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While on the phone with a client I heard a familiar lament–How do I express what I do in my 30-second commercial?
No wonder it’s so hard to capture that moment of your audience’s attention. I’m a coach, speaker and author, and here’s what I did yesterday:
- Coached clients
- Packed for a speaking engagement
- Wrote 2 thank you notes
- Submitted a report to an association I volunteer for
- Invoiced a client
- Ordered a tablecloth for an upcoming trade show
- Made an appointment for a massage (self-care is a big part of my life)
- Debriefed my Community call
- Watched a relevant youtube video
- Listened to a podcast by Seth Godin
- Had a planning session with my marketing consultant
- Met with my advisory board
- Shared meals with close friends
- Meditated (2x)
- Walked several miles
I’m certain that your day was equally diverse, yet networking functions require you to capsulize who you are in a half-minute. I suggested to my client that WHO she is speaks louder than WHAT she says. It may be easy to state, “I’m a lawyer or a consultant” but most of us simply make up what that means anyway based on historic knowledge of others who call themselves by a similar label.
Does anyone have a good solution to this common issue? I’d love to know and will be happy to share it with every entrepreneur I know.
Reading in the Times today about the designer of Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown made me want to pose this question to my entrepreneurial colleagues and clients:
But dressing a first lady for the inauguration is a momentous occasion, and many designers have not been able to handle its weight. For every de la Renta, there has been a Michael Faircloth (Laura Bush’s first), and for every Scaasi a Sarah Phillips (Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first).
Not even Mrs. Obama’s support guarantees success, as illustrated by Maria Pinto of Chicago, a hometown favorite who went out of business in 2010 despite the first lady’s patronage.
Though Mr. Wu was just 26 when he was selected the first time, he already had an established relationship with retailers, a production infrastructure and the good sense to get himself on all of the morning talk shows the next day (as he did again Tuesday, now a seasoned pro at age 30).
When I give a talk on creating a million dollar presence, I administer a quick media readiness quiz. It’s an opportunity to check in with my audience to see if, in fact, they are prepared to handle the onslaught of attention and sales they’ve been dreaming about. Are their ducks in a row?
Of course, you want to do everything you can to get the attention of the press. Designing the inaugural ball gown is a hands down winning formula, but for the rest of us, there are tried and true elements: having great marketing materials including a logo and web presence, networking, speaking and creating a platform would be top among them.
Of equal importance is having the goods to deliver once the press opportunities and resulting demands begin to flow your way.
How successful do you really want to be, and are you positioning yourself now for that recognition and traffic?
I’ve been down many rabbit holes in my business, but yesterday, before meeting someone at the NY Public Library, I spotted this fellow sitting near the steps of the building and thought, “Wow! That’s something I’ve never tried. That takes guts.”
Or something else. You fill in the blank.
Here was this man, an author, who’d shlepped his own table, chair and signage to sit front and center in the Big Apple with his wares. I was intrigued enough to have a conversation and learn more about him, where he came from and how this promotion was working. I asked if I might take his photo and blog about him. He happily agreed.
I was going to link this to his site, but after visiting it, I didn’t find it professional enough to recommend. I was hoping that he’d be a hidden treasure that I might help promote. But, alas, he still has much to learn. The website was amateurish, confusing and did not make me want to buy his book.
I admired his courage: to sit there with his product and avail himself of one of the most trafficked areas in the world. This is not something everyone would or should try. I give him credit for going to any lengths. Whether or not he sells many books is less important than the feedback he gets from the masses walking by. There’s always information to be gleaned when you put yourself out there. New Yorkers are known for their candor. I hope he got helpful ideas in the process.
I’m grateful to my friend and goal buddy, Sandy Weiner, for mentioning during our call today that you can now search the web using an image. Because of her telling me this, I chose to not feature this man’s face, just in case he’s surfing the web for his likeness and anything being written about him.
You never know…
Words can’t even begin to describe the sensational Artsy Girls event I attended at the home of Liz Alpert Fay and co-hosted by Victoria Cummings. This dynamic duo met at a previous Artsy Girls dinner and discovered a mutual admiration that developed into a stunning video project produced by Victoria featuring Liz’s creativity.
The two of them joined forces again to welcome our group for dinner on Monday night. It began with a tour of Liz’s gardens and home. Every touch was so personal with Liz’s fingerprint everywhere, from the perfectly grown string beans served as appetizers, to the amazing chicken coop and picture-perfect hens marching around. She cares for everything in her domain with an eye for detail and a heart filled with appreciation.
We saw their pristine basement which houses her husband’s woodworking shop, plus her grown kids’ rooms that were galleries of youthful exuberance and talent.
Dinner was 90% from the garden we had toured, and everything was colorful, beautifully textured and inviting to the stomach as well as the eye.
After our usual self-intros that include a brag–this is an extraordinarily successful group of creators–Liz and Victoria shared the stage and showed slides and the video of Liz’s work. Victoria’s genius is capturing the essence of her subject matter and conveying it in a compelling, succinct and visually satisfying way. We saw a couple of her other videos before watching the one of Liz. Victoria also writes a popular blog, in addition to her many talents.
What everyone attending came away with was a feeling that we were in the presence of something truly unique–Liz’s distinct appreciation of nature and her point of view as expressed through her art. I invite you to spend time on her website and enjoy a few minutes of this special voice.
Susan and I have been working together over the course of several years. When we first began our coaching relationship, Susan was entirely focused on her jewelry business as a fine goldsmith.
She wanted to establish her brand and carve out time to produce the exquisite pieces she was known for. Managing a household in Westport, CT with two young children and a successful husband, she was faced with a similar issue of many women–when is it MY time?
Susan easily conquered those issues during our sessions, then moved her family back to Atlanta where they had been previously. After getting settled there we resumed our coaching with Susan’s vision of having an impact on the art world in this city.
Her creative interests broadened to include photography, a passion she’d had for over 30 years that had gotten buried in the busy-ness of life, plus mixed media and sculpture including rope (as seen in this photograph). Susan studied public speaking, participated in the art world in her hometown, and utilized her skills as a masterful cook and hostess to broaden her reach. She enrolled in classes at SCAD, attended art openings, socialized, volunteered and made donations of her time, jewelry and other work on a regular basis.
Here’s the nugget I want to emphasize, and I can see Susan nodding her head in full agreement. This takes time. Susan’s heartfelt desire and intuition were to have an impact on her arts community, but to establish that is not an overnight effort. It takes time. Which Susan invested: hourly, daily, monthly, annually. It is what Susan does. She’s an artist. She’s a contributor. And, she’s a mover and shaker with ideas, the stamina to see them through and the desire to share her creative vision with a larger community.
The feature article in BuckHaven Lifestyle Magazine is the visible testament to Susan’s achievement. Take a moment to read the article about her and feast on the images of her work. I’m so proud of Susan’s persistence in achieving this enormous goal of seeing her leadership recognized.
Listening to Times Talks this morning over breakfast, I tuned into an excellent segment on the celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson. Two quick quotes from an interview with his branding manager John Parham put it on the line:
“Branding is constant, high-energy work.”
It’s not designing a new logo and thinking that the world will come to your door because it’s aesthetically pleasing and looks great on your website and business card.
“You have to take someone OFF the shelf to get you ON the shelf.”
Let me re-state these two quotes for application. Creating the brand experience of you and what your product or service represents takes 24/7 vigilance, activity, participation and repetition. For folks to remember YOU, you have to continuously offer excellence so that your competition fades from your prospects’ memory.
Once you’re conscious and respectful of the amount of work it takes to keep your brand front and center, no task will seem unreasonable, no event too much trouble to attend.
You know me by now. I thrill to a hand-addressed envelope with a first-class stamp on it in my mailbox. That’s what I received yesterday from Christa Forrest Fine Art. Christa is a recent graduate of my Soul Proprietor’s Formula for Building Your Business Webinar.
Christa significantly upped her game during our time together. She worked on her website, and as a reward for signing her guestbook, she promised a gift–the image you see here printed on watercolor stock and signed–a treasure! Plus a hand-written note thanking me for taking the time to evaluate her website and register. I believe in the little things.
Evidently, so does entrepreneurial guru and best-selling author Seth Godin. In today’s posting he writes:
The mass market is no longer. There is almost no room left for the next Procter & Gamble or Google. Instead, you are far more likely to do your best work if you are willing to delight a few as opposed to soothe the masses.
I urge you to continue your work of delighting a few and not killing yourself to soothe the masses. That model is no more.
Here’s what Christa said about my webinar:
I wanted to share what I got out of our time together.
- I have become smarter in making choices in regards to my business.
- More organized and I can now picture what I need to do. Before I was all over the place.
- I am blogging daily.
- I have made the commitment to paint everyday and am sharing my experience on my blog daily.
- I am working on designing a quarterly newsletter in Mail Chimp as well.
- I signed up for email updates for EWN.
I don’t know about you, but Christa delights me. Sign her guestbook today, subscribe to her blog, and begin to enjoy her art every day.