Rebecca also sent me a piece from her summit that is amicably referred to as their Face Book. It’s gold for any attendee. Inside is the picture, name, company, location, website and twitter address for every single attendee!! Yes, before you ask, this is a logistical nightmare – ever try to ask 175 people for their head shots? But it provides so much value and reinforces the vision of Rebecca to create high value connections for everyone who attends. Fab!
Are you as taken as I am? Then sign up for the next summit being held October 3-6, 2010 at The Breakers Palm Beach.
Check out what some attendees have had to say about Engage!10:
Lara Casey, Jasmin Star, Donna von Bruening - Day 1, Day 2 & 3, Momental Designs - Part 1, Part 2, Rebecca Davidson - Part 1,Part 2, Part 3, David Wolfe Photography - Part 1, Part 2, Better Angle, Celebrations Cayman, Bridal Bar - Part 1, Part 2, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Jules Bianchi, Think Splendid, Mccallum Solutions, Sean Low