Posts Tagged ‘networking’

How do you step outside of your comfort zone?

Do you love it, or hate it when people tell you “think outside of the box” or “step outside of your comfort zone”? It seems these are the most popular sayings nowadays. I personally prefer the older sayings, which are being lost by our youth. ‘You reap what you sow’ is a personal favorite, but when I said this to some middle schoolers, they looked at me with puzzled faces and asked ‘what’s reap and sow?’.

In a previous post, I pondered the saying ‘think outside of the box’. You must first contemplate what’s inside your ‘box’, who you are and what you want to do with your life. The same applies to ‘step outside of your comfort zone’. What defines your comfort zone and what will you accomplish by stepping outside of it? This simple saying can end up being very therapeutic, as it forces you to reflect on who you are and what you want to do with your life.

If you’re like me, and have started off on an adventure into being your own boss, you’ve already stepped outside of your comfort zone. Being an entrepreneur and an employee are at opposite sides of the spectrum, in my opinion.

Here’s where I started in determining my ‘zones’: Continue reading

How’s Your Follow Through?

I have a couple of missed posts to catch up on, so this one goes along with my post earlier “Your Attention Please”. How’s your follow through? What do you do with all of those business cards you collect at networking mixers and meetings? When someone says, “let me have your card”, do you just give them one of your cards, or do you also ask for their info in case they don’t call. We all have a dumping ground when we get home, the kitchen table, our desk, the bedroom dresser. We all have piles of good intentions, right? I do. I just finally stopped shuffling around a brochure for yoga classes that I’ve had for a couple of weeks and picked up the phone to call. Why is that so hard?

I’ve run into numerous realtors at networking meetings. Everyone in real estate will tell you that business is rough, because of the current economic conditions. But I have asked at least 4 or 5 realtors to help me find a place for my mom to move into. Either purchase or rent. Not one has followed up with me. Curious if business is so far and few between. So why is this, I wonder. They are waiting for me to call them? There are plenty of realtors out there – if I had a hot lead I would make it a point to make contact and see what I could do to help!

The theme of my Business Brainstormers networking meeting this week is “What to do with all of those business cards?” Surely there is some value in them, otherwise why do we collect them? Think of each business card as a potential contact, client or advocate for your business. This is the objective of networking – getting to know people and establishing a relationship, so they feel comfortable referring you to folks they run into who are looking for someone in your field. So why do those contacts end when the networking meeting is over? How much of your time would it take to follow-up? Here are some ideas I’m presenting at my networking group: Continue reading

Too Many Things!?

Is it possible to do too many things? To embrace too many ideas? To try to do too much at one time? Absolutely! Is it always a bad thing to have many ideas rattling around in your head? Definitely not! But don’t try to be a ‘juggler’. Have you ever been to a networking meeting and someone stands up to do their ‘commercial’ and they quickly rattle off 2 or 3 companies that they are working on? It makes you wonder just how hard they are working on all of them, doesn’t it? If something doesn’t work out the way we envisioned, then we tend to jump on another bandwagon, don’t we?

Am I guilty of this? Why yes I am. I started the grocery shopping business the end of March and when we went off to Wisconsin in June, I still hadn’t had my first customer. I was wondering about the benefits of networking – was it really worth my time? Should I be out pounding the pavement? Should I spend big bucks on advertising? I didn’t have a product – just the service I was offering. I felt frustrated and lost and questioned whether I was heading in the right direction.

While in Wisconsin, off of Lake Superior, I had another idea pop into my head. I contemplated what other skills I possessed, and I know how to sew. I don’t always particularly enjoy sewing – I have to be in the mood – but it was a skill I could put to use to bring home some bacon! Everyone says that you should be doing something that you enjoy – that you are passionate about, since you’re working for yourself, but I think we have to use our available skills to make some money. We’re not always going to like what we’re doing – life’s not that easy is it?

I had sewn a cover for my pool table, to protect it from the kitty hair and the kitty babies laying on the felt. I used fashion fabric and liked the way it turned out. It took it from being a piece of furniture that overcomes the room, into a blended piece of furniture. I did my homework and found no nice looking, fashionable pool table covers being offered online. Bingo! Now I have a product – that will be easier to market right? Not necessarily. So I developed my 2nd company – Custom Home Covers – offering pool table covers, curtains, bar stool recovering. Practical, yet fashionable items for your home to protect your investments. So I then became one of those folks who stood up at networking and named more than one company. I now realize that it was just a distraction. So consider these things when you’re tempted to jump from one idea or opportunity to another.

  • Keep your focus on what you are passionate about. 
  • Don’t jump from company to company – people will not believe in your steadfastness and will not be prone to refer people to you.
  • If marketing one product is difficult, marketing another won’t be any easier.
  • Remember the old saying – slow and steady wins the race.  Hang in there – business will come your way when you prove that you are here to stay.

So how did I resolve my dilemma of two separate companies?  Tune in tomorrow.  Thanks for reading…Cindy

Ideas and Decisions – Oh My!

I bet you can’t guess what time it is?? 9:22 pm but I had to get my writing done – last night I went to bed before I got my blogging done and woke up in the middle of the night. “Oh no” I thought, “I forgot to do my blog”. Did the sun come up this morning – absolutely. My one friend who has been dedicated and reading my blog posts (bless her!) called me this morning and asked where her reading material was. Oops!

So my first idea came to me after I got a new car with navigation and GPS on it. My mother is in her 80’s and tells me how difficult it is for her to get to the grocery store. So I came up with the idea of a grocery shopping service. I thought that I could launch the new business in her senior complex, and that it would be an easy sell because they would know I was her daughter. Not an unknown stranger. So I put up my website, ordered my business cards, made some flyers and off I went. I was naive – I thought the old theory of “build it and they will come” was going to apply to my brilliant new idea. I did my research – there wasn’t anyone else on the web in the area offering this kind of service. So it was going to be a piece of cake to get customers right? NOT! But I think most of us who decide to ‘go it alone’ and stop being employees, don’t have any idea of what we are facing. I never knew this alternate universe existed – social media, twitter, Facebook,, networking meetings and mixers, and information overload!

Well, the only person I have shopped for, so far, is my Mom. It seems that the older folks who I thought would be hankering for my service, don’t really want to give up that chore. I don’t know if it’s an independence thing, or they’re just really picky about their bananas like my mom! I thought it was a great idea myself, and still have my going on, but it’s not my main focus anymore. I’ll tell you about idea #2 tomorrow so stay tuned. Until then…Cindy

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