The Power of One

What can one person do?

We often ask this question when faced with insurmountable odds or unfathomable injustice.

In recent years, many are asking themselves that question around how to combat climate change, homophobia, gun violence, or healthcare inequity – you can actually pick about a hundred given the state of our world today.

When I start to lose hope, I remind myself that many of the world’s most successful movements, non-profits, and social enterprises were started by ordinary people. Usually by one person, maybe two people,who saw a need. 

People like….

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action (gun control)

Candice Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, founder of Missionaries of Charity

Ian and Brittany Bentley, founders of Parker Clay

Oprah Winfrey (yes, she was once just an ordinary news reporter)

Sojourner Truth

Greta Thunberg, climate activist

Nelson Mandela

And many more individuals I have recently been reading about in the amazing book, Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us (highly recommend!)

But then….

This person or those people connected with others to make their vision a reality. They were able to rally like-minded individuals and start a movement.  That is the power of a team.

This is why I am committed to helping every single person understand that their voice matters. When you speak up, you are a magnet for those who see the world the way you do and want to join together with you to solve complex problems. 

If no one person speaks out, others who believe the same thing can’t find each other and make change. (TWEET THIS!)

I have long dreamed about creating a movement called One Dollar DIfference. Donating $1 might not seem like enough on its own to benefit anyone. But what if you can inspire  800,000 people to all donate $1 to cause at the same time? Or each donate one hour of time to a community effort? That is an impact!

Empathy is what enables us to connect and engage each other. To solve these tough problems together. To make a difference. 

Never be afraid to stand up and act as “just one.”. In truth, you rarely are ever alone. You just have to connect with others to have the impact you desire

If you want your team to more effectively bring the ideas of “just one” to life, I can help! Let’s chat about an empathy workshop or talk to boost collaboration, innovation, and performance – and make magic happen!

Photo credit: Guardian ng

How to Make Facebook + Instagram Ads Work for Your Business: A Chat with Devani Freeman

Social media is a big part of promoting your business. Except for a few folks I know who have managed to build empires without it (believe me, they are outliers), social media is one of the best ways to boost your visibility and nurture a warm audience. It’s a fabulous way to share your content, and help people know, like and trust your brand.

Am I preaching to the choir?

But many of us don’t always understand the nuances of the platforms, especially when it comes to advertising. Yes, I’m raising my guilty hand on this one. I know branding, not social media…which is why I turn to experts like social media marketing expert Devani Freeman to guide me and share the latest and greatest. Algorithms and consumption habits change all the time, faster than we can keep up, or so it feels.

Social media platforms are changing all the time. Learn the rules and nuances to make your posts and ads successful and see ROI. (TWEET THIS!)

Devani specializes in helping clients generate leads and build audiences with Facebook and Instagram. Her company has helped me launch programs in the past and I’ve learned a ton from her, as well as built up my list with her strategies.

We sat down for this great video interview to share practical tips and surprising rules you MUST know so that you can spend your money wisely and get results from social media advertising.

YouTube video

Watch the video now and you just may rethink your entire social media advertising strategy – for the better!


* The crucial ingredient to REALLY standing out on social media (and why most people don’t!)
* Why and how to build a marketing funnel and not simply expect people to buy from you with one-click – and an easy one you can create right now.
* Practical action tips for how to build a strong community in Facebook so it works for you.
* How exactly to make your Facebook ads work and drive sales for a new offering or course – and how to nurture those leads.
* The surprising rules you need to know or else Facebook will reject your ads!
* How to make the most of Instagram stories for your business – and why you need to just on this platform NOW.

The tools are out there to boost your visibility. You just have to make sure you’re getting good advice on using them the right way!

Any tips particularly resonate with you? Please Tweet me or stop by the Facebook page and let me know!

Why friendships don’t just “happen” but why they matter

I’m going to get a little woo woo on ya, today. So turn off your iPhone and stop setting the world on fire for a sec, my go-getter.

Your soul is made for connection.

Much like hunger tells you when you need food and exhaustion tells you when you need sleep, loneliness tells you when you long for more connection. And most of us – especially those who are amazing entrepreneurial women taking the world by storm – can’t see past feeling busy, networked, and tired simply ignore that desire when it bubbles up. “I’ve got things to do,” we say. “Who has time to deal with more commitments?”

This September– International Women’s Friendship Month– my friend and friendship expert Shasta Nelson, CEO of Girlfriend Circles and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen  is giving us a gift. Let’s stop trying to talk ourselves out of why we don’t have the energy and time to connect, and instead actually just acknowledge that our souls long for more connection. Why do we long for this?

  • For some of us it’s because we’ve recently moved, changed jobs, or ended relationships– and know we need to start building the relationships that can support our lives.
  • For some of us it’s because we’re introverts or shy and while we know we need a few relationships of substance, the very idea of how to start them overwhelms us.
  • For some of us, we know everyone and have more friends than we can keep in touch with, but the truth is that we still hear that whisper because we know we  still need to deepen some relationships and foster more vulnerability and intimacy.
  • And for some of us, to surround ourselves with healthy relationships, we know it’s time to let go of a few, the bring closure, to grieve, and to end what has run its course.

So if your soul is craving more local friends who can add value to your life…then you will definitely want to check out this awesome program Shasta has scheduled this September called:

“The Friendships You’ve Always Wanted! Learning a Better Way to Meet-Up, Build-Up, and Break-Up with Your Friends.”

This course was created by 13 of the leading experts on friendship and healthy relationship so that this September hundreds of women can all commit together to choosing friendships as their theme for the month!

Let’s tell our hearts that we’re willing to devote some time this month to learning and growing around the subject of friendship with the expectation that our call to have more love will be answered.

This program starts on Sept. 4 with a LIVE call. For everyone who signs up before that day you’ll be entered 5 times in a raffle for a free airline trip to visit a girlfriend somewhere in the U.S., plus you’ll get a free copy of Shasta Nelson’s book Friendships Don’t Just Happen!

I don’t normally blatantly sell you on programs, but Shasta is the real deal and the expert line up she has is very impressive. Yes, in full disclosure this is an Affiliate link, but I only endorse people and offerings that I believe in. It’s just an added bonus that it’s a win-win for both of us.

Hells bells, we can all use more connection in our lives, can’t we? Make time on that busy to-do list for feeding your soul. You’ll thank yourself on your deathbed.  Check out the details and sign up today to get entered and start connecting.

On your path to creating a business and life you love, what are the connections or relationships that matter to you most and why? Please share in the Comments….I’d love to hear your stories!

How to use video and social media to boost your brand: A chat with Amy Schmittauer

Today’s digital economy has introduced us to countless people I like to call “artsy-techies.” They geek out on things like hosting options, social media network features and today’s audio/video/web technologies but they are a far cry from the A/V Club nerd of yesteryear. With their savvy style, easy wit and delightful charm, they crank out more creative innovation before lunch than I do all year. It’s truly their time to shine: and what’s great is they love to teach us mere mortals how to easily put our art, story, value, services and products out into the world, too.

I’m not quite sure how or when Amy Schmittauer, the President of Vlog Boss Studios entered my orbit – most likely via Twitter! Vlog Boss Studios is a creative digital marketing agency that specializes in video content marketing. And as the Founder and Face of Savvy Sexy Social, she walks her talk and produces videos of her own. Hilarious videos (like this recent one about how you’re probably using Twitter the wrong way). Little snippets of video love that make you laugh out loud even as she’s teaching you how to use the latest social networks the right way so you can connect, promote, and attract rabid fans.

How does she describe herself? “I’m a social media frenzy!”

Today, Amy drops some mad advice on us about using video to build your brand, how to produce and host those videos in a snap and the fact that many of us are using social networks in the wrong way (one size fits all….not). Enjoy!

RS: Welcome Amy! Tell us, why should we be using video for brand building and social networking?AS: Plain and simple: People don’t build relationships with brands. They build relationships with people. (Tweet!) Video is the unbeaten opportunity to truly let your personality shine through and give your audience the opportunity to really understand and get to know you. Let them see how something is done. Let them see your expressions. Your opinions. That direct connection is huge for making relationships that count and make social media worth your time.

RS: But isn’t this stuff hard? What are my main options for creating/hosting videos?
AS: YouTube is the second most popular search engine only to Google. So it’s kind of a no-brainer to have a presence there if you’re creating video content. The visual learners go there to learn so that’s a great opportunity to tap into. But creating videos is easier every single day. You can record all the footage you need with a smartphone and edit with apps. Even YouTube has a built in editor. Don’t assume the tools are out of reach because that’s an impossible thing to say anymore. (Tweet!) My advice for new creators is to look into strong digital cameras like the Canon Powershot. It takes flawless HD video and the price point is perfect for budgetary restrictions.

RS: OK, truth time. Most of us don’t have enough hours in the day and are simply posting the same things on all our social media sites. But should we be leveraging each social media profile differently?

AS: Abso-friggin-lutely. Platforms are different for a reason and you need to respect the audiences that use each so you can customize your content to their liking. Do not auto-post between social networks. Facebook updates are not being read on Twitter. And your tweets are getting pushed down by the news feed algorithm. Saving time just means you’re making any time spent worthless. (Tweet!) Take the extra steps and watch engagement increase. One thing is for sure and that’s that people don’t like to read. Keep it close to 140 characters no matter which platforms you’re using for best chance of increased engagement.

Want more Amy in your life? Get the social action plan you’re looking for and pick her brain.

Are you using video in your social media efforts? Want to but not sure where to start? Fire away your Q’s for Amy in the Comments below!

Gratitude Love Letter: The Remix

It’s Thanksgiving in the US this week. Time to, well….give thanks. Or chow on turkey and stuffing. Whatever floats your boat.

I prefer the former, but not in a Hallmark movie of the week kind of way. No need to hold hands around the dinner table and sing Kumbaya. I prefer gratitude in the quiet of a crisp late Autumn sunset. Or a walk through the park with Eddie the Wonder Dog, sans cell phone, iPod or any other digital distraction. Watching his shadow bounce alongside me, feeling the California sun warm my face (even when it’s 50 degrees) and hearing the squirrels scamper up the nearby trees is music enough.

Your business, your project, your book, your dream. Yes, it was your hard work and determination that brought it to life. But surely…surely…you didn’t do it alone. So who can you thank? Who can you honor? For whom can you buy a cocktail?

Thank you…

Give thanks: No business is an island, even if you’re a solo entrepreneur (tweet this!)

Who deserves your thanks this week? Who makes your business or life work seamlessly? Please share in the Comments (and be sure to thank them as well!)

5 quick tips to boost sales around the holidays

The Bermuda Triangle of holidays is almost upon us: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. It can feel like a vortex into which you get sucked against your will and you can’t control the velocity with which you spin widly out of control – until you get unceremoniously spit out the other end on January 2. Often with jetlag, a hangover and an eye-popping credit card bill.

But the holidays can also be a great time to bolster your brand and connect with your customers and clients. Here are 5 quick tips on how you can leverage the festivities to increase sales and delight your audience.

  1. Give Thanks by Giving Back: Donate a portion of sales during Thanksgiving week to a local charity. Collect coats and gloves for a local shelter. Or gather canned goods to give to your local food bank. This increases traffic to your site, encourages a concentrated week of sales, and presents your brand in a fabulous light – not to mention the amazing good it does for your charitable recipient and your Karma. Approach a charity you love and ask them to partner with you by spreading the word to their mailing list or via social media. And heck, pitch the local paper or news about your event for the Community Events calendar.
  2. Turkey Day Dinner Giveaway: Offer a full-on Thanksgiving Day dinner, with all the trimmings, for 8 people as a prize. People can automatically enter if they buy from you within a certain period of time. Of course, this is for catered fixins….unless you really, REALLY like to cook! You can even partner with a local grocery or specialty food store to increase exposure AND get the items donated.
  3. Give Peace a Chance: Create a wine-tasting event or movie night for your customers and prospects by partnering with a competitor or two. Put aside your competitive spirit and exponentially increase exposure for all your audiences. You can even make this event a charitable giving exercise by asking people to bring a donated item or charge a fee that goes 100% to a cause you both support. You can market this really creatively around “Calling a Truce for the Holidays” or something fun like that.  Make T-shirts or giveaways that say “Team Red Slice” or “Team Whatever” and offer games and prizes for some friendly competition.
  4. Countdown to Christmas: Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by offering a special promotion each day leading up to it. If you’re a store, highlight one special sale item each day, or offer something unique with purchase. If you’re a service business or big on social media, craft a new holiday-themed inspirational quote or trivia contest to share with your audience. This will delight them and encourage people to keep checking back with you  – in your store, on your blog, or on your Facebook page – to see what you’ve got cooking next.
  5. Glitter and Sparkle: If you own a store, throw in giftwrapping for free. If you sell online, offer free shipping for the month of December. If you’re B2B, incent people to sign contracts for work starting in 2013 prior to December 31, 2012 at a special rate so you can stock your sales pipeline for a very happy new year.

What other holiday or seasonal promotions do you recommend? Any you’d like to promote this year? Please Share in the Comments!

Using your book to do good

Today marks the official print launch of my most recent book, Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life.

(cue crowd roar)

In celebration, I’m offering some fabulous launch goodies for those who purchase between now and May 8. You’ll get bonus content plus some fabulous goodies, including free book previews, discounts on books, a communication course and a self-assessment on how you think + life-saving information from The Brain Aneurysm Foundation. Thanks to Ingrid Ricks, Wendy Hinman, Melody Biringer, Michelle Tillis Lederman, Jen Mueller and BAF for their generosity. Check out this link for more details on how to claim your booty.

The book’s gotten great raves on Amazon as well as the most recent review in The San Francisco Book Review. I’m so honored by the outpouring.

I talk a lot about stories here on this blog and in my work. But some may wonder why I chose to share this personal story with the world. Truth is, there’s a deeper calling to this book than just accolades and sales.

We all have stories to tell – with our business, with causes we love, and with our own experiences. But instead of looking at your story as “all about you” it’s time to think of how it can contribute to the world.

I admire companies like Starbucks, who is using their clout to change the role of for-profit companies in how it gives back to the world and changes the social agenda. See their recent initiative to create jobs. Or Tom’s Shoes, who gives one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell.

From the minute I started Red Slice, I thought about how I could use my work to do good in the world. And I’ve helped non-profits I believe in with both money and pro-bono time, which feels wonderful.

And so, with Rebooting My Brain, I’m trying to do even more.

My mission with this humorous and heartfelt story was to educate others about the effects of brain injury and inspire anyone who is yanked out of their life by crisis. I’ve gotten emails and stories from many people touched by brain injury who thanked me for writing the book.

During the month of May, 10% of all net sales will go The Brain Aneurysm Foundation, the world’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures. So now people can enjoy the book and help a worthy cause.

And, I’m donating eBook copies to Worldreader, an organization that improves literacy in the developing world by providing access to e-books.

Many of you who read this blog have books as well. I encourage you to find ways to use your book to help worthy causes. Donate a percentage of sales, get involved with Worldreader, put on a book event for charity. Yes, it’s expensive to publish a book – in time, sweat, energy and money – but I truly believe that the more you tie in a giving element to your for-profit ventures from the beginning, the richer and more successful you can be.

Please spread the word about the launch! (Click to Tweet) There’s goodies in it for those who buy between May 1 and May 8. And goodies for a larger cause throughout all of May.

Thanks for your support!

Reboot and Reframe: Branding lesson for life #3: COUNT ON YOUR TRIBE

Just like a personal reputation, a brand relies on how its perceived by others in order to determine success or failure. That loyalty will boost a brand exponentially, increase word of mouth and save the company’s butt in times of crisis. When you build up enough strong brand equity with your loyal fan base, they are more willing to forgive when you make mistakes. Look how Jet Blue recovered when they had some massive delay issues due to winter storms a few years ago: they had built up so much goodwill that their “brand bank account” could take the hit.

If you are consistent and authentic with your brand, you can rely on others to evangelize for you and stand by you when the chips are down.

As an entrepreneur, you also need to rely on others to build a strong business. I don’t care if you are a solopreneur: you can’t do it alone. You need legal advice, marketing expertise, accounting skills. It doesn’t make sense to try to master it all when you cannot. We all have skills gaps and it’s the smart entrepreneur who knows when to seek out the right help to go further than he/she could alone.

In this lesson, I talk about how my “tribe” was an essential part of my recovery from a freak brain aneurysm. Even an independent gal like me had to learn to ask for help, accept support and rely on others if I was ever going to get back on my feet again. It’s true in business – and it’s true in life: no one is an island.

Watch the juicy video for Lesson #3 here.

Where do you seek outside expertise and objectivity in your business? Can you let go enough to really allow it to take off?

BACKSTORY TO THE SEVEN LESSONS: What do recovering from a  brain aneurysm and branding have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out. Recently, I got the wonderful opportunity to share my dramatic story at a Women Business Owners luncheon and I promised I’d post the lessons here for everyone. This is a seven-post series.

Lesson #1: Focus (and backstory to the series)

Lesson #2: Be Authentic

Better get your “content on”: you must read this book!

The rules of marketing have changed.

I am seeing more and more evidence that bigger companies do not get what small, strappy entrepreneurs have figured out. The way we need to reach, connect and attract customers has fundamentally changed.

Recently, I got to speak to two good friends who are both marketing execs at Silicon Valley tech companies. Their stories sounded identical. They have crafted plans that include a lot of awareness activity via social media, content creation, blogs, video, etc. And while some people get it, others still want them to do the “old” lead generation stuff”: events, email offers, etc.  And we’re talking about some of the most forward-thinking companies in the tech industry.

Marketing and branding is much more complex than it was even 5 years ago. The old ways of “generating leads for sales” do not cut it anymore. Now, you absolutely need to build a thought leadership and expert brand (especially if you are B2B). You need to have a viewpoint, a philosophy, a personality. You need to connect with the real human beings making the buying decision on a personal and conversational level. People are out there, doing research and searching the Web. You need more than just your home page to come up if you want to make your sales numbers.

A must-read for any business owner, entrepreneur, c-level exec or marketing professional is Content Rules How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks and Webinars (& More) That Engage Customers and Ignite your Business (Ann Handley and CC Chapman): It’s a how-to book on how to create effective content through various media, such as podcasts, video, blogs, etc. But the reason I think execs and CEO’s need to read it is that they need to understand the new paradigm, which the book explains very well. They may not need the nuts and bolts of how to do do it (leave that to their marketing teams) but the book provides ample case studies (including a whole section on B2B) about how this strategy impacts long-term success and sales.

It used to be that a differentiated brand strategy was to promote yourself as an advocate, expert and though leader. Now, it is a brand imperative. If you want to create a relationship with customers long before they are ready to buy so that you are top of mind, you absolutely have to start marketing your business in this way.

Practically speaking, what does that mean? If you are a hair salon, it means you need to provide content on the latest styles, proper hair care, how to protect your hair from sand and sun in the summer, and which products are best for which hair type. You could create content around trends, celebs, do’s and don’ts and hairstyles for any occasion. If you are a business ;lawyer, you need to do what my lawyer (and client) Equinox Business Law is doing: Michelle provides a monthly business seminar on all sorts of topics: branding, succession planning, real estate – and then tags on the legal perspective in dealing with those issues. She also reuses such content in her monthly newsletter.

The book has tons of case studies and I highly recommend it. If you are not ready for this paradigm shift in the market, I don’t care what size company you are or what industry you’re in: you will get left behind.

Ask the Expert: How to build a robust and rabid community with Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades

Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades is a community maven. She founded a grassroots community of women business owners called Power Chicks and shares how she nurtured a thriving presence on Facebook. In early 2011, Lynn will launch Power Chicks International, LLC, allowing her to offer even more connections, resources and inspiration to help women reach their big, bold goals. Lynn is also the founder of Marketing Shebang, a company focused on helping small businesses connect with their female customers.

lynn-baldwin-rhoadesRS: Welcome Lynn! So, give us the dirt: you have more than 2,000 Facebook followers for Power Chicks. How the heck did you get that going and what advice do you have for others who want to build a following on Facebook?

LBR: Building a community on Facebook requires patience. Lots of it! Every one of us starts with a single follower.

I launched the Power Chicks Facebook page over a year ago by inviting my personal friends. Now, granted, they weren’t my ideal peeps, who are women in business, entrepreneurs and professionals looking for community, resources and inspiration. Joining the page were my father-in-law, my sister who’s in school – well, you get the picture. Nonetheless, it gave me a base of around 70 people.

So, my advice would be, start with who you have. Invite friends – but don’t stop there. Talk up your Facebook page everywhere. Put your link in your email signature, on your website, your newsletter, your brochures – anywhere your ideal customers might be. I’m a huge believer in radical visibility. If people don’t know your business or Facebook page exists, how will they know what good stuff you have to offer?

Give your followers a reason to “stop by” every single day. I imagine the Power Chicks as a community gathering place – an actual location. Maybe that’s goofy, but it does have a good, relaxed vibe. On the page, I offer tips and tools for growing businesses, inspirational quotes, and conversational prompts about what works and doesn’t work for folks. These can be quite engaging chats, and it’s cool to see women from allover come together in a collaborative way. I also offer opportunities for Power Chicks to network with one another on Twitter Tuesday and Thursday Facebook Fan Day.

What you post on your page will revolve around your own business, of course. If you’re really stumped for ideas, begin to follow others in your industry. Use their ideas as a jumping off point for your own original thoughts.

Be casual in your posts – and whatever you do, don’t engage in heavy-handed selling! Facebook is a platform to build relationships with others that will, over time, enhance your business’ bottom line. But it’s a slow process and requires lots of TLC. Hardcore marketing message really turn people off on Facebook.

RS: Wise advice. How active is your community in terms of commenting and interacting? What tips do you have for getting more out of your community so your page does not feel like crickets are chirping and everyone is asleep?

LBR: I confess: I’m a stat watcher and I track how many Power Chicks are interacting on Facebook, Twitter, and emailing me about stuff. Why? Because if there’s no conversation, no connecting, no sharing of resources or cheering each other on – there’s no community, right? There’s just a number.

When I do social media consulting, I always say, “Don’t be eager to build up some sort of empire. Better to have a few red-hot fans than a lot of tepid ones.” It’s like this: You want raving followers who wake up each morning and think, “Hey, what’s Red Slice Nation got going today?” rather than a bunch of people who really don’t give a rip.

As far as tips for getting more out of your community, that’s easy. Give more. And if you’re not sure what to give, ask! The beauty of social media platforms is that you really can say, “Hey, what would you like? How can I best help you?” A following, even a small one, can offer fantastic feedback.

RS: I’ve always been a fan of quality over quantity! Do you think that the actual community topic is a factor to interaction? For instance, do you have an advantage in that your community is full of women talking about inspiration and motivation? What advice would you have for those of us with B2B topics or a less vocal community? What gets the most conversation going within your community?

LBR: Well, I think my advantage is less that we talk about inspiration and motivation and more that I understand what truly brings Power Chicks together – a sense of belonging and camaraderie. There’s a “We’re in this together” feeling. Having this advantage isn’t a calculated thing but sort of an intuitive knowing. Anyone else can have that same advantage.

See, what drives our decisions – whether to join a group, hire a web designer, make a purchase – arises from some need inside of us. We might hire a financial planner and think we’re paying for number-crunching but our deeper need is for safety and security. Identifying the deeper need in your community and addressing it, even obliquely, skyrockets your ability to develop a solid community.

For those with less vocal communities, evaluate what you’re doing and see if you can winnow out what’s not working. Again, ask people. Pick five reasonably active people, email or call each separately, and request specific feedback. You might be surprised at what you hear!

To get the most engagement, you also need to play with the days you post, and even the times of the day. Also, did you know posting a picture along with your updates statistically pushes up your response rate? So does posting a video. I love marketing and these little factoids, because I’m just that nerdy – and knowing stuff like this does come in handy.

Bottom line? Facebook is a fantastic venue for people to increase their business’ visibility, gain credibility, gently (did I mention gently?) sell, and more. But it takes time, patience, lots of trial and error. But stick with it! It’s worth it.

RS: Wise words, Lynn. Thanks so much for giving our community such great advice.