It’s hard to stay focused when you’re excited

It’s hard, really hard, to stay focused when I’m excited about something.

But I’m gonna do it.

Those of you following this blog or who follow me on twitter (@mombizcoach) know that I’m going to my first live event in a couple of weeks. I’ll be speaking on the Small Business Success Panel at EVO ’10: The Evolution of Women in Social Media Conference in Park City, Utah June 24-26. I have had a strict “no-travel-for-business” policy since I started my company due to the fact that we have three small children and no family nearby (nor even in the same country) to care for them if I’m gone for a few days. But the time has finally come that I can get out of town to go speak without causing too much hardship on my family! Yippeeee!

This conference represents many good things for me:

  • The chance to get out of the house and go on vacation in the mountains!
  • Time to meet and mingle with my kinda people, people I truly “get” and who “get” me
  • Lots of opportunities to talk about and learn about small business topics that are important to me
  • I get to speak in person (not just over the phone, via a webinar, or on my radio show–wowwee!)
  • I’ll be part of a five-person panel, with some amazing cool chicks I am simply honored to share the room with (Stay tuned for a list of all the cool panelists I get to rub elbows with coming in a future post… See me making sure I keep up with this whole blogging commitment?).
  • I get to dress up and wear pretty clothes around other women who will be so kind as to tell me I look cute (don’t you just love dressing up and going out with your girlfriends?).
  • The chance to belt out some serious tunes on karaoke with a bunch of the other speakers and participants during the evening activities
  • An opportunity to meet people I likely wouldn’t meet otherwise
  • The chance to show up and present myself and my brand the way I really want to be seen and heard
  • Countless collaboration opportunities
  • Hopefully find a few cool mompreneurs who are looking for a mentor or a business coach to help them create the businesses they really want

I’m sure you can tell that all this possibility has me bouncing off the walls these days. So the thing for me to do to manage all that energy is to find a way to harness it and focus it so I can be sure to get the results I want. After all, I’d hate to let the emotions cause me to miss out on any one of the opportunities I listed above.

Check back in a couple of days when I post about what I’ll be doing to create some good intentions for my first live conference. I’ve been reading lots of great blogs and tweeters (especially Market Like a Chick, @shawnmdriscoll and @ShellyKramer) to get some ideas about how to organize myself for the conference. There’s a lot more to it than prepping my talk and packing my new clothes. I’m happy to share what I’m learning with you.

Got a live event coming up that you want to be sure you maximize? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear what sort of intentions you have for it.

Better yet, wanna join me at EVO ’10? There’s still time. Click the button at the top to get discounted registration and leave a comment below to let me know you’re coming!

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Umm…225 views to my blog yesterday???

Holy smokes! I’m humbled! The most visitors I’ve had in a day before yesterday was 61. What happened?

Well, I checked out my stats, thinking something must be wrong or broken with WordPress. And then I saw that the referrer for most of those posts was StumbledUpon. I got Stumbled!

Aha!

Social Media and Viral Marketing strike again!

Now I’m writing a blog post talking about StumbledUpon. The blog post will automatically show up in several places, like my LinkedIn Profile, on my twitter updates, on my personal Facebook profile as well as on my Facebook for Business Page. And I’ll include tags for StumbledUpon and eventually install a widget here on the blog so that others can Stumble this post (although I’m having a technical difficulty with that widget right now…).

And I think that the source for all this Stumbling must have had something to do with my participation in an online twitter event last night. http://mommygossip-gno.blogspot.com/ hosted a “Girls’ Night Out” (or GNO) last night, where zillions of twitterers logged on at the same time and chatted about holiday shopping (among other things) while entering contests to win lots of free stuff made by some of the other mom entrepreneurs participating in the GNO. The activity was frenetic. I stepped away from the computer once for about five minutes and there were 96 new tweets to read. Geesh!

Within the space of an hour, I had a great time chatting with an online community about Christmas toys, chocolate, kids and their bedtime routines, how to stay fit, what to do if you’re laid off during the holidays, and ways to be grateful. I also found about 30 new twitterers I was interested in and decided to follow. And my total number of followers went from something like 350 at 8pm to 423 this morning! Whoa! I even connected with about five of these new followers and am excited about the possibilities of developing a better releationship with them over time.

I’m not a huge “numbers” person. Instead, I prefer building relationships with people. But Social Media and its viral marketing capabilities increase the total number of people I’m possibly interested in developing a relationship with. If ever there were a good excuse to believe in abundance, it’s when I think about all the possibilities that are out there for connecting with other mompreneurs and how we can all support each other!

Have you experienced a crazy jump in your online presence? If so, what happened? Was it intentional? What was the most significant value you realized from having your message/biz/profile reach more people? And how do you manage this increase in traffic?

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WSJ article: How twitter is used for business

Continuing my theme on Social Media and why mom entrepreneurs should take advantage of its offerings, I just read a great article in the Wall Street Journal about twitter. Here’s the link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122461906719455335.html.

Are you using twitter? If so, how do you use it? How much time do you spend daily using twitter or your other favorite social networking platforms? What are the pros and cons of using such a service for promoting your business?

And of course, please feel free to follow me. I’m @mombizcoach or www.twitter.com/mombizcoach.

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Why Social Marketing is Critical for Mom Entrepreneur Businesses–Part 1

Those of you who have spent any time around me, or on the phone with me, or reading my blog have heard me get a little preachy when it comes to Social Media and its marketing capabilities. Especially now, when the economy is giving us “the gift” of more time to plan, organize and market our businesses, I’d like to help you get some great exposure for the hard work that you do. For FREE!

Lately, I’ve been busy. Yahoo! In the last week, I’ve been invited to give a workshop to a parenting group in Ontario, I’ve been interviewed for a mini-documentary about my Mom Biz Coach business for a London, ON radio station, and I’ve been asked to contribute an article I’ve written and to consider collaborating with a phenomenal group of women coaches. In fact, I’m thrilled to have just received another invitation to be interviewed by a talk show hostess this morning.

How did all this happen?

I didn’t cold call anyone. I didn’t take out a large print ad in the local magazines and newspapers. I didn’t pay for specialized SEO for my websites. I didn’t pay for a booth at a networking event. I didn’t send out a press release to anyone. In fact, I didn’t pay for anything and I was probably wearing my pajamas in the comfort of my own home when my marketing was working for me. And rather than “pushing” my marketing message out to the world, I’m “attracting” an audience who is interested in what I do.

So what is Social Media? The easiest way for me to think about it is to compare it to a Chamber of Commerce or a small business networking group (like BNI). All of us entrepreneurs know that marketing is important, but we seldom choose to allocate large portions of our budget to it. Instead, we often choose the “free” marketing route of appearing at various business networking events, introducing ourselves to other small business owners, exchanging business cards, and giving and asking for referrals.

I did this for the first two or three years of my business. But then, when I moved across the border to Windsor, and had no babysitters for these morning Chamber/BNI meetings, I started seeing just how much these “free marketing” opportunities were costing me in time and headaches. As a mom of three kids aged six and under, attending a weekly 7am coffee at the local chapter of BNI simply doesn’t work. So how can we mom business owners effectively network, give and get referrals, and in general get the world “buzzing” about our businesses?

Enter Social Media! You may also have heard some other terms associated with it, like Social Networking, Social Marketing, Viral Marketing, etc.

Here’s the skinny:

Social Media is a fast, professional, easy and effective way to market your business. And in my own humble opinion, it beats using the traditional methods (print ads, radio ads, tv ads, booths at tradeshows, etc.) since it is 1) free and 2) working for you when you’re not even awake!

Some examples of Social Media I’m using are LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter and my wordpress.com blog. There are countless others out there, but I’m going to focus on the ones I use. Each of these sites allows me to set up an account for free. I create a profile of my business (including my bio/resume sometimes, or my background and interests, or my expertise on a certain topic), upload a professional photo of myself, and include links to all my other sites (websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter accounts).

All of these media allow me to build my online network by making connections (LinkedIn), inviting more friends (Facebook), increasing my followers and the people I follow (twitter), and offering an RSS/subscription service (blogs). Just as you would build your professional network via business card exchanges, referrals, attending networking events, etc., you build your community of people you are interested in and who are interested in you. Unlike traditional networking and marketing, you don’t have to hire a babysitter, dry clean your suit, and spend time commuting to and from your home or office. In fact, I do most of my social networking just two or three minutes at a time with at least one child on my lap.

As a coach, I’m in the services business. I don’t have a product (other than myself) to sell (yet!). My intention when I market my business is to get people to know, like and trust me. People like to buy from people they know, like and trust. Of course, you can use Social Media platforms to socialize with friends and family, but the reason I use it for business is because I find the online business community to be extremely approachable. I am able to introduce myself and be introduced to others by typing a quick message like, “Hi! I love your work. Look forward to learning from you!”

In very little time, I usually get a message back. There: a virtual handshake that’s informal, yet powerful. And if this new contact is interested in learning more about me, s/he can do so via my profile, which in turn links them to my websites, blogs and other Social Media platforms. After reading about me in these platforms, a potential client is pre-qualified to do business with me since I explain how I work, what I offer and what I charge on my website. So you see, I can end up with a pre-qualified sales lead as a result of typing 11 words and hitting send. How easy is that?

And it can be even easier. Since most Social Networking platforms (like LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter) allow all of my friends/connections to see who I’m connected to and to read my posts, I often get messages from people who are “friends of my friends” who I never contacted directly. This passing of information continues to spread, like a virus (hence the term “viral marketing”) to all of my friends, then to their friends, and so on. And it travels fast!

So this is where I’ll end my first installation about Social Media and why you should be using it to promote your business. I hope you’ll take a peak at some of the options out there. I’ll go into greater depth about how it works (including some examples) and offer some resources for more information in the next two issues of my ezine. If you have questions, please ask. I’m excited to help you grow your business!

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