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He said so, as quoted in the New York Times, when recently interviewed by Oprah at a benefit event held at Lincoln Center last week.
Why do I love reading those words? It makes me feel connected to greatness. It makes me feel normal for having the same feelings. It makes the whole world of entrepreneurship a little bit cozier having the elite stars own up to the fearsomeness of the process we indulge in every day.
Anyone else out there feeling scared today? You are not alone. Ralph Lauren feels that way too.
In my own business and the businesses of my colleagues, and what I see in the world at large, we must keep trying out different offerings and seeing what works.
We’re throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Boiling that water. Dropping in the pasta. Tossing it at the wall. Noticing what happens, then rinsing and repeating. This is the new normal.
When money was more plentiful, there were resources to try everything. But now, everyone is more conservative, so businesses are out there looking for the sweet spot for their audience.
Groupon is an example. A woman in the business-building course I took last spring offered her services at a fraction of their cost using that method. She got dozens of takers to try out her feng shui talents. Whether or not they ‘stuck’ as real clients at full fee was yet to be seen.
My son told me that Bonobos, a retail clothing site he loves, offers deals on twitter for limited time periods.
My sponsors for last week’s lunch talk experimented in their contract with me so that the risk was divided up amongst all of us. It paid off, and we all walked away satisfied. This is an era of experimentation, re-creation and re-defining success.
I’m still offering 1:1 coaching, Mastermind Groups, my Remarkable Women’s Network events and speaking engagements. Using the metaphor of the slot machine, these are coming up with two dollar signs and a cherry. The results of my first webinar offer created the ding-ding-ding jackpot I’d been striving for. I’ll continue to have the other pieces of my business model, but my attention will be on expanding the webinar classes in the near future.
I’m beyond excited about presenting my free webinar tonight. Those of you who’ve been following this journey–I started taking classes on how to do this whole thing back in July–have heard me whining, listened to my starts and stops and are now witnessing my transformation from student to teacher. It’s been a long haul, and I’m thrilled to have arrived at delivery at last.
Delivery is a great metaphor because this has been like a pregnancy and labor up until now. I just rehearsed one more time in preparation for tonight’s debut. I’m feeling ecstatic. That’s the natural bi-product of hard work and accomplishment, no drugs or sweets required. Just a deep feeling of satisfaction and seeing all the pieces fitting together.
I’ve got well over 150 people signed up and anticipate at least 1/2 of those people being on the call. I love my offering and the value it will bring to anyone who invests the time and attention. I’m not bragging, just wanting to show you my beautiful baby.
Also, this is the beginning of a whole new family of offers for me in my business. Can I show you the pictures?!
The weather couldn’t have been better for touring New Haven on Saturday for their 14th Annual City-Wide Open Studios event. I saw great art, met really terrific people and got into the spirit of navigating that city to explore artists’ studios.
One of my favorite stops was the studio of Thuan Vu. This is a painting of him and his brother as young immigrants from Viet Nam.
He took quite a bit of time to talk to me. He teaches painting and drawing at Southern Connecticut State University. His card said Associate Professor, but the
Associate had been crossed out with an inked slash mark, and there was an exclamation point at the end. He’d just attained Professor status this week.
I also spent a good deal of time at the ultra-cool home/studio of Susan McCaslin and her husband George Corsillo. She’s actually the reason I knew about the event. I’d spoken for the New Haven Arts Council in September, had met Susan and heard about her involvement and enthusiasm for this weekend. It didn’t disappoint. Her personal and moving drawings covered the walls of their home, and George’s Kee-Aw-Kee product prototypes filled a large table-top with inviting satchels, t-shirts and other items I wanted to touch and ogle.
On Sunday I joined an audience at Westport Town Hall honoring talented men and women at the 18th Celebration of the Westport Arts Awards. My friend and Artsy Girls colleague Naiad Einsel was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for Art, her specialty being illustration.
The program was exceptionally well done with entertainment by Suzuki students as well as award recipients. Speeches were kept brief, the honorees were introduced with enough description and powerpoint visuals to inform, and the love and admiration in the auditorium was palpable.
My biggest take-aways from the awards ceremony:
Miggs Burroughs has contributed enormous amounts of time and talent to making Westport the graphically cool town that it is. He laughingly said, during his acceptance speech, “I thought that pro bono was Latin for ‘boatloads of money.’ When asked “What’s next?” said the man who has clearly given more than his fair share, he quipped, “An unlisted phone number!”
Hans Wilhelm, who has 40+ million books in print was honored in the Literature category. He, too, had something truly memorable to add. He talked about how sad he was when the Westport Arts Center had to leave its location on Morningside Drive. The elementary school it had inhabited for years was being re-purposed for its original intent as the student population escalated, forcing Wilhelm to find a new studio. Turns out, he found just the right space in Weston, fell in love with the landlady and was celebrating his 13th anniversary that day. “It wouldn’t have happened if the Arts Center had stayed where it was.”
I’m thoroughly enjoying the biography of Wendy Wasserstein written by Julie Salamon. I’ve always felt a special connection because we were in the same Theatre 145 class at Mount Holyoke College in 1967. Also, we shared a mutual friend in Aimee Garn who is quoted throughout the book.
I’m just halfway through the 460+ page volume but had to immediately blog about the paragraph I just read.
Unlike many artists, who claim they don’t read their reviews, Wendy studied the criticism of Isn’t It Romantic–so much so that every time she sat down to write, she heard Walter Kerr say, “You aren’t really a playwright.” Finally Chris Durang told her, “You have to open the window, push Walter Kerr out, and close the window.”
In coaching I tell my clients to invite their gremlins to sweep up the room next door, leave the premises or in some other way occupy themselves so that you can do the work you were put on this earth to do.
I’m reminded of a quote I heard years ago from a member of the Clinton administration:
The higher up the mountain you go, the harder the wind blows.
Wendy heard Walter Kerr’s voice. We underlings may hear our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers or a high school social studies teacher who once said to me, “You’re not Mount Holyoke material.” Hah!
I was just talking to my webinar accountability partner, Sandy Weiner, on our check-in call. It’s been a gift to have someone there witnessing my progress as well as reporting her own. I’m inspired by her initiatives, and vice versa.
As we were scheduling our next call, she looked at her calendar and said, “Oh, I have my Profits class that morning at 8:30am. Can we make our call at 7:30am?”
“Profits Class! That sounds like something I’d like to know more about,” I commented, ever the entrepreneur.
“It’s P-R-O-P-H-E-T-S,” Sandy elaborated. She practices Modern Orthodox Judaism and is as excited about learning more about her religion as she is in growing her business. I find that Sandy’s deeply personal and committed perspective adds enormously to her sensitivity and skill. That’s why I love working with her as much as I do.
There was a sign posted in the lobby of my building this summer advertising “Yoga by the Pool at 8:30am Saturday mornings.” I took note of it and thought, “I’d like to go, but I have a standing activity at that time on Saturday mornings.” Two weeks later, I passed the sign again. Now it read “Yoga by the Pool – 10:00am Saturday mornings.” I still couldn’t attend, but smiled at the persistence this yoga instructor was demonstrating. S/he’s a smart marketer. She tested her offering, and when it didn’t produce the results she was looking for, re-tested. In other words, she didn’t give up.
I don’t have to tell you that it’s tough out there. I, too, am putting out offers, then tweaking to see what will work best for my clientele. Today I’m starting a new Mastermind Group with more flexible scheduling for participants than in the past. Now, participants can opt in to eight sessions that work for their calendars, not a pre-determined six dates posted at exactly the same time and day of the week. In today’s lifestyle, it’s a challenge for people to commit their time in that way.
On Wednesday, October 26 I’m giving my first webinar. It’s complimentary (click this link to receive the details) and will introduce my first ever webinar series starting in November. It’s called The Soul Proprietor’s Formula for Growing (or Starting) Your Business. The free webinar will not be recorded, but each weekly session of the full program will be so you can download it and listen at your leisure.
This webinar came out of the goal-setting process and great persistence. I used every tool in my toolkit to get this up and running. There are many moving parts, and I’m especially grateful to my accountability partner, Sandy Weiner, who helped me out on the persistence part of this. I’m thrilled with the program, but definitely wanted to quit along the way. Who doesn’t?!
Erica Tannen, of the e-list – An Excruciatingly Opinionated Guide to the Connecticut Shoreline (boy, does that tag line tell you what it does!), and I had a brainstorming, goal-setting lunch in New Haven back in February. We determined we’d like to pool our resources for an event which is now scheduled for Monday, October 24th at the Saybrook Inn. Talk about persistence! We’ve been exchanging emails, looking at venues (well, Erica has anyway), and coming up with a topic and a format that would be inviting. We nailed it!
Please join me at noon on the 24th for lunch and a talk. Click this link for details. We’re already near capacity, so are thrilled that this clicked for our target market. I hope you can come.
It’s all about trial and error, goal-setting and persistence. I often quote Rosabeth Moss Kanter who says:
My personal law of management, if not life, is that everything looks like a disaster in the middle.
The winners are those who never give up. What do you need to get back in the ring for today?
I use mailchimp.com for my online marketing campaigns. I used to use Constant Contact, but on the advice of my virtual assistant, mailchimp has more capabilities, so I switched. I was looking around on it today at some recent activity and saw this message along with a list of people who had unsubscribed:
Nuts, you had a few people jump ship. Ah, who needs them anyway?
They’re encouraging when new people sign up for my information:
Nice! Guess people like what you’re saying.
I know it’s an inanimate object, but positive reinforcement helps, whatever the source.
“Oh, hello Oprah. Yes, can I call you back? I’m in the middle of my Come As You’ll Be event.”
I explained to the assembled superstars at my networking event that now, in the year 2016, I have limited my coaching practice to the most successful women entrepreneurs in the country–Oprah, Michelle Obama (now operating her global organic gardening business), and Lady Gaga who wanted a Mastermind Group to support her in her continuing meteoric rise to the top–to name a few. Oops, I shouldn’t be breaking their anonymity…
The event that took place at Denise DiGrigoli’s Troy Fine Art was a blast into the future. As each woman business owner walked into 2016, the paparazzi flashed her picture, and she was welcomed into that year. As we went around the room and introduced ourselves, the smiles got broader. I asked the prominent lawyer in attendance to not be so shy about her cover article for Time magazine, or that our retreat leader at least tell us a tidbit about her event with the Dalai Lama.
We broke up into smaller, more intimate groups to bring the evening to a more meaningful level of conversation. I asked the women to talk about what steps they had taken to achieve their great success, what advice they would give their younger selves (say, in the year 2011) and what was the most important thing they learned on the journey. The responses were uplifting, informative, and in one particular case hysterically funny. I wish you could’ve been there.
Sandy Sergeant, owner of CT Caring Solutions, has been leading mission trips to third world countries for many years. At my Come As You’ll Be evening, we celebrated Sandy’s Nobel Prize win. You can see her response. She summed up the night in a beautiful testimonial she’s allowing me to share:
I would like to thank you for that innovative meeting on Wednesday, both Sandra and I enjoyed it immensely, it was like actually living out your dream, in a moment of time. How fascinating, It made everything so real, and breaking up in the small groups was even more effective. Being there was truly a blessing. Looking, forward to participating in your upcoming mastermind group.
The musicians on the #1 train were all business. Four well-dressed gentlemen, each with his own instrument, stood in my car near the closing doors. They waited politely until everyone found a seat at the 50th Street Station. They played one very lively and tuneful song that lasted exactly as long as the ride to 59th Street.
And then, with respect and a smile, the guitarist doffed his hat and held it out for contributions.
- These guys knew their market.
- Their timing was measured and precise.
- They were dressed for the occasion.
- They performed flawlessly.
- They followed it up with a call to action–the passed hat for contributions.
- They exited at 66th Street, presumably for the next opportunity (and, perhaps, before any law enforcement officials might get wind of their activity).
I didn’t see how much was collected, but my hunch was that for 5 minutes worth of effort, they did pretty well.