Friday, December 18, 2009

Social Media seminar

Social Media Pre-Conference SeminarJan 17,2010,1-4
Billiards Rm, Conrad-Caldwell House, Louisville, Ky

This seminar will concentrate on the latest uses of Internet marketing to increase exposure and customer base for participating bed and breakfast Innkeepers. In addition, by exploring the emerging world of social media,
participants will come to understand the rationale behind using social media to engage and connect to an audience of potential customers. They will come to understand the importance of using the language and seeking out the social networking communities where their prospective customers are. And that this is where their outbound marketing messages should be. Participants will learn strategies for increasing their website presence, for deciding when and how to use social media platforms and tools, and for managing their time.

This seminar will be presented by Jason Falls, social media consultant. Jason is a nationally recognized expert on public relations, social media and online communications with 12 years of management experience and proven ability in public relations, social media, marketing, corporate communications, branding and advertising. His vision is for high-return media opportunities and communications strategies that strengthen organizational marketing positions and enhance growth. Jason is a father, husband and thinker, mostly on social media, public relations and communications for clients of his consultancy and readers of his popular industry website and blog, He resides in Louisville, is co-founder and president of Social Media Club of Louisville, and has recently established his own consultancy: Social Media Explorer.

Growing Your Business With Social Media Marketing
Seminar presented by Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer

Solidifying Your Home Base: Put your website to work
Understanding Social Media philosophy
Listening & participating in Social Media & social networks
Making email marketing work smarter
Buoying your business through blogger outreach
Learning the tools and managing your time

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is your business eco-friendly?

"No one person has to do it all but if each one of us follow our heart and our own inclinations
we will find the small things that we can do to create a sustainable future and a healthy environment." John Denver

My business is in an old historic home. When we made the decision to go "green", we approached it by analyzing the many ways we could save on energy and not pollute the environment. It became clear that having a business in a home enabled us to easily set up all sorts of ways to make the necessary changes in order become a full fledged eco-friendly place of lodging.

Other small businesses can easily do the same thing. It just takes a little time and thought and a big commitment. Putting changes in place will not make a difference unless you honor those changes and commit to upholding them no matter what. I have listed what I consider the easiest areas to address when you first begin to make these important changes. We are in hopes that other businesses can use us as a model for their own endeavors.

Environmental awareness (community)
One of the first areas to address is the environment itself. Our employees have done a little research on the issues that most affect our environment. They have come up with the following list:

Environmental issues

  • Invasive Plants and Animals
  • Global Warming/Climate Change
  • Air Pollution
  • Unsustainable Agriculture
  • Water Quality
  • Habitat Loss/Degradation/Fragmentation
  • Overpopulation
In an effort to address these issues, each employee has made himself aware of the problem, where he or she can go to find information on the problem, and how he or she can help eliminate it. It's important that each and everyone one of us develop the attitude that "every little bit helps"; otherwise, the solution would be too overwhelming to even address. We have posted these issues in our Inn, in the reception area, with a list of online web addresses, where more information can be found. Employees are encouraged to discuss these issues with our guests. Following, are a list of online
sources of information:

Specific issues and hands-on solutions
To kick off our eco-friendly program, we selected the following issues to address immediately. They appeared to be the easiest to implement, as some of them were already being addressed.
  • Waste reduction/reuse/recycling
  • Energy efficiency
  • Water conservation
  • Indoor air quality
  • Biodegradable products
Waste: The best way to reduce waste is not to make it in the first place. These three strategies are ways in which that can be accomplished:
Our Inn has managed to address all three issues. We are very careful to avoid creating unnecessary waste and to reuse and recycle all containers and paper and plastic products.
Energy efficiency: This turned out to be fairly easy to address. We immediately changed all of our light bulbs to energy efficient ones, we made a concerted effort to turn off all lights and electrical devices we were not using, and to keep the heat at 65 degrees. We needed a new furnace recently and so installed an energy efficient one which has really stabilized the environment in the Inn.
Water conservation: The first thing we did was to switch from changing guest towels every day to changing them every two or three days. When guests check in, we tell them about our "green" program and ask them if they mind adhering to our policies. All, but one couple, agreed. Next, we made sure that faucets were not left running when not in use, the water in our laundry loads was reduced, and that the washing machine and dishwasher were not run until loaded to capacity.
Indoor air quality: Some of the things we have done are: test for molds, bacteria, and carbon dioxide; change filters frequently; adhere to a non-smoking policy; make sure dust is picked up with end-dust on a clean cloth or dust mop.; and keep solvents in air tight containers. There are many more things that can be done
Biodegradable products: Instead of using toxic solvents and cleaners we have switched to the following, which are all available at the supermarket. Containers have instructions on how to use these products.
  • soaps without synthetic scents, colors or other additives
  • baking sodas
  • washing soda
  • white vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • cloudy ammonia
If all businesses did even half of the above it would make a big difference in our environment.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Love this one!

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are women less happy today as a result of the women's liberation movement?

I recently read a study entitled "The Paradcox of Declining Female happiness" by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolpers, economists at the University of Pennsylvania. I was first drawn to the study by the interest it has been getting lately. It was conducted in 2007, but is still getting a lot of attention.

Based on in the General Social Survey (GSS) 1972-2006, the results from the Stevenson and Wolpers study suggest the possibility that the women's liberation movement and feminism may be partly responsible for the decline in happiness evidenced by modern US women.

According to Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first feminist wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s, and the third extends from the 1990s to the present.

Feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law. Feminist activists have campaigned for women's legal rights (rights of contract, property rights, voting rights); for women's right to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights (including access to contraception and quality prenatal care; for protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape;for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; against misogyny: and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.

An article by Pelle Billing in Mens News Daily, September 14, 2009 purports the results of the Stevenson and Wolpers study to be interesting in that it shows that as women have entered the workforce, their subjective happiness has declined. Contrary to what is politically correct, women were happier when they were housewives than they are nowadays. They explain these results in the following way:

  1. Working outside the home is not as glamorous as feminism would have us believe. Many jobs are exhausting without offering a large monetary reward.
  2. Many women are torn between the feminist expectation to work fulltime throughout life, and their own desire to work part-time when the children are small.
  3. Young women are taught that they can have it all: a successful career, a loving relationship, beautiful children and interesting vacations. In reality, life is much more messy and you often need to sacrifice what is important to you in order to achieve something that is even more important to you. Impossible standards lead to unhappiness.
In addition, the researchers are saying, in effect, that women and men have had certain roles for thousands of years, and our biological and cultural makeup have adapted to those roles. Sudden changes to those roles may cause a stressful reaction in either sex, and according to this research women’s liberation has actually been more stressful to women than to men.

For more information on this topic, check out my series of articles on women's happiness at Hubpages

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finding Your Passion: Dream the impossible dream

Recognizing the need for change

You are not born with passion. It is cultivated by your interests, what stimulates you, and excites you. It's the thing that makes you want to get up early, jump out of bed and start working; the thing that sustains you through hours of focussed concentration; the thing that creates that "flow".

But what if there is no passion? What if nothing particularly turns you on, so to speak. Maybe you'ld like to make a change. You hate your job, or have a lot of energy and time on your hands to devote to something fun and exciting, or maybe you're totally unmotivated and just don't know which direction will take you towards something more fulfilling in life. And you're asking yourself "What will make me happy?" What will make me jump out of bed in the morning, excited to go to work? What will get my juices going? What will make me lose track of the world and time, and bury myself in my work? In other words, how can I find my "passion?"

Looking for possibilities

If you’ve got a job you dislike, or even hate, this will sound like an impossible dream. And if you never put in the effort to find what you’re passionate about, you’re probably right; such a thing will never be possible. What you need to do is dare to imagine the possibilities. Dare to actually search for what you love. You just may find that it is not only a possibility, it's a probability. So, how do I go about finding this illusive thing called passion?

Well, first of all, you need to take a moment to reflect. Ask youself: Is there something I love doing; something that keeps grabbing my attention? something I love to readabout all the time?? What do I enjoy doing so much that I'd do it for free? Now, start brainstorming Make lists, research the job markets, look on the internet. Ask around. What are others doing? Get tested. Take a career survey or see a career counselor. Find your passion. It's there

Loving what you do

You really can make a career out of what you love to do. I have always loved to write, and yet the closest I ever got to it was majoring in English, taking writing classes, and teaching writing skills to high school students. I did play around with writing poetry and even tried writing short stories. But I never got serious about it. I taught school for 25 years, got a couple of degrees, wrote master and doctoral theses, even helped colleagues write theirs. And all this time, it never dawned on me that this was my passion. Possibly because there were so many other things I liked to do: taking photos, traveling, teaching, reading, cooking, drawing, painting & graphic arts. So many areas to consider for a life's career!

But I was brought up during a time when women either went to nursing school or studied to become teachers. It never dawned on me to try writing seriously, until I became an Innkeeper. I have owned a bed and breakfast (not a passion, by the way) for fifteen years. At this point, I have everything in place, including housekeepers, gardeners and maintenance men. So, I have the time to explore writing as a possible third career.

Turning Point
I spent Christmas this year with my daughter in Austin, Texas. Her boyfriend is a marketing director. While I was there, he was building a blog; I didn't even know what a blog was. Since it involved writing, I became interested in what he was doing. Seeing this interest, he suggested that I try it myself. Well, that did it! I now have three blogs, am writing for an on-line magazine, and for Am I getting paid for this? Not much; I'd do it for nothing. In fact, all I want to do is write! I write all day long, along with constructing a new website. I found my passion! And the irony? It was there all the time.

* first in a series on finding your passion

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The greening of America and its effects on careers and the workplace

In a recent article, by another examiner, the message, although somewhat dismal at the beginning, ended up making a lot of sense. The writer, knowledgeable in the areas of green tech, appeared to be making the point that green jobs are not plentiful right now, but it might not be a bad idea to start greening up your career. There is a lot of truth to this, but I wanted to put a little different spin on it and decided to do some research on the subject.

I came across one particular organization which is, in my estimation trying to further the development of greening technology. Innovative tech has gone through a metamorphosis over the past decade. "...creating numerous forces that precipitate a new direction for venture capital strategy" (David Anthony, 21 Ventures). There are many venture companies out there, some already established and working towards the greening of America. And there are jobs available, maybe not many at this point, but we must be prepared for what's coming. And training and education is essential.

One organization that sees what's coming is 21 Century Ventures. "21 Century Ventures is a Cleantech Virtual Incubator focusing on the technology and innovations that will dominate the 21st century. Since its founding in 2003, 21Ventures has provided seed, growth and bridge capital to more than 40 companies across the globe.

The firm's expertise in Cleantech has directed investment across the spectrum of wind, solar, energy storage, efficiency and agricultural technology...Many scientists and investors agree that the most significant challenges facing mankind in the 21st Century are the ability 1) to provide renewable energy to a growing population around the world; 2) to improve the efficiency of existing energy technologies, and; 3) to remediate the damage that mankind has created that continues to devastate our fragile planet" (David Anthony, managing director, 21 Century Ventures).

21 Century Ventures lists and describes entrepreneurial pursuits of companies working and developing technologies in the areas of wind, storage, agriculture, solar, water, efficiency, and other power and energy sources. Below is an example of what one company is doing in the area of Solar Energy


Solar Roofing Tiles

Led by a team of world-class building materials designers and electrical engineers, Applied Solar has developed a comprehensive portfolio of building-integrated photo-voltaic solutions for commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential applications. The BIPV products are versatile and scalable, ensuring that each system meets the specific requirements of the project. Our sales are backed by outstanding installation, service, and product warranties (image and information courtesy of Applied Solar).

Those persons who will be installing, servicing and selling this type of solar technology will have to be trained. And sooner than you might think, there will be a plethora of jobs available. My daughter and her husband just added almost 1000 sq feet to their home and the whole area ( on the top floor now) utilizes solar energy. They are not wealthy and yet they could afford to do this; as will many more Americans when they realize that this is good for the environment and that it is the wave of the future. Only it's no longer in the future, it's happening now. And as the demand for more materials, installation and experts and workers rises, so will the available jobs and career options rise.

There may not be that many "green" jobs available now, but our world is moving at breakneck speed and those who want to stay alive and well in it better keep up with it, by learning new skills and considering new options for careers and work which fit with the direction the world is headed. Going green is huge!

More About: career training
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Recognizing women's small business month

In recognition of Women's Small Business month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced yesterday afternoon, in Washington, that it has launched a new cooperative Strategic Alliance. Partnering with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (CMI), the alliance will promote opportunities for women entrepreneurs through education, training and counseling to promote economic independence and the growth of women owned businesses.

Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education and community support for women entrepreneurs seeking to grow micro businesses to million dollar enterprises. The alliance between the two organizations will further common goals which encourage more women to become entrepreneurs and provide them with the proper skills and tools needed to succeed as business owners.

Speakers at the event included Administrator Mills and Nell Merlino, president and CEO of Count Me In. They addressed an audience of small business owners, local business women and SBA employees, and recognized oovoo design, a woman-owned small business that has thrived during the challenging economy.

SBA and CMI are committed to supporting women-owned small businesses by developing opportunities, resources, and information needed to expand businesses and increase revenues . The two organizations are in the process of "...developing a joint podcast on business start-up and financing and a web chat on small business issues affecting women entrepreneurs" (Mary L Landrieu, D-La, Chair, United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship)
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Innovations for Women: A New Focus for ExxonMobil

by Reena Jana on September 24 for Businessweek............

Exxon Mobil is seeking to develop new technologies to help women in developing countries improve their economic lives, the company announced at the Clinton Global Initiative. What this means is ExxonMobil will work on new products that will help free women from their time-consuming household, water collecting, or farming-related chores. The goal is to eventually allow them more of an opportunity to pursue income-generating activities, too.

The specific products haven’t yet been determined. But ExxonMobil kicked off the program by supporting a white paper by the International Center for Research on Women that identifies guidelines for developing and capitalizing on tech that can help increase women’s earning potential. For example, it suggests that businesses cultivate relationships with well-connected female “champions,” which could mean high-profile executives or even celebrities, to support and promote the invention.

The white paper could be of interest to corporations beyond ExxonMobil, of course, as it might spark ideas for new products and services—and therefore new markets and revenues.(Here’s a link to the PDF.)

I met with Lorie D. Jackson, director of ExxonMobil’s Women Economic Opportunities Initiative. She emphasized that while the effort is clearly a do-good project, it is also a business investment.

"We're building the next generation of business leaders by supporting women," Jackson said. The emerging-market countries where ExxonMobil has invested more than $20 million to date in previous skill-developing projects for women are all in nations where ExxonMobil has a business presence--such as Angola, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia. So in theory, the women that the company targets with these programs could eventually join ExxonMobil's work force.

Jackson also said that the initiative also will spark fresh areas of R & D for ExxonMobil. "We're going to be identifying the newest technologies for women," she said. This means that there could be new revenue streams for the corporation.

ExxonMobil will be spending $1.5 million on its Technologies to Improve Women's Economic Livelihoods program this year. It will be working with Ashoka, an association of social entrepreneurs, to research and target the inventions that the company might pursue.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Using twitter for your business

Twitter is a social media site. The idea behind social media is to develop relationships with others, so that trust is built. Using a social media approach to marketing steers away from "in your face" advertising and relies upon revealing your business, as you would to a friend, by interacting and exchanging ideas and information.

There is a protocol on Twitter and you can learn a lot by joining, laying back and watching, and then gradually starting conversations. You can pick out who you wish to "follow" so that you can learn more about the person and his/her business. There are plenty of links, videos, and podcasts to visit (posted by members) which will give you even more info.

Read others posts and blogs to see how they interact with other members. Watch how they present their ideas and events and build interest in their particular businesses. This is really a slow process. It does not happen overnight, but it can have a big payoff.

This social media craze is all new to me. I have a business and I have to do my own marketing, but I am not an expert. My expertize is as a writer and an innkeeper (one-woman operation). It’s a small operation, so I can’t afford to pay for marketing. I rely on research, reading, and the internet for ideas.

I joined Twitter, a popular social media site, a couple of months ago when I began building my blogs. I frequently multi-task and, since I was also interested in learning about social media, I figured I would do/learn everything at the same time. I love learning new stuff!

I have asked many questions on Twitter, to which I never got an answer. Occasionally someone will respond. However, where I feel I get the most value out of it is by reading other chats and comments by other members, some of whom are experts in marketing and social media and other related fields. I’ve gone to the links they suggest, to their blogs and to their sites. I think focusing on utilizing the tremendous amount of info that is put out on Twitter and not on whether or not one get’s a response reaps the most benefits. Check out the following videos about twitter:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Women are amazing multi-taskers

Women can really take advantage of the fact that they are among the millions who have been multi-tasking for centuries and didn't know it until the term recently became popular.

Look at the women in the 18th century, they ran a household, took care of husbands and children, were expected to know how to sew, and play an instrument. Some of them were even trying to become writers, artists and musicians. For example: Jane Austin, Mary Cassatt, and Clara Schumann.

In America. the pioneer woman is a good example of a major multi-tasker. She bore child after child, took care of them and the other members of her family, cooked, gardened, laundered, and cleaned the house. She took care of the chickens, milked the cows, and even chopped wood.

During the second world war, in the '40s, women continued to care for their families, as they joined the work force and worked in the factories, while helping out in the canteens and hospitals.

This ability, still prevalent today, is a skill women can use to help them get through the tough times of our present economy. They can take on a second job, start a new one at home, or help out in the family business that can't afford to hire the help they need right now.

One caveat, according to recent research, the National Academy of Sciences published the following warning: "Multi-tasking adversely affects how you learn," said Russell Poldrack, UCLA associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study."Even if you learn while multi-tasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.

Our study shows that to the degree you can learn while multi-tasking, you will use different brain systems. "The best thing you can do to improve your memory is to pay attention to the things you want to remember," Poldrack added. "Our data support that. When distractions force you to pay less attention to what you are doing, you don't learn as well as if you had paid full.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Work-Life Balance

Are you a workaholic? I am, and sometimes I worry that I'm shutting myself off to the rest of the world. A recent article in Business Week by Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. really hit home for me. Mr Weinstein reminds us that"...managing your life wisely means giving due time not just to work but to family, friends, community, self, and spirit. You wouldn't think of spending most of your work day talking with one client on the phone. Why, then, is it OK to devote so much time to your job when you don't give non-work-related things the attention they deserve? "

I am a writer and I love to write. I spend at least 3-5 hours every day writing, even when I don't have an assignment. Besides the actual act of writing, I am constantly engaged in research and reading. I have a craving for learning stuff. Now you may ask 'what's so bad about that? Seems like there were be plenty of time left over for friends and family.' Well, I forgot to mention that I also run a successful business out of my home, which eats up most of the rest of my time during the day.

Now, this week was a slow one and I had five days off to do what I wanted. And what did I do? Did I call my friends and do something fun?go out to dinner? to a concert? to a play? No, I sat and wrote and accumulated 4 or 5 extra saved articles, to use in case I didn't have the time to meet my article writing obligations. Oh, and I started playing around with poetry. I used to write a lot of poetry years ago and am just getting back into it.

Yesterday, I spent the whole day (I mean the WHOLE day) writing an Ode to Barbaro, a horse that had a terrible accident during one of the Triple Crown races in 2006. I suppose this qualifies for "time with self", as Weinstein suggests. But what about family, friends, community, and spirit? I really think Mr Weinstein is right. But I'm so addicted to writing right now that nothing else seems to satisfy that urge. But I'd like to give it a try.

He offers a list of popular reasons for working too much. They are: to make sure you keep your job, to make more money, because your job is just so demanding you have no other alternative, and you just love to work. I guess I fall into that last category. I really do love to work. But as Mr Weinstein points out, "...A fully human life is a life in balance, and that means giving due time to all of the things that enrich us, fulfill us, and make our lives worth living. When Freud said that work and love were essential components of a happy life, he didn't mean that these were one and the same thing."

If you have gotten in the habit of working too much, you might want to consider getting better balance between your work and your life. Okay, just what does work-life balance mean? According to experts, we know what it does not mean. It does not mean striving for equal amounts of work and personal life activiities. This would be unrealistic. And you will probably not have the same balance all the time. It will vary from day to day. Finally, because we have different lives and priorities, work-life balance will vary from person to person.

No matter how you acquire balance between the two, you are dealing with the same issues: productivity vs enjoyment. Looking at it this way makes it a little easier to understand. Another gauge is to ask yourself if you're happy. If the answer is no, then you might need to either step up the work side of your life, so it satisifies that need for productivity, or increase the time spent with friends and community in pleasureable activities, or soothe your spirit with yoga, massage or other spiritual endeavors

How do I know all this? Well, all I can tell you is that I'm speaking from experience. I am in my seventies and I am very happy. I have had to address the balance in my life many times, as I tend to want to work all the time. In order to do that, I've registered for various classes, become more active in my church, joined a health club, taken yoga, made regular monthly dinner dates with a close friend, seen a play, gone to a museum, and engaged in various other activities which got me out of the house and increased the time spent with people. My activites varied from time to time, but it all made a difference in my feeling of well-being and happiness. I still write a lot, but some of that writing belongs on the "pleasurable" side of my live-balance equation.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking for jobs in all the right places

You may not have thought of this lately; we have gotten so used to looking for jobs in the Sunday paper. But the internet is a great place to, if not find a job, get an idea of the myriad of different kinds of jobs available today. Many of the job offers are scams, so be careful to check them out. Be sure to go to reputable sites to get an idea of the variety that exists. The digital world is crawling with positions, full and part time that just may be calling for the skills you already possess. If your job has been cut back or if you've lost it, due to the recession, a part-time or home-placed job may be just the thing for you.

Try browsing through some of the sites, such as . Some of the job offers that seem to be popular now are: tutorer, childcare/nanny, wedding or event planner, free-lance writer, caterer, desktop publisher, and many more. All of these can be done from home. You may just be looking for a second part-time job to tide you over until there's an upswing in the economy. Or, maybe, you're happy with your present job. Now's the time to try out the skills you may have in areas other than your present job or career. It may just turn into something long-term.

I'm not suggesting that you hire someone to help you find a job, although that may be an option. I am suggesting that you get your creative juices going and identify the skills that you may or may not even know you have, and use them to your advantage. As a result of our many and varied past experiences, we all have skills we don't necessarily use in the workplace. Focus on those skills. Delve into your passion. A hobby can be turned into a business. Look at some of the skills you learned in those pottery or photography classes. Explore tutorials on the internet that pique your interest. You may know more than you think you do.

I have a friend who liked making her own jewelry. She came up with the idea of using chain maille to create rings, bracelets, and necklaces. She has since turned that passion into a business by the name of Rapt in Maille (clever?) Check it out: . Another friend loved gardening in her own backyard. She turned that passion into a garden design business. My hairdresser decided she wanted to work for herself, so she started her own salon in her home.

My assistant, at my B&B, remarked this morning "...sure, there are blue collar and low paying jobs available out there, but what business man is going to want to drive a truck?" Well, I answered her, if you're a business man, driving a truck may just get your foot in the door and turn into an opportuniy for you to start your own trucking business. It takes a little time and thought and large amounts of energy, passion, and work, but it's definitely possible. Think about it!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eight No-Fail Steps for E-Commerce Marketing

By Jamila White, “The E-Commerce Diva” (Guest blogger)

Blank StareI know how to get a blank stare from just about any e-commerce web site owner. All I have to do is ask them about their web site marketing plan! When I ask them about their web site marketing plan, I get that look. First the eyebrows go up. Then the eyes glaze over for a minute. And then the stammering begins.

“Uh, well, you know – I have my URL on my business card.”

“I, ah, I’m going to start an e-mail newsletter.”

Some of them may even mention something about “search engines.”But practically no one has a plan! And you know how the old saying goes: “Failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

Most small business owners I talk to are frustrated. They think their web site is a big waste of money. An “online business card.” A “marketing expense” that doesn’t return any of its investment.

And no wonder:

You’ve spent thousands on a pretty web design. You shell out dough each and every month for web site hosting. You may even be paying a webmaster to update the web site regularly. And month after month, year after year, the sales barely trickle in.

Marketing your web site is frustrating. It’s confusing! So we end up doing what all of us do when we’re frustrated and confused: deal with it “later.” And later never comes.

Know what? It’s not your fault! No one ever taught you how to market on the Internet, this new medium. (They sure didn’t cover that in my marketing class when I was in school.) And there’s all that hype on the Internet – so called web marketing gurus who’ve made millions online. But guess what? The only thing they’ve ever sold is reports and e-books on – what else – “how to market on the Internet.” They’ve never packed and shipped a box or ran down the street after the UPS guy.

But what if there was a formula you could follow, a step-by-step guide to creating an online sales machine?

After 10 years of marketing and selling on the web, I’ve boiled it down to a winning eight-step formula. This formula works for any web business, for any product from amber gemstone jewelry to zebra-print home accessories. In a nutshell, the eight no-fail steps of this formula are:

  1. Define Your Goals: With no clearly defined purpose, your web site can’t succeed. Be specific with each goal, adding both an amount and a timeframe.
  2. Take a Snapshot: How’s your web site performing now? Know your traffic stats and your “three magic numbers.”
  3. Define Your Market: Who are you talking to? Be specific about who your products are for, and where these customers exist.
  4. Get Them There: Build targeted web traffic by getting your target audience’s attention and creating an ongoing dialog.
  5. Turn Site Visitors into Customers: Once you’ve gotten them to your web site, make sure you seal the deal before they leave. Know what they’re looking for, and what information they need to make a purchasing decision. Give it to them, then ask for the sale.
  6. Increase Their Spending: Would you like some fries with that hamburger? Since they’ve got their wallet open, ask for the add-on or upsell.
  7. Get Them Back: It’s cheaper to get an old customer to buy again than it is to recruit a new one. Make the experience memorable, and make the next one convenient.
  8. Get Their Friends: A happy customer can be your best sales tool. Empower them to spread the word about your products and web site.

When you work each of these steps, your e-commerce marketing can’t fail.

© Copyright Jamila White. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

Jamila White, “The E-Commerce Diva™”, helps small business owners develop their web marketing strategy to attract new customers and sell more products during her six-week “Supersize Your Web Sales”™ Tele-Bootcamp. Learn more at

NOTE: You are welcome to forward or “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end and the copyright notice) with live web links, and you send a copy of your reprint to

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Women in peril.....raped, beaten and murdered by loved ones

Ann Jones is a journalist and the author of a groundbreaking series of books on violence against women, including "Next Time She'll Be Dead," on battering, and "Women Who Kill", a contemporary classic to be reissued this fall by the Feminist Press, with a new introduction from which this post is adapted. She serves as a gender advisor to the UN.

I came across the following article by Ann Jones on a blog entitled Truthout. It begins:
.... "Wake up, America. The boys are coming home, and they're not the boys who went away........."

"On New Year's Day, the New York Times welcomed the advent of 2009 by reporting that, since returning from Iraq, nine members of the Fort Carson, Colorado, Fourth Brigade Combat team had been charged with homicide. Five of the murders they were responsible for took place in 2008 when, in addition, "charges of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault" at the base rose sharply. Some of the murder victims were chosen at random; four were fellow soldiers - all men. Three were wives or girlfriends. This shouldn't be a surprise..........." Read more.....
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Just what is a "Granpreneur"?

"I posted this comment on Entrepreneur this morning at a site called "Mompreneurs". I thought there should also be a term "Granpreneur", for retired grandmas who became business women."

Comment to pascalpublicity: "I loved your post on websites for new business women. I can totally relate, with a little twist. The twist is that I am 78 years old. I started my business 15 years ago, and found myself in the same predicament as you; not enough money to hire a web designer. I ended up learning how to do it myself on the internet, including writing HTML code. I designed my own site, at, which I have maintained for 15 years. I consider myself a "granpreneur" (a grandma entrepreneur) and want other retired women, who have gone on to second career, in business, to know that they can do it too!"

When I started in business, I knew absolutely nothing about creating websites, much less getting around on the internet. The closest I had come to it, as a teacher, was using an old Apple, the kind Bill Gates gave to the schools, when they became obsolete. They were actually word processors. You could not get on the internet with them, but you could could write a "mean" article and hone your typing skills. When I came to Louisville, I didn't even have a PC, but my daughters, who were computer savvy, told me I needed one, since I now had my own business. I was so "green" I didn't even realize I had to advertise to let people know I was here.

I had to think about a website for my business. I definitely couldn't hire a designer, I didn't have the money to do that. But what I did have was passion, determination and a strong work ethic. I could cook, garden, decorate, and learn just about anything! So, I knew I could do this. I was definitely not a business person; I had always been in the arts. Artists use their right brains and bus/tech people use their left brains. I soon learned to use both. And found myself switching back and forth with a fury.

First thing I did was buy a desk top computer ( Now I also have a laptop, which I take with me everywhere). Then, I made the decision to design and maintain my own website. My daughters had done it, why couldn't I? I went to and looked around. I found that I could build a website there using their editor, but I wanted to be my own webmaster. So, I learned to write HTML code. Who knew that I would love working on the computer with text and graphics for hours? Was I really a closet computer geek at heart? Maybe, maybe not. But there is one thing I know for sure. I am now a Granpreneur!
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Self Defense for Women

In a world where crime and violence are prevalent, it is extremely important that those, who may be at a disadvantage for being attacked, be able to exercise some control by learning strategies for defending themselves. One of the best ways to prepare yourself to fight off an attacker is to take a self-defense class. However, there are other strategies that may work just as well, with the idea in mind of de-escalating, rather than taking a chance of making things worse. The art of self defense includes much more than martial arts.

It is imperative that women understand the dangers in the art of self defense. Those who are threatened and fight back "in self-defense" may actually risk making a situation worse. The attacker, who is already edgy and pumped up on adrenaline, may become even more angry and violent.

Self-defense actually means doing everything possible to avoid fighting someone who threatens or attacks you. Self-defense is all about using your smarts — not your fists. The best way to handle any attack or threat of attack is to try to get away. This way, you're least likely to be injured.

Not everyone agrees on the best method of self defense; however, most would agree that a little bit of knowledge can definitely be a dangerous thing when it comes to defending oneself. One intelligent approach to thinking about self defense is to adopt the 5 Ds: Decide, Deter, Disrupt, Disengage, and Debrief, with Disengage being the most important component.

Deciding not to be a victim is the first step, along with planning and preparing for what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Deter is a preventative step. Don't foolishly put yourself in situations where an attacker can find you alone, with no one else around. Use your intuition. Be aware of your surroundings, and assertive in your body language and appearance. Disrupt your attacker. Shock or surprise him by fighting with everything you have. Kick him in the groin, gouge his eyes, use whatever weapons or sprays you might have, attack your attacker, with the sole purpose of getting away. Disengage by carrying out an exit strategy. Finally, Debrief by confronting and discussing the aggression. Promote emotional and physical healing, seek legal advice, support and assistance (information contributed by Erik Kondo at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Women's history month...............the right to vote

The History of Women's Suffrage:

In the early 19th century, women were considered second class citizens, whose existence was limited to the interior life of the home and care of the children. Women were considered sub-sets of their husbands, and after marriage they did not have the right to own property, maintain their wages, or sign a contract, much less vote. It was expected that women be obedient wives, never to hold a thought or opinion independent of their husbands. It was considered improper for women to travel alone or to speak in public. With the belief that intense physical or intellectual activity would be injurious to the delicate female biology and reproductive system, women were taught to refrain from pursuing any serious education. Silently perched in their birdcages, women were considered merely objects of beauty, and were looked upon as intellectually and physically inferior to men. This belief in women's inferiority to men was further reinforced by organized religion which preached strict and well-defined sex roles.

Women Unite:

With the side-stepping of women's rights, women activists became enraged, and the American Equal Rights Association was established by Stanton and her colleagues in 1866 in effort to organize in the fight for women's rights. In 1868, the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment proved an affront to the women's movement, as it defined "citizenship" and "voters" as "male", and raised the question as to whether women were considered citizens of the United States at all. The exclusion of women was further reinforced with the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, which enfranchised black men.

In a disagreement over these Amendments, the women's movement split into two factions. In New York, Stanton and Anthony established the radical National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Henry Blackwell organized the more conservative American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) in Boston. These two groups later merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) under the leadership of Elizabeth Stanton.

Winning the vote:

Susan B. Anthony was arrested for attempting to vote for Ulysses S. Grant in the 1872 presidential election. Six years later, in 1878, a Woman's Suffrage Amendment was introduced to U.S. Congress. With the formation of numerous groups, such as the Women's Christian Temperence Union (WCTU), the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) ,the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and, the Women's Trade Union League, the women's movement gained a full head of steam during the 1890's and early 1900's. The U.S. involvement in World War I in 1918 slowed down the suffrage campaign as women pitched in for the war effort. However, in 1919, after years of petitioning, picketing, and protest parades, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress and in 1920 it became ratified under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

Equal rights amendment:

Upon this victory of the vote, the NAWSA disbanded as an organization, giving birth to the League of Women Voters. The vote was not enough to secure women's equal rights according to Alice Paul, founder of the National Woman's Party (NWP), who moved to take women's rights one step further by proposing the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.) to Congress in 1923. This demand to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender failed to pass.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I've been re-inventing myself my whole life

I came across an adage often voiced by Bonnie Price of, which rings so true to me "... we don't retire, we re-invent ourselves". I am 78 years old and have been re-inventing myself my whole life. I have never faded into the woodwork! I have approached each phase of my life proactively and made sure it was the best phase yet. I have learned how to leverage my past and present experiences and passions to design a present that is fulfilling.

I've had so many different careers that I would have lost count, if it weren't for the fact that each one was, and still is intrinsically enmeshed with all the others. I never understood why anyone would say that time spent taking classes that didn't have the name of your chosen profession written on them, or traveling, or experiencing life didn't prepare them for the future or was a waste of time. Everything you do prepares you for the future. It depends on how you look at it and what you do with it, whether or not it turns out to be a waste of time.

I have had very few, if any, life experiences that I didn't learn something from, even the negative ones. I've had three divorces, breast cancer, and lost a husband to suicide. I survived an abusive relationship, the loss of a relationship with a child, and the financial loss of just about everything. I truly believe that all of these experiences contributed to making me the strong, independent woman I am today. Although I can take life pretty seriously at times, I was born with an optimistic outlook, sense of humor, and the ability to rise above some of the darkest moments. The trick is to come out with something I can use to continue my life's journey, from one situation to another; from one career to another; from one encounter to another.

I inherited a very strong work ethic, in fact, you might say I'm a workaholic. I love to work! I remember my very first paying job, in Detroit. I was 16 years old and it was for a department store. I worked in the credit department, on a machine, posting payments. It only seems boring to me now, but ,at the time, I loved it. I went on to work for the phone company, for a small vacuum company, General Motors, The Bank of Detroit, and on and on. I picked up all kinds of skills, many of which centered around writing and music. My father was a musician. I started singing with his band in high school and continued singing throughout my life. That was my night job

I went to college and studied art, psychology, anthropology, English, languages, and music. I got divorced and married again, several times. I modeled, I taught modeling and voice over communications. I got several degrees and taught music, English, and English as a second language in the Chicago Public schools. I picked up a Master's degree in Special Education and moonlighted as a hostess in a night club where Frank Sinatra used to hang out, and taught English to Spanish speaking people in night school at one of the local colleges. I took a sabbatical and went back to the University to get a PhD in education, during which time I taught University grad students while I went each morning for radiation for 8 weeks to rid my body of cancer cells.

I managed to fit in Traveling to Europe (several times), Africa, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. I've lived in Detroit, Tampa, Dallas, California, Chicago and Kentucky. And everything I've done, everything that has happened to me, has contributed to who I am today. You may be surprized to find out that I am now an Innkeeper. I own my own bed and breakfast. I've learned a lot about people since I started this business and even more about myself. I became an employer, for the first time ( which was more difficult than I anticipated) and I've learned how to run and market my own business. I have, again, re-invented myself, utilizing the planning, organizing, social and worldly skills I picked up along the way.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How did this happen? Was I destined to be a business woman?

Despite the fact that my grandmother, my mother, and my mother's sister were successful business woman, being one myself was always the furthest thing from my mind. Now I'm wondering if it was in my blood. Both my daughters are in business, not necessarily for themselves. But, nevertheless, they are in business.

In undergrad school, I changed my major several times, from art, to English, to education, to English, to music. I ended up with a degree in music education, all the time saying "I will never go into business"! I have always loved the arts and have dabbled in all of them, including theater and dance. As many of my friends went to business school and started climbing the corporate ladder, I stuck to my guns, "I will never go into business".

My grandmother was a crackerjack business woman and owned four rooming houses in Detroit, all at the same time. My mother was a realtor and had her own real estate business, and my aunt was a successful stock broker. But, watching them work long hours and go through all the ups and downs of having their own businesses only re-enforced my determination not to succumb to the lure of what turned out for many to be a profitable career.

I wanted to create! Of course, I didn't realize you could create in business. In fact, some of the most creative people are in business. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and, not so well known, Mark
Breitbard, chief merchandising and creative officer at Old Navy. “Mark is an amazingly talented retailer — and we’re thrilled he’s joining us to infuse an even higher level of creative spirit to the Old Navy brand,” said Tom Wyatt, President of Old Navy. “Both within Gap Inc. and at other top specialty apparel retailers, he has achieved success creating clothes for each member of our target customer’s family.”

Well, anyway, to make a long story short. I woke up one day, around 15 years ago, and I was the owner of a small bed and
breakfast in Louisville Kentucky. It all came to be by happenstance. It was very straight forward. I wanted this house, a 4008 sq ft historic, Victorian brick with five bedrooms. I had to justify buying a house that large for myself ( I live alone). I needed a business I could run from home in order to afford the house, which as it happens, certainly lent itself to becoming a bed and breakfast. Voila! You're an Innkeeper!

And how did you get into business? Did you go to business school, did you follow in your family's footsteps or did you just fall into it like I did?