Risk Taking

September 7, 2014

My New Least Favorite Word

I have heard something a lot recently that has started to really bother me. It’s not a phrase or even a sentence. It’s one little tiny word. But this one little, tiny word has a huge impact. The word is “just.” “Just” has become my new least favorite word. I don’t mean in the “It is just and right to have laws” kind of way. I mean in the “Oh, I’ll just do…” It seems to be in the air a lot lately. Here are some of the ways I’ve heard it: “My sister-in-law’s brother is a photographer, I’ll just wait until the next time he’s in town and have him take some shots for me. “I know I need help with this, but I’m just going to see if I can do it myself first.” “Why don’t we just find someone who will volunteer to do the work.” “Why don’t you just hire her and see how it goes.” Ugh, ugh and double ugh! When we say “just” we are essentially saying we know there is something better available, but we are choosing not to try to attain it. We are letting ourselves off the hook and settling.   Why, […]
July 29, 2014

How to avoid repelling high-paying clients

Last weekend my beautiful niece who just graduated from film school came up from New York to help me shoot video for a project I am creating. We had so much fun running around Boston shooting in different locations. I had been looking forward to doing this for weeks, but in the time leading up to the shoot I had gotten very busy. I knew I needed to do a lot of prep so I wouldn’t waste time once we started, but I had just been so slammed that some things had fallen through the cracks. I found myself scrambling the night before to write the script. Funny enough, I thought I really nailed it. Hey, maybe pressure is really the best editor! Well, not quite… Just to be sure it was a wonderful as I imagined, I read my masterpiece to my husband for some feedback. I know, I know, asking a spouse for constructive criticism is not always the best idea, but Mr. P is usually pretty good about it. And I know he wants me to succeed, so I was anxious to hear his thoughts. Of course, I thought he might tweak a word here or there, […]
July 24, 2014

What are you waiting for?

When I was a kid, my mom had this very cool pink pajama set. It had palazzo bottoms and a filmy top a la “I dream of Jeannie.” You can imagine,  as a girlie girl, I used to love putting that thing on and playing all kinds of make-believe. Even though it wasn’t something my mom really ever wore, I still always had to ask permission to play with it. Because it wasn’t something I could grab on a whim, I would covet that pinkalicious guise. It would make me sad or even angry that my mom was keeping it from me. After all, if she knew how wonderful it made me feel, why wouldn’t she just give it to me? I guess maybe she imagined wearing it to some cool retro pool party in them there hills of northern Wisconsin. Don’t you just hate it when you have to wait for what you want? Or worse yet, when you have to ask someone one else to give you something you crave? I know, I sure do. I hate it. I hate the feeling of being at the mercy of someone else’s judgment. As kids, we need to have our parents […]
December 25, 2013

Do You Want Next Year to be Better?

This is the time of year when we do end-of-year reviews. We look at what went well and what we’d like to do differently moving forward. After all, we want next year to be even better than this one. What often happens, however, is January 1st comes and goes and before we know it, it’s March and things don’t look quite how we’d hoped. Why? The answer is simple. We tend to follow the same patterns over and over again. We get comfortable with what we know, who we know and how we operate. Although repetition can be wonderful tool in business, it can also become a crutch which stymies our growth. Further, it can make our businesses and brands stale. So how can you break the repetitive cycle to infuse your business with new life in the new year? Here are a few tips to help. 1. Decide what you want. Do you want more money?
May 8, 2012

Is Your Brand a Winner?

This past weekend was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I really didn’t give much thought to it until I ran into another mom who told me she was going to attend a Derby party that night. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but once she explained it was a Kentucky Derby party I was really fascinated. I started peppering her with questions. Will you wear a hat? Will there be betting? Will there be a signature drink? “Well, of course!” she replied. Hats, wagers and mint juleps were all on the menu. In recent years it seems like more and more people are throwing these kinds of home spectator parties. No longer do people just gather for the annual Superbowl. Theme parties spread the gamut from erudite election parties to glitzy Oscar parties complete with red carpet. All this partying has me thinking. Fun and frivolity aside, what is the deeper appeal of the spectator party and what does it have to do with branding?
March 19, 2012

Open Wide

There is a very funny phenomenon that happens when people first start taking voice lessons. They have a tendency to try to sing with their mouths closed! It’s a very strange thing. The whole point of lessons is to open up the instrument and learn how to let the voice soar. You would think if someone is willing to invest the time and money to actually take singing lessons it would be natural to open up and sing.  However, I have seen the contrary many, many times in my own teaching and watching other singers in master classes. Why is this so? First, people are NOT AWARE they are not opening their mouths fully. Often when one sings with a partially closed mouth the voice actually sounds quite large on the inside. The sad truth is, however, the sound is getting trapped inside the singer’s body, rumbling around inside their throat, their mouth and their ears. It is not being projected out. As a result, the sound from the outside is small and muffled. Secondly, in spite of the fact the student has invested in lessons and thus shown a genuine interest in learning to sing, they are AFRAID to let their voice out. Again, I have seen it many times, […]
February 27, 2012

Fail to Impress

One of our most important jobs as entrepreneurs is attracting clients. As a result we do all kinds of things to capture the attention of our audience. We want to make a big impression so we will be remembered and, hopefully, even referred.  However, while it’s good to make a positive impression, being impressive should not be the ultimate goal when it comes attracting your ideal clients. A far better and much more effective approach is to create an authentic brand that speaks to the hearts of your audience. Remember the old story of the wind and the sun competing to see who can get a man to take off his jacket first? The wind howls and tries to blow the man’s jacket off, but the harder the wind blows the tighter the man clings to his jacket. The sun, on the other hand, beams its rays of light and warmth on the man. He gets so toasty he takes his jacket right off. I suspect he even enjoys the warmth and the glow of the sun. It’s like that with branding as well. If you are merely impressive, you are like the wind. You may blow long and hard, but you are not getting your clients to open up to all […]
October 22, 2011

Can Your Brand Sell a Green Shoe?

I have sworn off watching the news during my daily 6:00am treadmill run. It bums me out too much. I have switched to reading client attraction, self-improvement or branding materials instead. However, the other day I forgot my book and resorted to watching tv again. I landed on the highly cerebral show of “America’s Next Top Model.” Hey, not only did it get me through the burn, it also reminded me of an important branding lesson. On this particular episode the girls were asked to pose nude except for one piece of clothing, jewelry or other accessory they would be trying to “sell” with the picture. Of course, most of the models were understandably nervous, who wouldn’t be, but it was so interesting to see how some of the girls succeeded in capturing the interest of the viewer and some did not. You have to remember ALL of these girls were gorgeous with near perfect bodies, so it wasn’t a question of whether someone was pretty enough or svelte enough to look good in the photo. It was more a question of what ELSE they brought to the scene.