value

Know your VALUE

Some years I tend to be a HUGE reader, and some years I tend to only get through a handful of books. This year, I am on an official reading binge. I cannot seem to get enough words into me - via reading actual books and also by listening to audiobooks. And whoa, have I have stumbled across some good ones.

One of the best in my 2018 pile is Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski. It was excellent. LOVED it. Not only does she share her own harrowing story of moving up the ranks in the television business, but she covers the stories of other business mavens such as Sheryl Sandberg and Susie Orman. This book does not serve up fluffy, happy-go-lucky, just ‘put-your-mind-to-it’ stories. No, this book goes into the nitty gritty of negotiation, career strategy and rising up to your potential even when everyone else is trying desperately to bring you down. It is meaty goodness served up with a side of brass tactics.

Nothing is Expensive

Full disclaimer - I am not a financial guru.

But I do consider myself a mindset maven.

I believe your thoughts become your feelings, which create your reality.

I believe what you you think about all the time shows up in your life. Especially when you add an emotional charge to it.

You know more than you think you know

A few weeks ago I wrote the story of The Chicken Sticker where I shared a funny story about getting over the fear of charging potentially 'too much' for your services. I hope it inspires you to let that self-sabotaging story go because, as the story explains, someone, somewhere paid thousands of dollars for me to design a stupid sticker for $1 off a pack of chicken.

Another important self-sabotaging story to let go of is, "I don't know enough".

The Chicken Sticker

Happy 2018!

I know we are a month in already, but I'm just not the kinda person that goes all cray-cray excited at the beginning of the New Year. I like to ease into the year and see what goals feel right, and think about what I really want to focus on. I’m slowlying crystallizing my vision for the year and let me tell you, it will be #highvibe!!

With that in mind, today I thought I would share with you a short and kinda funny story about charging clients for our services. Funny stories raise your vibe instantly!

SAY SOMETHING

When I began this blog about a year ago, I made the very deliberate decision to disable comments on the posts. I had listened to a podcast interview with Danielle Laporte - a formidable, warm tiger of a leader - and she boldly spoke about refusing others to comment on her blog because it was getting too intense. I am not sure if she still disables comments, but I remember hearing that and alarm bells went off in my head and thoughts like "OH M G I better also disable comments because I do NOT need that negativity in my life". Shutting them down.

YOUR BRAND PROMISE

Hello Brave Ones,

I wanted to get back to some branding basics, so here is some juicy stuff for you!

When creating a brand for a product or service, I believe you must have three ducks in a row.

Together these 'ducks' are crucial to brand development and will formulate your Brand Promise. Your Brand Promise is simply what you have promised to give to your client or customer when they purchase your product or service.

When developing your Brand Promise, here are the three 'ducks' - and they all start with P.

CHARGE MORE

This past Sunday I got schooled in some business basics.

One of my ongoing freelance gigs is quite unusual - I design and create presentation boards for an Interior Designer, Annie, who designs for upscale retirement homes. The process looks like this: after Annie has selected all of the fabrics and materials she wants to use in a home (which can be dozens), I help her pitch the look and feel to the client by creating large boards that tell a visual story of the new home. I spend hours cutting fabric with pinking shears, gluing wallpaper samples, adding pieces of wood or laminate, layering them together, adding custom-designed labels, and mulling over how the materials should flow together so it is completely clear how everything will fit together visually. I have been designing these boards for over 20 years after my teenage boyfriend suggested his mom - Annie - hire me for one of her projects. Decades later, we still work together, and rather seamlessly, too.

GIVE YOURSELF GOLD STARS

Are you giving yourself gold stars?  

I hope you have. I have definitely not. 

What I mean is, I have not been acknowledging my small (sometimes teeny tiny) accomplishments and successes as I embark on launching a new coaching business.

For my entire life, I have been extremely uncomfortable with praise or celebrating 'wins'. If I get an award or simply positive feedback, I get very embarrassed and my mind immediately jumps to, "I'd rather not hear this because I don't really believe it." I want to go all 'ear muffs' from Wedding Crashers.

Making space

Some people like to clean when they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Others reorganize their sock drawer. I purge. I start tossing stuff out, left, right and centre. 

Recently, with the relaunch of my business and coaching, a freelance design project, a corporate contract, and trying to facilitate moving my mom into a retirement home, things have felt really hectic, stressful and just "too much". In addition, for the last seven years, I have been working my way through my dad's estate which includes about ten galleries worth of artwork (he was an artists as well as a contractor), and a sea of other treasures not even yet accounted for. While it is a labour of love, it has been draining at times.

It was time to make things lighter.

Time for me to get brave

Hello, Mavens!

It has been a while... I'm excited to connect with you all again.

2017 started off with a bang, but not the good kind. More on that another time, but I can say with relief and joy that my doggie Dolly is healing (yes, miracles do happen) and I'm getting back on track with my business. I kinda got hit with a tornado, but I'm alive and well and things are GOOD.

My big announcement I want to share is that…

HELLO, BOUNDARIES

Post is inspired by this interview with Brené Brown:
http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries

Boundaries.

As soon as I hear that word, I mutter a not so silent ‘fuck!’ to myself. Fuuuuuuuuck.

I don’t have the best track record of setting healthy boundaries - with personal relationships and especially with work.I know logically and rationally they are necessary, but for most of my life, I have always justified going above and beyond for anyone and everyone. I love to be generous (my husband calls it my ‘Italian generosity’), help people 24/7, and I am hard-wired to solve problems. I am Little Miss FixIt. The positive side to this is that, at least in part, these qualities allow me to be an awesome business consultant. This I can say with sincere confidence.

MILLION DOLLAR BRANDS

I have been writing, writing, and writing! And it is longer than expected!

Ever wonder what it takes to make your brand look like a million bucks? And generate millions of bucks? Then this content is for you.

This new ebook training book will help you achieve CLARITY with your brand, along with super simple practical tips you can actually execute. It is part of my MARKABEE MAP 1:1 coaching program that launches in January!

CHOOSE A BUSINESS NAME YOU LOVE :: PART 2 OF 2

2017 UPDATE! I have since decided to change my company name to my actual name, Alana Ruoso. Oh, the irony! But read on to see how I worked through this process. And check out this blog post here where I announced the name change officially.

In PART 1 we looked at what happens when a client is stuck coming up with a name for their business that they LOVE.

Today in PART 2 I’m going to tackle the second most common obstacle I see with clients and the company name game - they can’t stand their existing name and they don’t know what to do.