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".

Keeping fonts fab

Lately I have been asked a ton of questions about fonts and how it they can support a brand, so here is a tidbit to help your brand shine. Of course, fonts alone do not make a brand, but great typography can absolutely help to create a brand that is engaging and inspiring. And 100% profesh.

And while it is sooooo fun to play with fonts and there are thousands of really amazing ones out there, but I’m putting you on strict typography diet. You need a maximum of two fonts to effectively design all of your branding elements (business card, postcards, website, etc.). Remember, with every font you also have bold and italic options for adding emphasis, so you are not as limited as you might think.

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!

TAKE THE FIRST STEP

ust a few more days of 2017 left!

As we prepare for the New Year, I found myself gravitating to this quote from the Suitcase Entrepreneur. I keep a notebook with scribbles and quotes in it, and about every week - usually on a Sunday eve - I go through it to see what resonates. As someone who has really thought a lot about the word 'failure', I have decided that this is the best definition. 

We only fail if we don't take at least one step.

HELLO, GOAL SETTING. I DON'T HATE YOU ANYMORE. OR MY LIFE.

As we come to the end of 2017, many of us are planning our 2018 and wondering how we can make it an awesome year.

While I do not obsess over New Year's resolutions, I do indeed set goals at the beginning of each year. I write down a list of realistic but challenging, attainable goals.

And this year, while it had some serious challenges (our rescue dog endured a health crisis that rocked me and my husband to the core, and my mom is now officially with a form of dementia), I am definitely TEAM 2017.

Why?

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.

THE CHOPPING BOARD

Here is a little story about awareness, and yet another moment when I realized it was ok to let go of struggle, no matter how tiny or insignificant.

I was doing some cooking on Sunday and had to chop two onions. I took out my handcrafted Canadian-made chopping board and started chopping away. I was making one of my faves, a simple Harvest Vegetable Stew from a Chatelaine Quickies cookbook - just in case you are a foodie and care lol. 

I was almost through the process when it dawned on me.

I hate my chopping board.

Deflated but in the game

Last week, On Tuesday, October 24th, I did an FB live with the title Why I Believe Fortune Favours the Brave. It was intended to let people know exactly why that saying is so important to me, and why it is the inspiration for my business.

Well, about five minutes after the video was posted, I wanted to take it down. I was overcome with complete certainty that a) it sucked and b) I didn’t really say anything of value and c) what was the point of doing any of this? I mean, no one was even watching it live! And top it off, I had what Brené Brown calls a ‘vulnerability hangover’ - though I am not sure why as I really didn’t reveal that much about myself, contrary to my original intention of the video.

LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY

We hear many sayings or idioms over and over again, but ever had one of those moments when you hear one for the millionth time and they suddenly, you just get it? Like the words sink it to your pores and it resonates to your core?

That has happened to me twice in recent memory. In both cases, it almost felt like a cartoon lightning bolt striking my head, or the bop to the head like in those old V8 commercials.

Today I’m going to write about the time my friend Annie was trying to help me navigate a family situation I was wrapped up in. I was waist-deep in a scenario full of drama, stress and tough decisions.

When to rebrand

So you have a business.

And that business is doing okaaaay, but not really as awesome as you would like it to be. And - le sigh - every time you look at your website or business card you feel something just 'isn't right'.

Sooooo.... is it time for a rebrand?

Well, let's first define rebrand. A rebrand is creating an entirely new look for your business, with new messaging as well. This includes a new logo, graphics, website, photography, copy, and a fab new marketing strategy. It can be a Big. Effing. Deal.

Meanwhile, you can also do a refresh.

STUCK IN STORY TIME?

Nope, I am not talking about getting stuck into the Hunger Games trilogy for the second time (hey, I totally support that!). I am talking about those fun but oh-so-destructive stories we tell ourselves - and others - that keep us low and stuck.

A story can be something you think or say over and over such as:

I will just never be good at sales. It has been that way since I can remember. My aunt used to make me work in the stock room because I was always so terrible at closing the deal. I actually liked it there better in the back of the store anyway. It was so cozy and safe, and who wants to deal with people all day anyway??

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.

I SEE YOU

This is somewhat of a follow-up to my FB live "My thoughts on Toastmasters" (September 21).

We are back to regularly scheduled programming! Because I was competing in a Toastmasters Humourous Speech contest, I had to skip a week of blogging. It was an intense ten days of writing and rehearsing and practicing. It was also a lot of me freaking out with thoughts like, "Oh fuck. How the heck am I going to get through this? I think I need to barf. Why am I doing this? UGG. I need wine. No, I need some chocolate. No, just everyone leave me alone, ok?!!" Good thing I have a VERY patient husband.

I was super nervous, unable to efficiently focus on work, and I felt super ungrounded. I also had a doozy of a headache for two days before the competition. I think my brain was literally fed up with my speech - it had heard it on a continuous loop for too long! It no longer thought it was funny. Lol.

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.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT

I almost did it. I almost pulled a total fakeroo social media move. 

Luckily I caught myself in the act and shut that shit down.

This past Monday I was planning a post for #mavenmonday which is my version of #motivationmonday. I wanted something inspiring to set the tone for the week, and something that suggested courage as I believe that is the most crucial part of being an entrepreneur. For just a split second, I was going to share the image you see in this blog post - moi in the garden - with the caption "Monday. Let's do this'. 

THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS CARDS

Some people think business cards are dead. I could not disagree more.

We live n a world of high-tech digital platforms and supersonic hype, there is still one traditional piece of promotional material every entrepreneur must have:

The business card.

Humble and small, simple but mighty, the business card is here to stay. And you need to know how to make it work for you. Just because you can quickly design and order cards online, doesn’t mean the task should be taken lightly.