Saturday, January 25, 2014

Retain My Brain One-Stop Creative Brain Shopping

Thank you for stopping by - I do very much appreciate my readers.  :)

Here's your 'tip' for the day, week or year! .... a great new idea!  Created by ME!

Through my own entrepreneurial journey and years of corporate experience,  I have learned not only that great creative talent is hard to find but also that people don't pay attention to new things unless it's front and center exactly when they need it!  For that reason, I have birthed yet another new business!  I know, sounds like the definition of insanity... but this is where I really shine!   So consider ME...  YOUR .....FRONT AND CENTER' CREATIVE BUSINESS RESOURCE!  



www.retainmybrain.com is the place!
One-stop shopping for all things marketing leading to results and success! 

I can confidently tell you that I am ready-and-able to jump in head-first into all types of  projects!


Consulting with me is a highly confidential..... and an affordable way to add excitement to projects, get started on the right track, or problem solve!  A place to bounce off ideas.... create new (brilliant) ideas.... develop detailed strategy and most importantly really HELP those in need.   Being lost in the world of opinions can be a frightening place (and your interests are not always represented) and that's just the beginning!   I can be behind-the-scenes ...... your secret for success!  Or, front and center!

So keep my site handy.... I'm quick to respond and I promise top quality work.

SB

Friday, April 19, 2013

Kool-aid Rehab Top Ten Things to Think About (if you can pay attention)

Referring to tiny fleas from my previous post has made me think of attention spans today.  I know, sounds like a miracle....but I really did give this next post some thought.

Challenge yourself! Try to hang in here and learn something!

To begin, working with flea-like attention spans (or is it  a gnat?) was one of the most shocking revelations I discovered on this journey.  It honestly never occurred to me that people who were busy in real jobs could be so completely disengaged in tasks, written or spoken but it happens.  Looking back, I know (again) this revelation sounds like a really 'dumb blonde' comment .... concluding,  I probably spent waaay too many years isolated from adults vacuuming and yelling at kids prior to returning to the business world in early 2010.


..... but I do still remember the days when you could write (or receive) a note or leave a message (remember those cute pink message slips?) well, way-back-when ..... I would also see those 'notes' and feel a responsibility to my company to respond (after all, they were paying me to represent their company).....  It's something that used to be called 'professionalism'.

A response might look like a quick email, fax .... or even a real telephone conversation .... but likely because of THE dreaded REAL 'pink slips' the world today appears to be spinning in a new orbit and this is not how business rolls anymore.  

People working in our tattered economy,  are ground-down to-the-bone, loyalty is a thing-of-the past and sadly, communication is deleted as though it never existed.  It's pure urban survival clusters!  No one really cares about 'action' (unless it involves $ for them).  Even if you now 'copy' a  boss or fellow colleagues ... they will also ignore you!
That my friend(s), is a reality and wide-eyed Entrepreneurs with a fresh 'dream' will be unable to understand this or even distinguish the thought.  Thinking the world is not like this, the innocent will be 'creamed' like a bare leg on a gravel driveway. 

It will begin with a burped ahhh! from a tall cool pitcher of Kool-Aid -- the 'newly excited' (like I was) are ready to create  something and start selling it.... IMMEDIATELY....


Their unharnessed energy could actually fuel a nuclear power plant but that's another story.  

Here  is the sequence;








#1. With the first 'spark'....also known as 'Plan A'..... a new Entrepreneur will begin by spending hard-earned cash in development of their new product, service or idea.  As if that isn't bad enough, time-spent is in another category TIME- devoted can be staggering because their brains will never turn off as they connect with people on this 'plan' - and many times (because you won't  have bags of money to deliver to them 'yet') the people they're connecting with are not very engaged or paying attention in the least.  It's a hard sell.... but the determination is palatable.  Products and support materials are developed anyway.....and it's very difficult to stop this process until you are charred beyond recognition.

#2. A new Entrepreneur will also 'think' that because of the Internet, 'social media' is readily available  (and 'free') -  and that this new product or service will catch-on like a newly lit firecracker propelling their unique business idea into stratospheric heights.  They will not connect the fact that like everything today, the web is also filled with flea-like attention spans and nothing is getting  promoted, shared or reviewed....and if it is, no one is reading anything.


#3. Because there are so many endless tentacles to 'The Great and Powerful Internet' it may be viewed as a fluid stream of consumer 'voices' with new ways to reach people.  'Interest'  in this channel of communication may even be the center of some plans.

The idea to spawn interest and get people 'talking'  through 'free product samples' given out like candy-mints, might even make perfect sense.   The idea will begin the 'smouldering' preview before 'it' lights and takes off.  A new Entrepreneur will be happy to comply- recipients will be thrilled to ask for more samples!

#4. Selling and Distribution 101;  A new Entrepreneur should have 'boots-on-the-ground' at some level to sell in any volume..... if not, just use the boots to kick their ass - cuz they aren't going anywhere otherwise. You need a clear distribution path and the internet is not the single answer!  To paraphrase a wise person from a prior post 'You can have a crappy product with distribution and you'll be OK... but a great product without distribution will be going nowhere fast.'   Distribution really is everything when selling something. (period)

#5.  'Plan B'....In the category of 'distribution' and a 'voice' for educating and telling the world about your brand through 'Shopping Shows';  hmm? sounds perfect .... A new Entrepreneur should learn upfront that shopping show buyers are next-to-impossible to reach (they can put a flea to shame!)  and note that every laid-off employee from those entities is now 'working there' but as an independent  'rep' with their hands out for a big % to make an introduction to a buyer for you.  It also should be noted if your brand is Made in the USA you are already at a disadvantage for pricing.  That's a fact.

In Kool-Aid Rehab....the bell-curve has peaked  (to bring you more challenges)......  and the sound of big business will begin to ring flat as you 'get real'.....



#6.  After a splashy website launch the term going 'live' will have a new meaning too.  A new Entrepreneur will quickly be on to 'Plan C';  Elevated Public Relations - (err, I mean Mountain Climbing without working legs) think here;... editorial PR mentions with flea attention-spans. (not a good combination)

#7.  A new Entrepreneur will also be developing distribution strategies in the way of possible Retail stores.  I know (again), they are physically disappearing ... but some still think it is a lucrative business stream.  To note: The fantasy that Retailers 'will come-calling' is another fallacy.... be aware too, that even when you are waving and standing on a buyers desk for an order, you are not guaranteed anything - especially in our fried economy.  In today's times, it is high-effort, very low minimums and stocking fees.   Also lots of bitching if you start selling directly from your website - wholesale accounts don't like that.

#8. In 'Plan C'...a new Entrepreneur just may be skilled enough to break-through the clutter and competition for precious National-level publicity. (Becomes more of a miracle with each day!)   The result, people are not  always happy about your new exposure and will begin to think of ways to sabotage your business for their own advancement.    It's what I call the 'Dr. Oz wanna bee's) using your platform and hard-earned communication channel to tell everyone how alert they are after knit-picking your site/brand/product or service like feisty crows on fresh road-kill. It's the unfortunate collateral damage to this effort.

#9. For messaging and claims;  If you are a big established company making product statements about your brand which are connected to an impressive network media buy (and a team of lawyers) you'll be just fine....even if the cheerful disclaimer says when taken;  'may result in sudden death'.    Another one, which just 'kills' me is Christian Mingle for 'singles' to find the match that 'God intended for you'  (really?!) that's quite a claim.

But for the weary Entrepreneur selling an un-ingestible harmless product which has never seen commercial airways you may be at significant risk ..... It may begin with an unsolicited comment from a very satisfied customers in their own '1st amendment voice' .... which will then be questioned and face unimaginable scrutiny. Warning;  The bored 'Dr. Oz Wanna Bees' are on patrol to give unsanctioned 'Tattle Offices' something to do.  Everyone embraces the drama ..... all in the spirit of looking like they are busy and on surveillance to 'protect' consumers.  Oh, what would we do without 'them'...?


 #10.  For setbacks like communication product statements;  make sure you don't go out on a limb here because it will cost you in the way of money and time.  The more successful you become the higher the risk.   It really is an eye-opener!  But that's business today.... be careful regarding all which is said.... because the 'crazies' (everyone looking for high-profile notoriety) will come-a-calling and make this process harder than it already is.

xo
'SARAH'

koolaidrehab1@gmail.com






Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sorry for the Kool-aid Rehab 'fleas' ( err, I mean advertising! )



Aren't we all trying to do our best?   As writer of this blog I thought I would make 'sharing' easier so 'loading in' a handy gadget which appeared to look like a tool to fulfill that goal made sense to me.   I should have known though, that my favorite mantra would surface 'No good deed goes unpunished' ...... Cuz that's what happened.
Thanks to a very alert reader who kindly informed me that my precious blog-words were littered with advertising and pop up sh&# ....  so I have now fixed the problem.
I was horrified to learn of this mess, so I apologize to all who were inconvenienced and I thank Jim ...
Another teachable moment !  You just have to watch all aspects - especially 'free'  things .... I have now learned the 'catch' to that idea ..... but to be honest, I'm tired of cleaning up messes ..... and learning new things which shouldn't have to be learned in the first place!
'Sarah'

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

TWO! Not So Fun Life-Lessons (for everyone)

If you are scraped and bruised from a hard journey as an entrepreneur, there really aren't a lot of heart-warming things to say from the experience except when you do boil it down, there are two very important facts that will remain with you;  (one is a good thing... hidden in the rubble of your life).




Kool-Aid Rehab....#1. FACT; You will learn a tremendous amount of new things ... especially if you have wasted a lot of hard-earned money and valuable time.  These 'lessons' really are the best type-in-life-to-learn... just horrible when you are going through it .... but lasting in the way of gained wise knowledge - to never go there again!  You will also be amazed by how smart you will be when you're helping others ....

 .....and that, I might add, is exactly what you should be doing whenever possible....  (period)!

-and-

Kool-Aid Rehab....#2. FACT; The MOST brutal lesson of all... you will discover (even at an older age) just exactly who your true friends are.  It can be shocking too!  When you think you know someone well....find yourself having a hell-of-a-time-in-life, and you will see the true colors of someone's character even through the blaze of a fire!

Yes, I know people are busy and you're too sensitive, stressed out and exhausted....and you're probably not 'front & center' to them because you are busy working all the time to fix the problem... bla, bla, bla... I'm not going to make any excuses.



The surprise comes when people previously engaged in your life, (when things are just spiffy)  to very quickly disappear out of your life and the idea of even inquiring about 'how-things-are-going' becomes a smell-of -stress to them which they prefer to not sniff.    It's really sad.. when you experience 'good-bye and good luck' (or I'll see you again when you are back to 'spiffy') ....  Entrepreneurial life or a sudden job loss to some people, is like a cancer-odor which this variety of 'friend' concludes to be contagious and could possibly bring them down.... (not that you're going there either!)

 .... even a whiff of this stuff will get people running!  The irony is ....you're not looking for sympathy (to drag them down) ....just a little normal emotional support and the idea that you have not lost your value to the friendship .... but these days, that is just too much to ask.   That message really is the headline here, and it's hard to be prepared for what comes with that, it's a very lonely isolated feeling (like you're not already feeling bad enough from the stress of  your situation).



ok, so here is the 'good' in all that....

.... just like when you are in a tough job search there will be wonderful compassionate people who will appear in your life (fortunately)  -   they will help you in ways you dream of and they quickly become first on your A- list!  (as in Angel :)   It's usually a person who
has lived through a very unpleasant phase of life and they know how it feels - and have learned from that lesson.  The emotional support becomes invaluable to you and it will never be forgotten.  Sometimes they even help you with your business  or  job search and to side-bar this message;  thank you to my support group - you know who you are!

As the old saying goes....KARMA IS A BITCH (it really is) and with that 'lesson' I would suggest checking in with people in your circle of friends and do your best to lend a helping hand ... many in this rotten economy are experiencing unimaginable horrendous times at all sorts of levels. Few have not been touched by the financial and real estate repercussions of today.  It still continues to be a difficult 'recovery'. 

As another way of helping and for those who need to be told; ... view 'Networking' (for whatever reason) not as a silly cliché, but as a very important 'tool' not to be ignored or taken for granted because..... you could very quickly find yourself on the other side too.   Beyond networking... just being a good friend, a compassionate ear is also equally important and you know it's the right thing to do.  (that's the Mother in me speaking!)  It doesn't take much time to show a little concern.

I wish this post had a more humorous side, but this is Kool-aid Rehab....the unvarnished truth from this experience  ......    and  to note, sometimes it really sucks.
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An Informercial Life ....You're 'In'... No Way Out!

Reissued and updated today....  

Happy to see The New York Times agrees with an interesting article on this subject too! 
"Sponsors Now Pay for Online Articles, Not Just Ads" by Tanzina Vega (4/8/13) 

From #7). 12-step relief detailed in 'Welcome to'....public relations / advertising shift -in- REAL content for magazines and programming  has occurred in places you would never imagine ... slowly..... and sometimes not so blatant - but most are right under your nose. 

For me, an "spirit,  this was also another hard concept to fathom........funny too, discovering at a time when the new 'buzz' word 'transparency' has become a trendy term thanks to unethical practices of our elected officials.


This thought hasn't been fully revealed (I wish, though, I had known) it's when a small business with a unique brand (as in a small  entrepreneurial business) decides to connect with a printed magazine (as one example).  Yes, I know..... there still are a few of them left! 
Anyway, this is what communication looks like today in publishing;

1).  Find unique publication with an audience which matches to your customer or  ... if you're really smart you will get waaay ahead of the schedule by resourcefully looking up their official  'editorial schedule' for the upcoming year (it's usually hidden - but you'll find it!) ..... there just might be a theme planned that absolutely matches to what you are selling - and your contribution would add something worthwhile to the section so it's worth the trouble.

2). Identify that 'theme' with plenty of lead time to subtly work 'in' your product or service.  (after all, they are not going to blatantly promote for you and frankly that was never an expectation)  

It's nice when you have an item which compliments what they are doing in the magazine editorial.

3). Then, research editors who make the most sense for your brand or service in this context.

4). Begin writing to that editor to get on their radar and hope that your concise note will be forwarded on to someone who cares. (or better yet, the freelancer who may be assigned to this topic)

5). You will then begin the arduous task of follow-up and more follow-up.  First 'emails' and more emails (short, sweet and nice) then unanswered phone messages.  It's quite a process!    After months of this you will then write out of frustration to the 'Editor-in-Chief' (Big Editor) to expose the difficulty you are having in breaking through to the Editor you need to reach (in a nice way)....

6).  'Big Editor' will likely become irritated that they have read a note which requires follow- up and (knowing now that the consumer is in charge with the web they don't want you to write
anything bad about them personally) .... they sometimes will write you back -  but usually not without a trail of effort on your part.

7).  The recommendation from 'Big Editor' will be to speak to the 'lead' very special Editor-of-record (the one you have been trying to reach) - that person may even promptly call you -- and kindly offer to 'test' your product.  (oh, WOW 'please'.....and 'thank you' is your response w/ excitement as you happily package and express ship)


8).  After 'testing' (err, I mean 'gifting them) you will hear nothing .... and more nothing, follow up again..... to then find because you are a persistent squeaky wheel- (in a nice way) that you are being relegated to their website for a mini-paragraph which will have ZERO impact on your business.   Not even a mini blip in your back-end monitored traffic.  Code here: 'Go away!...see .... we helped you! You're done.... here's your bone...woof! woof!  and oh, have a nice day!


IMPORTANT note:  and here is something juicy you should know....the unspoken - behind-the-curtain stuff........

"We are not communicating OR mentioning your product OR service in our magazine (no matter how unique, different and special it is) UNLESS YOU PURCHASE AN Advertisement in our PUBLICATION. (PERIOD)" - THIS I might add .... ALSO INCLUDES FRIENDLY 'GIFT GUIDES' TOO! ---  yup, that's the God's truth.  But (sigh)  they really can't publicly 'say' that because they are national journalists and the idea that product placement and advertising fees are blending in the context of these pages is kinda smelly.


Back in the old days - which is where I proudly learned .....there was a clear division of what we called 'church and state'....as in advertising vs. new content (PR) in stories which is never 'purchased'
.... in the simplest of terms; that's called 'c-r-e-d-i-b-i-l-i-t-y'.  and places who 'sell' the space for $ immediately sacrifice credibility.

It used to be 'advertising' departments in one building and  'editorial content' in another building --- now thanks to our rotten economy and the hideous nature of publishing today, they've become the same thing! (wink, wink)  :)

It's also now in other places too;

Unbeknownst to me, I was recently a guest on a radio show which I presumed was a legitimate program.  Turns out, 'they' (the very talkative hosts) - I later learned,  are purchasing air time to promote their books & seminars on this particular AM radio station.  As a guest, I was adding to their 'rich content' ....but make no mistake.... the
reason for this programming smells like an infomercial (only on radio).... I was at first surprised by this revelation...but then again,  to reiterate from a previous post.....things are never as they seem In this business, it's the 'fun' house (EVERYDAY!)  :) 







Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kool-aid Rehab For Start-Ups Is Sometimes a 'Start-Down' for Communication

The reason for this blog is to educate 'bright-eyed' Entrepreneurs on business today and to help  'expose' or at least communicate warning signs when you are before an 'Expert'(the term 'Expert' can mean lots of things...and has sadly been waaay overused and you must be careful! . Beyond that, within these postings are real 'tips and tricks' which will give aid to the glass-shards you may walk on which litter this path.  

So put on your boots and take off your rose-colored glasses and get ready for the unvarnished truth!  It's time to get real.

Today's message is about communication. As in connecting with people who may be helpful to you in moving your business forward. 

To start,  for new readers, it will be helpful to begin with ...'Kool-aid Rehab Welcome to...' - it's important to know why becoming an Entrepreneur  is such a popular direction people are taking today. 

As a stand-alone term, being an 'Entrepreneur' even sounds like 'fun' and kind of melodic... creating your own-destiny, managing your own time - hmm?..... all I can say is BEWARE because you will be standing alone at times screeching sour notes as you pick glass out of your feet. (and those are  the pieces which have pierced through your boots! :) It is a hard route to take - and there are very few shortcuts.

#1. Frustration
After making my own path on this journey for the past 3 years - as a full-on start-up Entrepreneur - (barely coming up for air) -  I have found the  single most frustrating #1. eye-opener is lack of access to people you need to reachI'm now convinced...It's actually worse than connecting with someone at the Pentagon.  Everyone is in survival-mode for their own jobs and it's a wild time in business.

For the inexperienced, there is an allure with the Internet where it's easy to not only quickly identify the person you need....but you will probably have an immediate fantasy that this person (s)  will respond-back and even better, actually  'help' you.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  The greater the expectation the harder you will fall!  This is not a joke.

In + 98% of all cases, this is what communication today looks like; .... 

Through the genius of Linked in as just one resource...you can usually find new people - those that may be able to help you in one-way-or another .... you may even have a 2nd generation connection (who you know)  who can make an introduction.  This person might even leave a voice-mail message on your behalf  (their happy pictures may also be alluring).... you may even have (although brief) an actual phone conversation with the target person... that person, will likely then ask you to send something to advance the cause (of what you are trying to do) - which you will gladly and swiftly comply ... AND  usually that is where this effort stops. (period).   it's most unfortunate when you have created a personal detailed proposal or sent an expensive product sample.   

You will next professionally follow-up (as you should) in a timely manner..... Communication will start with polite emails, then phone messages (always indicating a benefit to them with unique ideas) to continue with .... (on the 8th message)... with a concerned parent voice.... are you 'OK' 'I was worried something might be wrong! (after leaving messages for 3 straight weeks).   This effort will then lead to months and then years.  Hopefully they haven't died or been permanently maimed


Here's the unvarnished truth... just like hitting the delete button on emails .... the delete button is activated on VM too! It's the DAILY DOUBLE!  There is no real malice intended....but  After time, the unspoken message (from the person) 'is please go away'.... I have no need for you..... nor do I have time to even have a quick conversation about my lack of interest!   It's just easier to ignore you ...!   For people on the receiving end of this..... It's really about as pathetic as it can get. Most people have a cell phone attached to their ear or a smart phone to write quick replies...... is it really that hard to respond?


I do understand the term, busy (like no-other) but come on!   This idea is not rocket science... it's basic manners. You can only hope that this is happening to them on things which they need.  Then again, to be honest, this sh** needs to STOP!!  No one likes to be blatantly ignored for any reason.

If you agree...please join Kool-aid Rehab on Facebook... (a give-away is coming for 'likers' :)   we've earned  it, right?

Have a great week!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Secret Revealed - The New 'Fun-House' for Business


Today’s thoughts have been spurred by the spectacle of seeing old clergy creeping along in their colorful regalia for their conclave of voting for the next pope.  I think the whole thing is crazy -  It makes smoke come out of my ears.  It’s as though they don’t even trust themselves…. security is tight …..everything is an ultra secret – well, that’s one thing they have mastered with years of experience.  
 
Transparency today to know what is really going on is a tricky proposition.  As parishioners and business people alike know, it's a frightening world to know who to trust (besides yourself).   

In business, beautiful websites can appear to be sharp and very professional with hi-res pictures with dazzling animation and slick messages. These websites can also link to fancy talkers who can frame themselves in a backdrop that would make millionaire pastor, Joel Osteen proud.  Their ‘gift’ of gab is also impressive- enticing, magnetizing and designed specifically to capture you with the spoken word (and your email)  for ‘helping’ you move your business forward.  But, beware....
  

Not unlike a distorted mirror,  it has a false sense of engagement.  I am always amazed at the ‘personal’ emails I receive that follow.  Some grab me with a friendly Hey instead of the boring ‘Dear’…. and it also will mention my name in the text.  At first, I really thought I was  something special.  

So the lesson here is rooted in many things (thanks to high-quality stock photos, and progressive email platforms like Constant Contact) in many cases, they really are not what they appear to be.   

'Personal attention' is a coupling of words that have lost their meaning.  Lots of places ‘love’ to hear from you with comments or web videos which encourage engagement – but in most cases, they have so many ‘special friends' it’s not humanly possible to attend to all of them and your comment or question will go into Santa’s mail bag.  Sorry to burst your bubble.

The big divider though, is finding the talent within any type of organization.  It really is a secret to find them….and you will need to do your homework or rely on a trusted source to uncover that person(s).   If you’re like me, it’s the brains that count…. Gender, age really make no difference.   I'm all about an energy to make -things-happen in an efficient - high reward way. (period)

One way to qualify a person is their true experience. Not exaggerated pretend stuff.   Platforms like Linkedin may also be useful – the new way to ‘endorse’ someone is a simple way to see how someone ‘scales'  in a given area of expertise. There will eventually be a pattern to a unique area you may need.

Beyond that suggestion, and for those with communication with customers (B2C or B2B) ... your customers are your most valuable possession and they should be handled with great care.  It's easy today to be a shining star because expectations for service are at an all time lowIf you promptly answer a phone call or an email it is astonishing to the recipient.     
     
If you need to retain someone with unique expertise such as a creative jolt..... Kool-aid drinkers in particular, need to do their homeworkNetwork through people you trust to find other views of what you are looking for.  This will be a good use of your time -or- connect with me for the unvarnished truth.  :)  I hate being ripped off and that is the absolute reason for this blog.  

About Me- I'm everywhere!

My Photo
anywhere and everywhere, USA, United States
I'm a sassy, very distracted older mom...with lots of wild stories (and rants) about my family and life...Daughter 18, sassy, unpredictable, violin playing, animal enthusiast...Son, 15 video addict, Chess playing-star / trombone player...husband (old, tired, chronically stressed and impatient, but a good sport nonetheless) The underbelly of life for me; I’m a bright eyed ‘entrepreneur’ – just now completing Kool-aid Rehab a frightening 12 step process to figure out what I am doing with my life. On the home front, we have a gang of animals that keep the place lively too! 'Emma', dirty ungroomed Sheepdog, 'Lollipop' a smart Border Collie/Chow Chow also referred to as 'Daddy's Little Fatty', 2 cats; one eyed 'Winky' and emotionally disturbed 'Babycakes' (it's complicated,) 1 bird 'Tutu' a laundry room accessory that blends with the color of my outrageous laundry room and finally, 'bugsy' our big-eyed fish!