Ready4Air: (Brands and Bloggers)|Carnival’s Fathom: Sun, Fun And Travel With A Purpose

Fathom Adonia
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

May 26, 2016 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Social TV, Travel | By

On Fathom Adonia at Amber Cove, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Photo Courtesy/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

On Fathom Adonia at Amber Cove, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic
Photo Courtesy/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Land, ho! The Fathom Adonia pulled into Amber Cover, Puerto Plata after departing the Port of Miami two days before. It was the third sail for Fathom, the newest cruise ship in the Carnival line, that offers passengers the opportunity to not only relax and have fun on vacation but to also “travel with a purpose” by providing community service in the Dominican Republic. Traveling with a purpose was a first for me. Since I made a promise to myself to be more socially impactful in 2016, this trip was a perfect a perfect fit.

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Impact Activity Chariot Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Impact Activity Chariot
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel has partnered with two established nonprofits, IDDI and Entrena, in the Dominican Republic, to assist rural and urban community projects. During two days of sailing and training sessions, Fathom Impact guides talked us through the impact activities and enlightened us on the best ways to work alongside people in the community. Read more about the impact activities and our sail  here. Now, that we’ve arrived, it’s time to get to work!

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, DR Reforestation and Nursery Group Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, DR Reforestation and Nursery Group
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

However, the question remained; how much of a difference could I make in three days, spending only a few hours working?  After docking, we boarded our activity bus and met our on the ground guides. I signed up for the Reforestation & Nursery, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative and Student English and Conversation & Learning activities. Our first stop was getting dirty planting trees in the Reforestation & Nursery impact activity, our chance to make a difference in the rainforest, one tree at a time!

Reforestation & Nursery

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Reforestation & Nursery Social Impact Activity Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Reforestation & Nursery Social Impact Activity
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

On Tuesday afternoon, after docking in Puerto Plata, our group met up with our IDDI guide Ezequiel and headed to Mount Isabel de Torres, a national monument. The mountain known for its enormous statue of Christ rises 2,600 above sea level. At the base of the mountain, a representative from the Department of Environmental Ministry greeted and gave us a brief history of how erosion is claiming the Dominican Republic’s environment and rainforest. When it comes to reforestation, our help was greatly needed. This city girl does not have a much of a green thumb, but I was ready to give it a try. We broke up into three groups of twelve, and each team was tasked with either digging up seedlings, putting soil in small plastic bags and transporting them to the nursery.  The team in the nursery took the plastic bags of soil to plant, oak, mahogany and cedar seedlings and seeds. We rotated each assignment during three hours. Before long, we had a quick moving assembly line working in the garden.

Ready4Air: (Brands and Bloggers) |Fathom Travel: Cruising With A Social Conscience

Fathom Adonia, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Another group of Fathom Travelers will plant the seeds in a forest region. Three hours later, our guide told us we had planted 1005 seedlings and seeds.  He told us that three weeks into the program, 6,000 seeds had already been planted. With Fathom sailing to the island twice a month, that is quite a social impact. In forty years, a tree that I helped plant will stand in the Dominican Republic’s rainforest. Cool! I was impressed!

Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Cacao and Women’s ChocolateCooperative Social Impact Activity Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Cacao and Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

After a day to rest and explore, where fellow blogger Lora Wiley-Lennartz and I visited Brugal rum factory, we were off to the another social impact activity at Chocal, a  Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative.  The cooperative in, Altamira, was started in 2007  by 30 women in search of a way to earn a living while making time for their families. Before the cooperative, work if any, meant traveling long distances, leaving little time for family life.  When our group arrived, several of the original founders of the cooperative were on hand to welcome us. The room smelled of delicious chocolate and the ladies presented us with a cup of creamy, sweet hot chocolate to get our day started. I believe it’s the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted!

Fathom Travel, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

A tour of the cooperative included an explanation of the chocolate production process from cacao tree bark to chocolate bar.  The cacao is grown on trees, dried in the sun and sorted before being grounded. While the ladies use machines for grounding the cacao, much of the work is still done by hand, and that’s where we were helpful. In 20-30 minute intervals, we separated good beans from bad ones and sifted through the chocolate nibs to make sure they were free of shells. It took a while for our novice eyes to get the hang of spotting the good from the bad ones, but our guide was a pro and helped us out.  Once the chocolate was ready, we learned the proper way to pour into a mold. After a few minutes of refrigeration, the chocolate was ready for packing and sale.

Fathom Travel, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Later we learned that we impacted the cooperative’s productivity by doing the menial work, freeing up the skilled workers to do other things. The group was delighted to have us around and thanked us with a home cooked Dominican lunch of rice and pork, seasoned eggplant, stirred fried vegetables and black beans. Yum! This was a wonderful way to spend my morning  in the Dominican Republic. Thanks, ladies!

Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) | Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: So Nice I Visited Twice

Student English and Conversation & Learning

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Community English Conversation and Learning Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel Puerto Plata Student English and Conversation and Learning
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

On Friday morning, hours before we sailed, bloggers  Lora, Vicki, Michele and I joined the social impact activity group for Student English and Conversation & Learning  where we met with 5th grade students to assist them in learning and practicing their English. The class of  10 year old boys and girls greeted us with a lively song and high fives as we entered the classroom. Once we introduced ourselves, we broke up into small groups and began working with the kids on the English alphabet and numbers.  In our first group, Heidi and Leticia, were superstars. They quickly picked up from where they left off from past English lessons to pronounce and identify letters and numbers almost perfectly. For Spanish speakers, the English sounds that are hard to pronounce include the letter  V/B sound, G sound and the Th sound. The number five, thirteen, and thirty can be challenging. With each correct answer, Lora, Michelle and I were there to give both girls positive reinforcement with a smile or high five.

Fathom Travel- Community English Conversation and Learning Photos courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel- Student English Conversation & Learning
Photos courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

After 45 minutes, it was time to switch it up. This time Lora, Michele and I each had a student. I partnered up with Jeremy (left in the photo) who has quite a personality; smart, inquisitive and full of energy. It turns out he wanted to be a teacher as well as a student. Midway through our session Jeremy told me in Spanish, via the Entrena guide, he wanted to learn English but also teach me Spanish words. So, that’s exactly what we did. He practiced his numbers and coached me through a few Spanish words. By the end, I had a new buddy, and Jeremy had learned to take a selfie.

Fathom Travel- Community Vicki Winters in English Conversation and Learning Activity Photos courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel- Vicki Winters in Student English Conversation & Learning Activity
Photos courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

The time went by quickly, and I wanted more time to teach. At the close of both sessions, we were asked to write progress notes in kid’s school binders. This way, the next Fathom Traveler can pick up where we left off. Although our time together was brief, I hope I made an impact. I know for sure, they made an impact on me. By the way, I have been home for two weeks, and I still smile when I think about the kids.
Disclosure: I was invited to cruise for a purpose. Thanks, Fathom Travel for providing this impact + travel opportunity. As always, opinions are my own. If you would like to travel with Fathom, click here and use the insider code 1530 to save on your next booking.

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air: (Brands and Bloggers) |Fathom Travel: Cruising With A Social Conscience

IMG_6117

May 22, 2016 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Lifestyle Lineup (Food,Fashion,Travel,Books) | By

Fathom Adonia Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

I was invited to cruise for a purpose. Thanks, Fathom Travel for providing this impact + travel opportunity. As always, opinions are my own.

Fathom Adonia, Port of Miami - #TravelDeep (i) Lora Wiley-Lennartz, Vicki Winters and Deborah Mitchell Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia, Port of Miami – #TravelDeep
(l) Lora Wiley-Lennartz, Vicki Winters and Deborah Mitchell
Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

It turns out the second time was the charm when it came to a few blogger friends and I sailing on Fathom, Carnival Corporation’s newest ship. Yes, we were disappointed when our first scheduled cruise was suddenly canceled a month earlier but we rebooked as soon as the next sail became available. On May 8, Lora Wiley-Lennartz of Diary of a Mad HausFrau, Vicki Winters of The Vicki Winters Show , her husband Dan and I joined a group of almost 300 passengers to depart the Port of Miami on Fathom’s Adonia, heading to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. WHOOT!

Fathom Adonia, Port of Miami - #TravelDeep Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia, Port of Miami – #TravelDeep
Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Our cruise was the third sailing for Fathom. Just a week earlier, May 1, the intimate 700 passenger liner made global historical news as the first ship to sail from the United States to Cuba in 50 years. Fathom Travel, the brainchild of social entrepreneur Tara Vargas Russell, is a cruise vacation that offers more than just traditional cruising sun and fun. Instead, interested travelers have a chance to make a social impact at their destination. Fathom Travelers, sail to Cuba or the Dominican Republic and engage in a cultural exchange or some cases give back.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands And Bloggers) | A Hotel Bumps It Up A Notch: From Grand To Luxurious (VIDEO)

Fathom Adonia to Dominican Republic, - #TravelDeep Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia to Dominican Republic, – Impact + Travel Training sessions #TravelDeep
Photo Courtesy: Deborah Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

In the Dominican Republic, the goal is to give back and make a difference in the community’s economy or assist in their education. Once passengers book a cruise they can review the Fathom Travel Impact + Travel  activities which include:

Reforestation & Nursery

Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship

Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative

Community English Conversation and Learning

Student English and Conversation & Learning

Water Filter Production

Concrete Floors in Community Homes

I wanted leave my social impact footprint but also wanted time to relax. Since I didn’t know what to expect I registered for three activities, Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative, Student English and Conversation & Learning  and Reforestation & Nursery. Now, I was ready to become a Fathom Traveler.

Vicki Winters on Fathom Adonia Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Vicki Winters on Fathom Adonia
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

So, what’s being a Fathom Traveler?  Well, for Vicki, it meant being sick to her stomach and confined to bed for the first day of the trip. The ship’s medical staff, on the lookout for possible cases of Norovirus, did not want to take any chances when Vicki told them she was nauseous had diarrhea and couldn’t get out of bed. Ms. Big Fat Mouth was tested and quarantined to her room for two days until the results were in. Only Vicki! (lol!) Read about her crappy sick days here.

Fathom-Impact-Travel-Training-with Impact Leader Gil-Lang Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom-Impact-Travel-Training-with Impact Leader Gil-Lang
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

For the rest of us, our days on the high seas were spent learning how to be good Fathom Travelers. We were divided into cohort groups, a Fathom family of sorts,  to attend a variety of Impact + Travel Training sessions. The 45-60 minute sessions take place throughout the day and are a chance for passengers to meet fellow travelers, learn about the destination and impact activities. We learned how to work alongside and interact with the locals in sessions like “Spanish Phrases,” “Empowering English Tutoring,” and “Social Innovation In Action.” The leader of our group was the cute and knowledgeable Impact Guide Leader Gil Lang, a seasoned traveler with a history of  social impact work.  Speaking of work, even while on vacation,TV producers are always digging for information which meant Gil had his hands full answering Lora and my long list of questions.

Fathom Adonia pulling into Amber Cove, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Adonia pulling into Amber Cove, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic
Photo courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

By the time, the ship pulled into Amber Cove two and a half days later; we were ready to get to work. In the past, I have always enjoyed the Dominican Republic from the beach of an all-inclusive luxury resort. But this time, I saw another view of the isle. Puerto Plata, named by Christopher Columbus, means silver port. Mountainous and on the northern side of the island it was beautiful; reminded me of  Jamaica. Turns out the Dominican Republic is the second largest island in the Caribbean (Cuba is one and Jamaica is three). Amber Cove, the 30-acre waterfront property docking station, built for Carnival was going to be our home for the next few days.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | (VIDEO) Actress Taraji P. Henson Turns 45, Talks About #Fashion Week In The Caribbean, And Cookie Lyon’s Style

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, DR Reforestation and Nursery Group Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Fathom Travel, Puerto Plata, DR
Reforestation and Nursery Impact Activity
Photo Courtesy Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

When we arrived and boarded our activity bus, the question remained for me; how much of a difference could we make in three days, spending only a few hours working? We would soon find out. Our first stop was the Reforestation & Nursery impact activity, our chance to make a difference in the rainforest-one tree at a time!

If you are interested in taking a Fathom cruise, they are offering a discount link. Click here  and use the insider code 1530 to save on your next booking.

Coming Up:  Fathom Travelers: Making An Impact One Activity At A Time

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) |Sweet Swag From #SweetSuite15, Toys And Games For The Holidays

kayla and raph

December 15, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Social TV | By

mouse

By Alexis Trass Walker

From a toddler climbing inside a box and pretending that it is a spaceship to a teenager enamored with the latest video game, kids love toys. Understatement of the millennium, I know. But isn’t it true that every child (and many adults) love to get their hands on toys and games to entertain themselves?

Toy-buying can be tricky. As a case in point, I need to look no further than my four children. I’ve bought toys I thought they would love and they completely bombed. They’ve asked for toys that I felt sure they wouldn’t want because of their simplicity, and as it turned out, they loved them.

Blogger Bash/Sweet Suite  2015  at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, New York City

Blogger Bash/Sweet Suite 2015 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, New York City

I was curious to see how my kids would react when a box of toys and games arrived from Debbie Mitchell. She received them from this year’s  #SweetSuite15, also known as the Biggest Night of Play which took place in New York City on July 16, 2015.  Each year attendees are shipped home a giant swag boxes full of toys from the event sponsors. This year Debbie graciously passed the toys along to my family.

My twin boys–Devin and Donovan, who are four years old–quickly lost interest in the box’s contents and went back to watching Paw Patrol. However, Devin did come back and claim the little mouse pictured above. Bit Bit is one of eight stackable, plush animals made by Bun Bun. They are the perfect size for his hand and they’re soft and pretty cute.

Sophia (8) and Makayla (6) are at the ages where toys are magical and games that require higher-order thinking skills are not as difficult anymore. Here are a few of their favorites:

iq logic

IQ Fit, a puzzle by SmartGames, was an immediate hit. The girls love it, I love it, and their dad loves it. IQ Fit is a 3D-puzzle. The puzzle pieces have to be fitted on the game board in such a way that it turns into a (flat) 2D-image. One of the protruding sides of each puzzle piece has one ball and the other side has two balls. Depending on how you turn a puzzle piece, you get more or less balls. When the puzzle is solved, all puzzle pieces will fit on the game board without any holes uncovered. IQ Fit has 120 challenges and five levels. Not only is it fun, but it also makes you turn things over in your head so you can do the puzzle correctly.

Related Post: Repost | Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Christmas In August With 2014 Sweet Suite Swag

color alive collage

This Crayola Color Alive coloring book is the coolest coloring book I’ve ever seen. You can bring your child’s coloring creations to life when you download the free app. You simply scan the page your child colored, and you’ll get a 4D-image of whatever was colored. Sophia claimed this Skylanders coloring book, and after she colored a few pages I downloaded the app to my iPhone. As you can see, her creation popped up right on top of the table!

Qixels collage

 

Qixels is a craft where you add little pixel bricks to a color-coded template. When the pixel bricks are sprayed with water, they fuse together and you remove the design from the template. The design we got was a sword. It started off fun for Sophia and Makayla, but they lost interest pretty quickly. The biggest complaint was that the pixels were too small. In fact, the template itself was rather small, measuring only three-by-three inches. Makayla has the smallest fingers, but even she had a hard time adding the pixel bricks. Maybe we had a sample size and the craft actually does come in bigger sizes.

eye found it

DreamWorks Eye Found It! is a fun game of cooperation and teamwork that is supposed to build observation skills and attention to detail. The objective is for all the players to get to the movie premiere before all the movie snacks are gone. The board is six feet long and features scenes from animated DreamWorks movies such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and Madagascar. Players move forward by finding as many of pictured items as they can. I think this is a game that you might really like or really not like because either everybody wins or everybody loses. On one hand, Eye Found It! does promote teamwork. On the other hand, people who like to work on their own may not get as much pleasure out of the game. Overall, I say the game is a winner because if nothing else, it definitely makes kids pay attention to small details. That’s a great skill to have in life.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Film) | Lights-Camera-Jackson With Your Ultimate 2016 Animated Movie Guide

riddle cube

Like IQ Fit, Riddle Cube is a game of challenges. Up to four players get a shape-shifting piece and they have one minute to fold, twist, and stretch their cubes into shapes that match the challenge card pulled for the round. There are 200 challenges–some are easy and others are rather difficult. It is a game of logic and reasoning. My girls didn’t like it as much as I did, but I admit that I’m partial to these kinds of games because you have to make sense of something that seems impossible. Speaking as a former teacher, students who did well in school were the ones who made mistakes but had developed the ability to look at a problem in a new way and come up with a solution. Riddle Cube is fun and challenges those neurological muscles.

animal collage

And finally, meet Smoky and Ying in the top photo and Timber and Yang in the bottom photo. Wild Republic makes these plush animals, which are actually 2-in-1 toys. Smoky and Timber and Ying and Yang come one stuffed inside the other. If your child gets tired of playing with Smoky the bear, she can reverse the toy and play with Timber the wolf. These toys are soft and sure to bring a smile to the face of any stuffed animal lover.

If you still have some Christmas shopping for kids to do, there’s still time to order the toys and games here. They make good gifts that will be appreciated and used. For more of the great toys and games that were part of this year’s SweetSuite15 Biggest Night of Play  check out bloggers unboxing their SWEETSUITE 15 SWAG BOX click on to the  ToyInsider.com YouTube Channel

Hope you have a Happy Holiday!

Alexis Trass Walker

Alexis Trass Walker

Alexis Trass Walker is a freelance writer and copy editor. Connect with her on Twitter @alexistrass.

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Coming up: 

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 4 Ways to Stay Confident as a First-Time Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Steve Wilson via Creative Commons

November 11, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Entrepreneur | By

 

Photo Credit: Steve Wilson via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Steve Wilson via Creative Commons

By Deborah Mitchell

First published in Entrepreneur.com on October 5, 2015

When you are the boss, there is usually no one to pat you on the back for doing a good job or guide you through the daily obstacles of running a business. For the first-time entrepreneur, having no support can be daunting. A slow patch in business, a difficult client or losing out to a competitor may have you questioning your decision to be in business at all.

One of the biggest challenges is staying motivated and confident as you build a new business. So for those days when you are overwhelmed and frustrated by the daily grind, here are a few ways to keep your confidence up when you’re just starting out.

1. Seek out successful people in your field.
If you know of established individuals who are in the same business as you, reach out to them. Your startup is not a threat. Pick their brains for advice. If the leader of the company is on the speaking circuit or writes and shares information through social media, there is a good chance he or she will be available to meet or get on a phone call.

Reach out with an introductory email asking for a specific amount of time and outlining the top three points you would like to discuss. It is important for you to have a flexible schedule and work around their available time since you are asking them for help.
2. Never let them see you sweat.
Each day will not be perfect. Just know that getting discouraged from time to time is part of the business-building process. The key is to avoid letting your customers or employees see you sweat!

If a specific situation or client or employee relationship isn’t working, then take a day or so off to clear your head and regroup. Use the time to brainstorm with a trusted business associate, mentor or friend to figure out the best way to move forward. Once you come up with a plan, it’s time to get back to work.

3. Join a like minded group.
Support from friends, family or strangers can go a long way. Nowadays, social media contacts can quickly become very useful “friends.” Seek out and join Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit and Google+ groups related to your industry to find virtual friends. Local meetups are also a good way to meet people in person. These are the places to ask questions and exchange information.

4. Focus on one business step at a time.
A good friend of mine loves to use the expression, “Don’t compare your business beginning to another’s middle.” As a new entrepreneur, it is easy to look at the competition and think that is where you need to be. But if your competition has been at it for several years longer than there is no way you should expect to be at the same place. Your competitor has spent years making their mistakes and growing. Run your own race and focus on taking one business step at a time.

When it comes to being a business owner we all need a cheerleader, especially when just getting started. Having periods of doubt is par for the course for any new entrepreneur. I am sure successful business owners still have moments of doubt.

If you don’t have a cheerleader on hand, go out and find one. While you are searching for that cheerleader, use this time to dig deep, trust your gut instincts and believe in your abilities to get the job done. Working for yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but the rewards when you succeed make it so worth it.

How do you stay confident while building your business? Let us know in the comments section below.

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) |The Real Breast Cancer Awareness Message in The Month Of October

A mobile mammography event in Los Angeles, CA.  October 2015 
Photo Courtesy: Jackie Coco

November 4, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Social TV | By

Rhonda M. Smith, Founder of Breast Cancer Partner Photo Credit: Melanie Acevedo

Rhonda M. Smith, Founder of Breast Cancer Partner
Photo Credit: Melanie Acevedo

By Rhonda M. Smith

As another Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, I reflect back on all the events, activities, and media coverage that have brought attention to the cause and what October represents. This year, in particular, I have heightened sensitivity and awareness of what has been covered and promoted in the media. That is because I currently work as the consultant/ Project Director for a statewide breast cancer disparities initiative in California. Over the past 15 months, I have been engrossed in breast cancer disparities work, specifically addressing this issue among African American women.

There have been all sorts of articles published in the media during October about black women and breast cancer, along with the latest news, research, opinions, etc. about breast cancer in general. It’s enough confusion and information to make my head explode!

For example, now the new American Cancer Society breast cancer guidelines recommend that we screen later than age 40, and instead start at 45 and do so less often instead of annually. Six years ago, the federal government’s Preventive Services Task Force caused an uproar and confusion when it recommended that women in their 40s didn’t need to get routine mammograms; rather they should start at age 50. Someone get them a reality check, please!! I see on daily basis women in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s diagnosed with breast cancer – Black, White, Latina, you name it. These women might be dead by now if they’d followed that guideline.

So, while it’s great to get updated information on the protocol for breast cancer screenings and guidelines and how to manage your breast health, a woman, as well as the general public, can become fraught with the confusion that can often create the wrong perception and belief about how to manage her breast health.

A mobile mammography event in Los Angeles, CA.  October 2015  Photo Courtesy: Jackie Coco

A mobile mammography event in Los Angeles, CA. October 2015
Photo Courtesy: Jackie Coco

The notion of breast cancer disparities is not new news among African American women. However, despite the fact this health issue has been studied for many years, the media will lead us to believe the situation is not getting any better for black women when they are diagnosed with breast cancer.

There continue to be articles published in October about the plight of African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer. In the October issue of O Magazine, there was an article entitled “Why Are So Many Black Women Dying of Breast Cancer? Another popular article with a similar title written by the infamous Dr. Harold P. Freeman, “Why Black Women Die of Cancer” appeared in the NY Times in March 2014. It is a great article that provides insight as to why this is happening. There were two additional articles, entitled “A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black Women”, and “Black Women More Likely to Get Wrong Breast Cancer Care, Study Confirms”. I’m sure there may be even more articles on this topic published during October, but I’ve seen and read enough already.

After reading all of these articles, I started to get a little pissed off because it made it appear as though all black women experience this dilemma when they are diagnosis with breast cancer. Here again, another stereotype to contend with and to paint us in a not so positive light when it comes to our health and behavior. Now, I’m not saying that there are no merits to the contents of these articles, but what I am saying is that it paints a very grim picture and perception of African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer. The message breeds more fear among African American women that they have associated with knowing the outcome of mammograms. It also fuels the fatalistic attitude that exists within the community that “when you get cancer you die”. The messages in the media only make the individual mindset, myths, beliefs, and barriers that exist in the community much harder to dismantle. I deal with this every day in trying to educate, motivate and empower Black women to be more proactive about their breast health. It’s hard enough already without an extra “noise” around this issue.

While the statistics do hold true, and I believe that there are too many of our women dying unnecessarily of breast cancer, we have the power to change that and reverse this trend. To do so we have to start talking about African American women surviving breast cancer and shed the spotlight on how many of our women are “thriving” after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Myself being one of them.

Let’s start talking and writing about what we can do to survive this disease and be more proactive about our breast health so that we can rewrite the story of African American women and breast cancer. If we are diagnosed with breast cancer or any other chronic disease or health issue, we all need to become more proactive healthcare consumers and learn how to advocate better for ourselves and our loved ones.

Let us help ourselves and prevent the women in our lives who we love and honor from becoming a statistic. So, be vigilant and get your mammograms annually. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you given your family history and situation. And remember, early detection saves lives!!

Rhonda M. Smith, Founder of Breast Cancer Partner Photo Credit: Melanie Acevedo

Rhonda M. Smith, Founder of Breast Cancer Partner
Photo Credit: Melanie Acevedo

Rhonda M. Smith is the Founder of Breast Cancer Partner, a for-profit organization that works to empower women diagnosed with breast cancer to become their own health and wellness advocate so that they don’t just survive the disease but “thrive” during treatment, in recovery, and in their life beyond breast cancer. Breast Cancer Partner provides the tools, resources, knowledge, and information to help breast cancer survivors recover from treatment, restore their lives back to “normal”, and re-energize after treatment ends. Breast Cancer Partner also creates and delivers health and wellness education experiences to help survivors optimize their quality of life and well-being during and after treatment, improve outcomes, and enhance their long-term survivorship.

You can find Rhonda anywhere below at  www.breastcancerpartner.com, Twitter:  @BrstCancerPrtnr, Facebook: Breast Cancer Partner or Recover Restore Reenergize Your Life and LinkedIn: Rhonda Smith  

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 3 Ways to Give More and Be Proactive at a Networking Event

networking

October 15, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Entrepreneur, Social TV | By

networking

 

First published on Entrepreneur.com

How much do you give when you attend a networking event? When I met Mark E. Sackett at a networking event earlier this year, he told me that he found networking events to be empty and didn’t believe they actually work. I slowly looked around the room of hundreds of people ready to meet and greet and then asked him why not.

Sackett explained that people are too preoccupied with the sell.

“The reason for showing up at a networking event is to build your business, and once you have determined that you cannot do business with this person, the sorting process begins,” he says. “Asking ‘what do you do for a living?’ is a sorting methodology, a method of selling. Depending on the answer, people begin to shut down, they don’t engage, their body language changes, they start glancing around the room and they try to figure out how to extract themselves from the conversation so they can move on to the next more productive person in the room.”

Sackett says that people need to understand that it is not always about the sell.

“Don’t always make it about the sell,” he says. “We are well trained in the sell but not in the listening and giving.”

Related: Networking Is a Contact Sport

An entrepreneur, Sackett is also a speaker and founder of the networking organization The Art of Active Networking, where he encourages people to shift how they do business with the giving of themselves with the simple question, “How can I help you do better right now?” Sackett’s mission in business and life is to shift the conversation from “the get to the give.”

In a later phone conversation, Sackett reminded me that in the end, people choose to do business with people they know, like and trust. So whether it’s meeting at a networking event or somewhere else, here are a few ways to build a more giving relationship and be a better networker.

1. Make it a give and not a get.

Instead of trying to sell yourself or your business, work on building relationships. Listen carefully and engage with the person you are interacting with at the event. Practice asking these four questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What do you do for a living or what do you want to be doing?
  • Why are you here tonight?
  • What is it in life that you are most passionate about?

If someone states something that they need, figure out how you can help them by thinking, “What can I do to help that person do better?” If you offer to help someone do better right now, you are more likely to build that know, like and trust needed in a business relationship.

Once you figure it out, offer to help by giving them a business card and say, “I know a number of people who might be able to help you. Call me to get their information and I will make the introduction.” There is a good chance this person will call you and that is the beginning of a business relationship.

Related: 3 Reasons Your Follow Up Sucks

2. Follow up after your meeting.

Seventy-five to 80 percent of people who receive a business card at an event do not follow up. Sackett and I found common ground immediately by talking about something other than work. When you hand someone a business card, it is a form of respect and there is an obligation to follow up. It may take time, but you should always follow up. It is never too late.

It’s also important to know what you want and what you’re going to say when you follow up. If someone follows up with you, have integrity and follow back. Respond and say something: either advance the conversation or end it. If you follow up with someone, do not start with the hard sell, just say, “Hi, it was a pleasure to meet you. If there is any way I can help you, please let me know.” Offering up your network to strangers is a great way to break the ice.

3. Continue to show up for people.

It is easy to reply to an email and say “stay in touch.” Say it and mean it. Decide what you want and what you can give. Do your best to build relationships. I know I personally cannot send out emails each week. So when I meet people, I make notes about them: how and where we met, if we know anyone in common, their birthdays, etc.

Also, don’t immediately ask for a favor when you connect with someone. I will help you, but you also need to help yourself. Be clear about your ask, know what you want and be specific so someone can tap into their networks to possibly help you.

With about 135,000 to 150,000 people in his network worldwide, Sackett says there is an art to having conversations and building relationships. When it comes to networking, Sackett encourages people to “give their network referrals. Think of the people in your network, who can help the people you know or are having new conversations with and make an active, energetic referral for that person. Pay it forward and shout them out.”

Today, with social media, this is as easy as pushing a button.

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Stop Wasting Time, Especially When It Comes to Social Media

Photo Credit: Pixabay

September 17, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

social media management

Let’s face it: social-media management can be a big time suck. It is not an overnight process, but a strategy that is composed of a series of daily, time-consuming steps. Just think about how quickly hours go by when you read through Facebook posts. And that’s just one social-media platform. 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On August 17, 2015

Let’s face it: social-media management can be a big time suck. It is not an overnight process, but a strategy that is composed of a series of daily, time-consuming steps. Just think about how quickly hours go by when you read through Facebook posts. And that’s just one social-media platform. As entrepreneurs, we don’t have time to waste.

But it turns out, Americans are wasting a lot of time on things that are beyond their control, including waiting in a doctor’s office and standing in line at the DMV. A report also reveals Americans waste an average of 18 months of their lives sitting in traffic. Yes, sitting in traffic!

In two surveys of 1,000 people each for traffic-intelligence specialist TomTom.com, 88 percent of Americans say they waste valuable time every day — either on purpose or accidentally — and the cost, in dollars and happiness, can make a big impact on their lives. Those surveyed said they estimate that with every hour they waste, they lose anywhere from an average of $54 to $1,296 a day.

The same survey revealed that one in three Americans says they value their time above all else, with 81 percent admitting they are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut corners. With this in mind, I reached out to a few business folks to find out the most efficient ways for anyone including entrepreneurs to cut corners and stop wasting time when it comes to managing social media.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | An Unhappy Customer Uses Social Media To Drive Home A Message To Hertz

Brit McGinnis, a virtual assistant and coach for virtual assistants, explained one tip: “I always go in with a plan. Social media waits for no one, so you better be using your time as effectively as possible. I devote around five hours a day to social media, but it really depends on what my customers need.”

Having a plan and being organized in your daily tasks are definitely good places to start. I include social media in my list of daily tasks.

One survey respondent suggests, “Have a list of at least six things a day to do and do them. Stay off the phone as much as possible. Get up early. If someone does call, make it brief. Don’t stay on the phone all morning and don’t watch television shows that have no meaning.”

Tammy Cho of Encore Alert, a company that identifies a brand’s key mentions and trends in real time, says her team uses two principles to save time. First, Cho encourages business owners to prioritize.

“Rather than responding to every single tweet that comes your way, it’s important to prioritize the five to 10 conversations per day that will make the most impact for your business,” she says. “These might be influencers who are chatting about a topic in your industry, or when many people are using a trending industry hashtag (such as #NYCtech) — essentially a way to reach a lot of people at once.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social Media) | #TBT 3 Other Social Media Platforms You Should Consider

While more than half of Americans now use some sort of technology or device to help them save time, the TomTom.com survey revealed that people waste time at least twice a day, with 63 percent lamenting they waste upwards of 40 minutes a day.

The second thing Cho’s team does is automate social media whenever possible.

“Technology exists to empower humans to make the final, smartest decision possible,” she says. “Instead of spending valuable time manually reading through feeds of tweets, posts, and industry content to post, automate this process. Use tools such as Buffer to publish, Feedly to find fresh content relevant to topics you’re interested in, or Encore Alert to identify real-time trends and influencers.”

Remember, autoposting can be helpful for saving time, but pay close attention to your clients and the platforms since each one has its own message, language, and audience.

Finally, if you still find yourself wasting time in any part of your life, try to avoid becoming annoyed, frustrated, stressed or anxious. A few people in the survey claim the key to handling wasted time “is a good attitude.”

How do you save time when using social media? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) 2tvchicks: Ahhhh…if only

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT The Top 4 Basic SEO Principles That Increase Your Website Traffic

SEO

September 10, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

SEO

A few basic SEO principles can make a difference and increase any business’s website traffic. Photo Credit: Johnny Blaze via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On August 10, 2015

Blogger conferences have been a great resource for me as an entrepreneur. In July, New York City was host to two huge blogger events, BlogHer and Blogger Bash, where more than 5,000 bloggers gathered to meet with brand representatives and attend sessions to hone their online skills.

Sheryl Simonitis, vice president of marketing at Noodle, a destination education website, shared a few SEO tips that any entrepreneur can use. The startup allows parents and students to make better education decisions in an environment that is completely unbiased so that a child and parent can find the best resources for their needs. Parents need to be able to find the company in an online search, so Noodle is well versed in SEO and are always producing with the consumer in mind. This is an idea every businessperson should follow.

I followed up with Simonitis after the conference to find out the basic SEO principles that make a difference and increase any business’s website traffic.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Score More Customers With Your Website With These 4 Tips

1. Keywords

When you think about creating content, know the words that people are using to search. Every page should be built around keywords that are most important to you and your company. Do your homework. When you are producing pages for your website, use the best keywords on every post.

Google helps you with your keywords. When you start to type into the search bar on Google, it gives you suggestions of popular words or phrases that people use in a search. If you want to take it one step further, you can use a tool called Google Keyword Planner that will tell you popular keywords. It will tell you true numbers of how many average monthly searches are occurring with those keywords.

2. Image tags

People have images all over their websites, and I am always surprised when bloggers don’t identify the images. Google indexing sites need to understand what the image is and when it should be served up. You must tag your images. If there are none, Google does not know how to identify the image.

In WordPress, Yoast is a plugin that reminds you to label your images. With tags, Google will know what the image is, how to index it, where to store it and when to bring it up in a search.

3. Meta description

Right below your URL on the search page is a sentence that serves as the meta description. This is an important summary that tells people what they will learn on the page. You want it to be engaging and truthful and prompt people to click and learn more. Use call-to-action words such as “learn” and “visit” to engage people and encourage them to find out why the information on your page is important to them.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Why You Need An Exit Strategy For Your Business

4. Backlinks

One of the things that is highly valued in SEO are backlinks. Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one webpage to another — in other words, people linking to your website because they found value in what you’re saying. In addition, you’ll want to include hyperlinks to give your readers more useful information and to help build relationships with other bloggers.

Make sure that the links add value to your readers’ lives. You can never have too many backlinks for an article. You will build high traffic that will help you rise up in the results.

These are tips you can implement with your next blog post to potentially increase your website’s traffic and gain new followers or customers. Give them a try and see what they can do for your business.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) Actress Taraji P. Henson talks travel, Fashion Week Caribbean-style, and Cookie Lyon’s style

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Why You Need An Exit Strategy For Your Business

exit sign

September 3, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

exit strategy

When you start your business, have a plan for how you want to exit or transition from it.
Photo Credit: Chris Griffith via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On August 3, 2015

What are your long-term and short-term goals for your business?

Veteran entrepreneur Celeste Hilling, CEO and founder of 10-year-old lifestyle company Skin Authority, stumped me with this question a few weeks ago, but she definitely left me with something to think about. When I started Deborah Mitchell Media Associates a few years ago, I was primarily concerned about getting it up and running, but Hilling explained that an exit strategy should be a part of every business plan.

“At the start of your venture, have a plan for how you want to exit or transition from the business. This will help you be clear in your focus, share a clear vision for your staff, and navigate times when you are confused,” Hilling says. “You can use the end game as your compass. Does this decision put you within reach of your end goal? Do you want to sell the business to a public company, use it to produce cash for your lifestyle, or create a legacy for your children’s future? This decision will help direct your path in channels, distribution, brand profile, partnerships, media, etc.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 3 Luxuries I Left Behind When I Became an Entrepreneur

It turns out, without a detailed exit strategy, I have been working harder, not smarter, with no real plan for the end. Over the years, I have made several changes in terms of the vision for my business, an evolution that is not uncommon.

“This is very normal. Laura and I started DigitalFlash about five years ago and have narrowed the focus many times over the years,” says Sara Walker-Santana, co-founder of the digital agency DigitalFlash. “In the beginning, you want to say ‘yes’ to everything, but over time you realize this can hurt your business more than help it.”

Saying yes to everything is often tempting, especially when you are trying to grow a business. But saying no and offering a defined set of services could be a better route to go.

Walker-Santana says that “finding the one or two things your company excels at and that you enjoy doing, most of the time, is the way to go. You and your clients will be happier.”

Need help refocusing your business? Consider hiring a business coach and explain that you are interested in also developing an exit strategy for both the short and long term. In the meantime, Hilling shared a few tips for any business person planning an exit strategy:

1. Reassess your business.

Have a six-month plan. Again, what is the end goal for your business? Do you want to sell it or go public? With your exit strategy in mind, reassess your business every six months.

2. Is your goal still relevant?

As social media and technology make data available in real time, the business landscape is quickly changing. Are all of the indicators driving toward your end goal? What has changed? Is your goal still relevant to the competitive landscape?

3. How is your brand appeal?

Test your customers, suppliers, and partners for their perceptions of your brand and standing. Use the data you collect as input, but factor in your gut perceptions and perspective for the final decision.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Hey Loudmouth, Keep It Down! The 4 Most Annoying Cell Phone Habits

“There’s nothing quick about being an overnight sensation. However long you think it will take, double it. Whatever cost you think, double it,” Hilling says. “Don’t be surprised that it will take you at least five years, eight to 10 years on the average, to get to the end game. Make sure you have staying power in both cash and positive motivation.”

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) 2tvchicks: Ahhhh, If Only

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 3 Luxuries I Left Behind When I Became an Entrepreneur

yacht

August 27, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

yacht

More than one-third of people define luxury items as status symbols, and one in six believe luxury is synonymous with good quality.
Photo Credit: MayanExplore via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On July 27, 2015

During my decades as a well-compensated network television producer, I paid all my bills on time and spent money on my share of luxuries, including pricey vacations, restaurants, fitness trainers and fancy health clubs. Oh, those were the days!

In a survey of 1,000 people from across the country for personal training supplier Methodfitness.com, 60 percent of Americans agree that everyone should experience a bit of luxury in their lives. As to the meaning of luxury, more than one-third of people define luxury items as status symbols, and one in six believe luxury is synonymous with good quality. I agree with one respondent who said, “Luxury in my world is all the bills are paid at once.”

When I became a business owner, I had to find ways to drastically reduce my luxury spending to make my new professional life work. I’ll share the three luxuries I gave up to become an entrepreneur and tell you how I went from living a luxury life to living luxury-lite.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands And Bloggers) | A Hotel Bumps It Up A Notch: From Grand To Luxurious (VIDEO)

1. Luxury life: Health club memberships

I have always loved exercising and have belonged to a gym most of my life, even as a college student. Once I started working and making a good salary, gyms became high-end membership health clubs. In New York City, these clubs are pretty fancy, offering top-of-the-line classes and personal trainers, gourmet foods, spa treatments and more.

The health club initiation and yearly membership fees were almost the cost of a five-star vacation. A crazy splurge, but in my mind, it was worth it. I worked very hard as a producer, and this luxury was for my health. How could I deny myself?

Luxury-lite: Wearable workout equipment

As a new entrepreneur, the health club membership wasn’t a necessity. With no more trainers or high-energy sculpt classes, I had to be the keeper of my own workout. I discovered that walking and riding my bike, both free, are good options when it comes to burning calories. Add a Fitbit activity tracker and it’s like having a personal trainer again. Worn on my wrist, the tracker measures my activity data such as calorie intake and calories burned, the number of steps I’ve walked, the quality of my sleep, steps I’ve climbed and other personal intel.

Now I ride my bike daily and walk as much as possible. My version of the Fitbit even has a heart rate monitor. Who needs a trainer? While I still miss my hot yoga group classes, I think my new workout routine is getting the job done.

2. Luxury life: Last-minute vacations

Overall, 43 percent the people surveyed say they treat themselves to luxury items, and on average they do so more than twice a year. Taking a couple of nice vacations a year alone or with friends was standard for me. But I had a habit of booking tickets at the last minute and not trying to negotiate a better deal.

Luxury-lite: Plan vacations in advance

I still like to take vacations, but this entrepreneur appreciates a great deal. Now, I plan and purchase plane tickets months in advance and have become a better negotiator. While I still use my credit card frequent flyer miles, I have joined a travel group. I have a list of discount travel sites, including skyscanner.com and theflightdeal.com to monitor daily, and I always ask if a discount is being offered when I’m planning a vacation. I’ve found that most things are negotiable — all you have to do is ask.

3. Luxury life: Shopping in stores

When you are working every day in a professional setting, it’s important to look good. And while I enjoyed shopping for designer goods, I did and still do appreciate a good sale, and it turns out I am not alone. One in four surveyed says an item of clothing was the last luxury item they purchased. Nineteen percent purchased jewelry and 11 percent purchased shoes with an average $1,069 spent on luxury items each year. Six percent say they spend more than $5,000 per year on their dream items.

Luxury-lite: Shopping in the closet

No more shopping in the stores for me. I’ve found a new store: my closet. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few classic pieces that still work well. If you’ve invested in quality pieces, then you should be able to find a few new outfits by shopping in your closet. If you can afford it, it might be a good idea to invest in hiring a stylist or wardrobe consultant to help come up with different combinations of existing outfits. Consignment shops are a great resource for finding gently used designer items, as are sample sales. These short-term sales give shoppers the chance to get merchandise at a fraction of the price.

When it comes to clothes, especially in the summer, Katie Keating, creative director and founder of Fancy LLC, says this about her work team: “We’re lucky to be located in New York City where there are terrific sample sales all over the place all the time. We definitely spend less overall now that we have our own creative boutique vs. when we worked for big agencies, where … every day was a fashion show.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | A Grand Brand: When It’s An Island All-Inclusive Hotel

Don’t get me wrong. I still miss certain luxuries from my old life, and while my former trainer argues that a personal trainer is not a luxury but a necessity, I know better.

The survey did provide a bit of good news. Turns out, we tend to treat ourselves to fewer luxury items as we get older. Sixty percent of people ages 18 to 24 say they treat themselves to luxury items, but that number continually declines in older age groups, with only 36 percent of people over 55 saying they would spend their money on luxuries. Finally–an upside to starting a business later in life.

What luxuries did you give up when you became an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Lights-Camera-Jackson finds no saving grace in ‘Grace of Monaco’

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Hey Loudmouth, Keep It Down! The 4 Most Annoying Cell Phone Habits.

Photo Credit: Adam Fagen via Creative Commons

August 20, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

cell phone

We use our mobile devices for everything from talking to texting and, for some entrepreneurs, running an entire business from the palm of their hands.
Photo Credit: Adam Fagen via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On July 20, 2015

It is hard to imagine what we ever did without our cell phones. Today, we use our mobile devices for everything from talking to texting and, for some entrepreneurs, running an entire business from the palm of their hands. In some cases, people are so focused on their phones 24/7 that it’s easy to forget that not everyone around you is or should be a part of your personal conversation.

Since July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month, it’s the perfect time to remind everyone of a few basic cell phone etiquette rules. A new survey of 1,000 people from across the country reveals what Americans find to be among the most annoying daily cell phone habits by strangers and friends alike. What do you think it is?

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | 4 Favorite Apps For 2015: Meeting Your Mobile Needs

1. Yes, other people can hear you.

Turns out, having a loud cell phone conversation in public is the most-cited annoying habit, according to 77 percent of respondents. I agree. It’s one of my pet peeves to be subjected to hearing all the loud details of someone else’s conversation. In New York City, I’m usually riding the bus where several different people are talking loudly about everything from dinner plans to having to fire an employee at the office.

Etiquette alert: If you have to talk in a public space on the phone, keep the conversation short and use a low tone of voice. If texting is permitted, then send a quick message and arrange to continue the conversation later.

2. Stop texting. I’m trying to watch a show!

About one-third of those surveyed said people who frequently send text messages tops their list of annoyances. I believe actress Patti LuPone might agree with this one. She recently caught a theatergoer texting on her cell phone during LuPone’s performance of Shows for Days at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center. Annoyed with the bad etiquette, the Tony-winning actress grabbed the audience member’s phone and gave it to a stage manager. The phone was returned at the end of the show.

Don’t be the person who can’t put their phone away or turn it off for a few minutes–especially when you are asked to beforehand. The theater and movie theater aren’t the best places to have a conversation. And even if you aren’t talking, we can all see the blue light on your phone glowing in the dark as you text, so turn your phone off. Sixty-four percent of people are bothered by cell phone conversations in a movie theater, with 54 percent being irritated by a person continually looking at their phone while having a conversation.

Etiquette alert: If you have to talk or text in a restricted area, remove yourself from the space for the moment. It’s the courteous thing to do. Finish your conversation or text message, turn off your phone, and return to your seat.

3. Here’s an idea: Look up while walking.

While we are on the topic of texting, the survey reveals that other text annoyances include incomprehensible text shorthand, people who take a long time to respond with a text, and people who text while walking. New York City is filled with people walking with their heads down while they are using their cell phones. There was actually a video of a man who fell into a plaza water fountain as he texted and walked. And we all have seen the commercials about the dangers of texting while driving. You might think it only takes a second to compose and send a text, but it’s much harder when you are driving.

Etiquette alert: When driving, keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheels as you carefully pull over out of traffic. Once you’ve brought the car to a full stop, take a few minutes to send a text. Once the text is sent, put your phone away and then get back on the road.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Score More Customers With Your Website With These 4 Tips

4. Hello? A real person is in front of you.

Finally, when it comes to using your cell phone with friends and when dating, try to be mindful of that, too. Americans in the survey were divided on this one. Forty-four percent said people should keep their phones in their bag or pocket when out with friends, and 48 percent said people should do the same when they’re on a date.

Etiquette alert: I love to eat out with friends, and we are guilty of taking lots of photos of our food, as well as occasional selfies. However, on a date, I think the cell phone should be put away. It’s rude and inconsiderate not to give your companion your undivided attention. What’s so important that it can’t wait for anyone to be alone to take care of?

When it comes to poor cell phone etiquette, what annoys you most? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) LCJ’s Early Awards Season Preview: Best Actress

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Do You Suffer From Green Guilt?

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Creative Commons

August 19, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

By Alexis Trass Walker

Do you ever pause when you drink bottled water when filtered tap water is available? Do negative thoughts gnaw at you when you throw away items that you know could be used again? Have you ever mentally kicked yourself for leaving your reusable bags at home when you go shopping? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then you, my friend, suffer from green guilt–that persistent feeling that you should be doing more to preserve the environment.

I try to be a good steward of the earth and reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can. But I’ve been feeling some green guilt lately. You see, up until six weeks ago, I lived in a city that had a pretty good recycling program. I had a plastic bin where I could put my family’s paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass waste–no sorting necessary. Every Monday, I set the bin on the curb, and a truck from the city would come by and pick up the recyclables.

Now, we live in an apartment and while there are cans for recycling, some residents throw ALL their trash in them. I have a strong suspicion that all waste–trash and recyclables–gets compacted together, because nobody wants to sort through dirty diapers. I end up throwing everything in the trash. After making a habit of recycling for nearly 11 years, I feel terrible about what I’m adding to landfills now.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Lifestyle) | Are You Living Out Of Unpacked Boxes?

It’s a small consolation to know that I’m not alone in my green guilt. According to a survey of 2,000 US adults conducted for Aveda, the environmentally-conscious hair care, skin care, and beauty brand, 70 percent say they experience some guilty feelings because despite their best efforts, they fear they are not doing enough to protect the planet. Millennials feel it more intensely. Twenty percent in the 18-24 age range said they experience feelings of guilt every day.

Almost half of the respondents described themselves as more environmentally aware than ever, with 85 percent making daily decisions to try to help preserve the environment, including activities like turning off water while brushing teeth, recycling electronics and appliances, and using reusable bags and minimally-packaged products.

Dave Rapaport, Aveda Vice President of Earth and Community Care, said: “There is a real hunger to help, but people need practical help and guidance on how to best go about it.Our research indicates that the vast majority of Americans are trying to do what they believe they can, but sustainability is a complex issue and can be overwhelming for people to know how they can make a difference. Those of us who are in a position to help people find ways to contribute to helping the environment really need to step up to the plate.”

I agree that sustainability is a complex issue. There’s so much that the average person doesn’t know about the issue that it can be overwhelming to think about how one’s small efforts make any difference at all. Forty-eight percent of respondents admitted knowing only a little bit about environmental issues, 37 percent claimed to know quite a bit, and just four percent described themselves as experts.

Top on the list of important issues are air pollution, contamination of drinking water, and water pollution, followed by food safety, wildlife conservation, and waste.

Electricity and clean water are the two utilities people would miss the most, with nearly 70 percent saying that issues surrounding water–clean water and access to it–are extremely important to them.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 3 Rules For Doing A Headstand In Yoga That Help In Business

Rapaport added, “Many of these issues are things that we often take for granted, but we must continue to build an infrastructure of communities that advocate for safe and affordable drinking water. It is imperative for us to leave the world in the best shape we can for the generations to come.”

Seventy-three percent said they recycle to reduce waste and 68 percent recycle because it’s the right thing to do. Fifty-six percent said it helps to preserve landfill space and nearly 40 percent say it makes them feel good.

Among those who don’t take action, 27 percent admit to being “lazy,” while 26 percent contend that recycling is “inconvenient.” While I think everybody could take action for the sustainability of the environment in even a small way, I definitely understand how inconvenient those actions can be. For example, there is only one area for trash and recycling at my apartment complex. My building is far enough away from it that I have to drive the trash to the compactor. With four kids in tow, I’m not going to make several trips up and down the stairs and load up the minivan with various boxes and bags of waste.

I could take action in other ways. Specifically, I can keep an eye on how much water I use. Experts say that most people underestimate their water consumption. We think we use 34 gallons per day, but the US Geological Survey’s Water Science School says Americans use, on average, 80-100 gallons a day. Nearly half of all respondents shower daily, with 41 percent showering six to 10 minutes at a time, and over twenty percent saying they showered 11 minutes or more. Sixty-one percent say they would be prepared to shower less frequently and for less time to conserve water.

I’m not willing to shower less frequently, but I can certainly take less time in the shower. In fact, knowing my recycling challenges, I’ll find other ways to conserve natural resources. For example, I can use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies or even make some of my own with vinegar and baking soda.

I think it’s best to understand that it’s impossible to do it all, ditch the guilt, and choose one or two things that can be done wholeheartedly and consistently to reduce, reuse, and/or recycle. The fact is, guilt does nothing to actually help the earth.

Do you have green guilt? What are you doing or what are you determined to do to protect the environment?

Top 10 Most Important Environmental Issues

1. Air pollution
2. Contamination of drinking water
3. Water pollution
4. Food safety
5. Wildlife conservation
6. Waste
7. Energy conservation
8. Climate change/issues related to global warming
9. Biological pollutants (bacteria, viruses, molds, mildew, dander, dust mites, pollen)
10. Toxins

10 Things Respondents Are Doing to Conserve Natural Resources and Protect the Environment

1. Turning off lights when they leave a room
2. Turning off water while brushing teeth
3. Recycling electronics and appliances
4. Carrying reusable bags to the supermarket/store
5. Filling washing machine and dishwasher before running it
6. Air drying clothing on a clothing line
7. Buying products with minimal packaging
8. Buying organic products/products made without hormones, pesticides or other harmful chemicals
9. Purchasing naturally derived cleaning supplies
10. Making meatless meals

Alexis Trass Walker

Alexis Trass Walker

Alexis Trass Walker is a freelance writer and copy editor who blogs about grammar and other things at alexistrasswalker.com. Connect with her on Twitter @alexistrass.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) | My Boy, A Mother Cherishes One Special Job

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Do We Really Need to Shake Hands?

shaking hands

August 13, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

handshake

The way you greet someone is more telling than you think.
Photo Credit: Flazingo Photos via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On July 13, 2015

It was June 25, National Handshake Day, when I started to think about my handshake. It turns out, the way you greet someone, including your handshake, is more telling than you think. One story about the history of the handshake reveals that the hand grasp was a way to demonstrate peace and to show that a person was not carrying a gun when they met someone.

A recent OnePoll.com survey of 1,000 Americans found that 72 percent believe that the way a person shakes hands says a lot about them. While 66 percent of respondents in the survey say they are disgusted by a moist or sweaty hand, 46 percent say they find a loose or limp handshake to be displeasing.

Personally, I find a wet, clammy handshake from a man or woman to be unsanitary. A man using his fingertips to lead a limp shake is a complete turnoff in business. It feels weak and noncommittal.

“When it comes to people, I ‘judge a book by its cover.’ I bet you do, too. We can’t help ourselves. It’s human nature,” writes Marian Rivman, a New York-based public relations and communications consultant, in a blog post, “Do You Have Conference Curb Appeal?” Rivman goes on to say, “When meeting someone new, we give her/him the 30-second once-over. Is this someone we want to know? Someone we would be comfortable with? And rest assured, if we’re doing it to them, they’re doing the same thing when they meet us.”

Related Post: #TBT Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | The Power Of A Handshake

In a meet and greet, it usually begins with the handshake. The survey also revealed that Americans are cautious about spreading germs when shaking hands, with 64 percent using a fist bump as an alternative to a handshake. The fist bump is pretty much in vogue thanks to President Barack Obama. He was a presidential candidate when he used it affectionately to greet his wife, Michelle, onstage at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The bumpshake went viral. Now, President Obama continues to use the bumpshake with his family, friends, strangers, and in official greetings.

I see the bumpshake as a guy thing–not so many women are using the fist bump to greet one another.

I can completely understand the desire not to shake hands at all since I’ve seen people sneeze and cough into their hands and then want to shake my hand or open the door for me. Gross.

I’m not sure how Donald Trump is going to handle the presidential campaign trail, since he does not believe in shaking hands. He’s a mysophobe–a person who fears germs. I suppose he will be fine since the fear of germs hasn’t stopped comedian and television host Howie Mandel from interacting with the public. As a matter of fact, it became a part of his shtick when he was host of the now-defunct game show Deal or No Deal, where he greeted contestants with a bumpshake.

Trump has said in interviews that the handshake is “one of the curses of American society.” He’s clearly uncomfortable with the handshake. So what about other greetings around the globe? Sixty-eight percent of Americans in the survey admit they would feel awkward greeting someone with a kiss on the nose and 60 percent said they would feel uncomfortable touching foreheads as a form of salutation.

Having an eclectic group of friends from around the world, I’ve gotten into the personal habit of greeting folks with a single or double kiss on the cheek. I have to remember not to lean in for a kiss in business. While kissing on two cheeks is familiar to many Americans, 46 percent in the survey said that would make them feel uncomfortable. Better stick to the handshake, then. Just know that the next time you shake a person’s hand, be sure to give it your all because most people are judging you.

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Instead of a handshake, which of the “top 10 greetings that make Americans feel uncomfortable” would you use in business?

1. Rubbing noses
2. Kiss on the nose
3. Touching foreheads
4. Kiss on two cheeks
5. Kiss on one cheek
6. Deep bow
7. Back slapping
8. Bowing slightly at the waist
9. Holding hands together in front of your chest
10. Lightly touching hands and grazing palms

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) The summer’s five biggest flops

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Lessons From 4 Unique Female Celebrities To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Photo of Rihanna via Twitter

August 6, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

make your brand stand out

Photo of Rihanna via Twitter

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On July 6, 2015

Entrepreneurs should always consider ways to stand out when creating a business. What makes your brand unique? Is it the company name? The service or product? The tagline?

According to a recent survey of 1,000 people for North37design.com–makers of handmade, one-of-a-kind bags made from recycled sailcloth–more than half of Americans are drawn to celebrities who love to surprise their fans by changing their appearance and keeping them guessing what’s next. The survey revealed that stars with a distinctive style that stand out from the crowd don’t just attract attention, they endure. Celebs such Lady Gaga, Madonna, Rihanna and Katy Perry top the list of the “Most Unique Celebrities.”

As a business professional, your goal is to create a brand that consumers fondly remember and will recommend. With this in mind, here are lessons from four unique female celebrities to help you build an enduring brand.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Lifestyle) | It Pays To Be Different: The Top 10 Most Unique Celebrities

1. Katy Perry: Appeal to a broad range of clients.

In some ways, Katy Perry is like many pop artists of today: She can sing, she’s considered beautiful, she has a unique personal style, and she has serious business acumen. One of the reasons she stands out, though, is that she appeals to a relatively large fan base appealing to a mix of cultures, races, and genders. Not only will you find teenagers snapping up her music on iTunes, but those same teenagers’ parents are enjoying Perry’s music, too.

Having a niche audience can have its benefits, but it might potentially help your brand’s bottom line if you appeal to others outside of your target demographic. Beverage companies do this very well. For example, Coca-Cola owns brands (either fully or partially) all over the world that appeal to local tastes and they actively market to a wide age demographic.

Social media strategist Caitlin Burns has said, “Understand your audience. It’s important to know who you’re targeting. What do they do? When do they live online? So when planning a marketing strategy that includes social media, think about ways to potentially attract a larger audience.”

2. Lady Gaga: Own your business style.

From “hatching” from an egg for a performance to wearing a dress made of raw meat, there’s no doubt that whatever she does, Lady Gaga is unique and always embraces her style. Turns out, that is a good thing. According to the above-mentioned survey, 53 percent of Americans say a famous person’s unique style means they totally “own it.”

The same should be said of your business. Once you decide on your niche and brand, “own it” across all platforms. Be clear about the audience you want to reach, the services you offer, and how you plan to share your brand’s message. Be consistent with all of the above.

Like Lady Gaga, with her new look and sound singing alongside music legend Tony Bennett, the brand is new and consistent. No more meat dress days or poker faces.

3. Madonna: Reinvent your brand.

One of my favorite showbiz icons, Madonna, 56, was the queen of reinvention when I was younger, changing her look and sound regularly. Madonna went on to become the role model for Lady Gaga and so many other artists today.

When it comes to reinventing your brand’s image, don’t be afraid to make changes. The change can be something as simple as updating your website template or tagline. After attending a business seminar last November on how to craft a 30-second elevator pitch, I realized my company’s goals had evolved and I changed my company’s tagline.

In my recent piece, Score More Customers With Your Website With These 4 Tips, I outlined ways to keep your audience engaged on your site by changing your website template and colors and making it mobile friendly. It’s a simple, yet effective, way to freshen up your brand.

4. Rihanna: Survive and thrive after a public misstep.

Just like the rest of us, celebrities make mistakes and deal with indignities. The difference between them and us is that they are under the constant scrutiny of millions of strangers.

I recently viewed the BET Awards and watched Rihanna and her ex Chris Brown sit in the same room together six years after going through a very public domestic violence altercation. In 2009, the two were front-page news when it was revealed that Brown had beaten his girlfriend. Humiliated before fans, family, and friends, Rihanna was subject to the public’s relentless opinions about whether she should stay with Brown or leave him.

In business, if brands suffer a public setback or have to deal with a humiliating experience, both customers and competitors are watching to see what they do next.

“A brand should understand people will be looking for you to fail in your public setback. The question you then should ask is, ‘how do I ensure that the misstep does not happen again?'” says branding and marketing expert Jeremy Goldman, author of Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media. “Show that you have thick skin, and ‘lean into the situation.’ Acknowledge the misstep. Every situation is different. If it is appropriate, add humor to it. Humor is a way to deflect, to acknowledge the mistake without making the mood too heavy. If there is irreparable harm, then it should be handled another way.”

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Being unique has made these standout celebrities wealthy and has gained them loyal followings. And while some people say they would rather blend in and not draw attention to themselves, 43 percent of those in this survey say they would be pleased if someone told them their style was unique.

I firmly believe that being unique in life and business is a good thing.

Guillaume Fournier Montgieux, CEO of North37 Design, the brand behind the survey says, “It’s great to be different. It helps you to stand out and define who you are in a sea of people who want to be the same.”

By the way, what celebrity, male or female, do you admire in business? Let us know in the comments section below.

####

Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Screenwriter Diablo Cody of ‘Ricki and the Flash’

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Spending Island Time With Awesomely Luvvie Ajayi In The BVI

Luvvie Ajayi

August 5, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

Luvvie Ajayi

Debbie Mitchell with award-winning writer and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi at the Summer Sizzle BVI White Gala, July 2015
Photo Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Well, look who I ran into at this year’s Summer Sizzle BVI event: Ms. Luvvie Ajayi, the mastermind behind the blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com. Fresh off the plane that day, Luvvie joined the DMMA team for the White Gala fashion party.

Luvvie Ajayi

Scenes from the Summer Sizzle BVI White Gala, July 2015
Photo Credit: Top left photo by Ricki Richardson/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates. All others by Debbie Mitchell/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

The event, held at the Harbour View Marina at the East End of Tortola, was a sea of fashionistas dressed in white, the DMMA team included. Luvvie and I had been playing online tag with each other when I was at Arise TV, hoping to chat about the debut of the first ever Social Media Week Conference in South Africa earlier this year. While we never connected in person, I’d been keeping up with her via social media. Luvvie has been very busy traveling, preparing to write her first book, and skydiving for the first time. All this while finding time to speak at this year’s 2015 BlogHer Conference in New York City the week before and being featured in the August issue of Essence magazine. When I heard Luvvie and I would be on the same island at the same time, at Summer Sizzle BVI, I thought, Well, finally!

Related Post: Ready4Air (The Week Ahead) | Blogger Bash And BlogHer15 Take New York | Empire Star Taraji P. Henson In The BVI

Luvvie Ajayi

Debbie Mitchell with award-winning writer and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi at the Summer Sizzle BVI White Gala, July 2015
Photo Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz/Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

The writer and digital strategist had been on the road for a few weeks straight before arriving in Tortola. Once she got to the Summer Sizzle BVI White Gala party, Luvvie took a few minutes to chat with us. It was her first trip to the BVI, and she told us that being from Nigeria, she loves the islands and all that the Caribbean has to offer. Since it was a fashion event, I asked her about her style.

When it comes to fashion, Luvvie likes structured pieces that are preppy and is a huge fan of tuxedos and fitted blazers. Known for her long flowing locks, her social media followers went crazy recently when she cut them.

As for her interview in the August issue of Essence–its first ever global issue–Luvvie was part of a panel of seven women discussing ways to bridge the gap between women of the African diaspora. It’s a must-read, so get out and pick up your copy of Essence. And for more on Luvvie, head over to AwesomelyLuvvie.com and check her out.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT What Matters More, The Quality Or Size Of Your Social Media Audience?

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) Lessons from four unique female celebrities to make your brand stand out

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell – Graphic Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | DMMA In The British Virgin Islands At The 2015 Summer Sizzle BVI

July 29, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

View from Villa Del Sole of a rainbow over Mahoe Bay, Virgin Gorda. Photo Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

View from Villa Del Sole of a rainbow over Mahoe Bay, Virgin Gorda.
Photo Credit: Lora Wiley-Lennartz

This was the view we woke up to every morning while staying at Villa Del Sole on Mahoe Bay in Virgin Gorda. On this particular morning, producer Lora Wiley-Lennartz captured a beautiful rainbow while we sat and chatted about our splendid adventure in the British Virgin Islands. Now that we are back in New York City, I really miss that view!

Related Post: Ready4Air (The Week Ahead) | Countdown To 2015 #SummerSizzleBVI | Periscope With @SocialTVDeb In The British Virgin Islands | Professionals Dressing For The Heat

Summer Sizzle BVI

Bottom photo, from left: The DMMA crew–Darryl Harrison, Paul Thomas, Debbie Mitchell, Jacqueline Farmer, and Lora Wiley-Lennartz
Photo Credit: Ricki Richardson

The trip to the British Virgin Islands was part vacation and part work, as DMMA covered the 7th annual Summer Sizzle BVI Fashion and Lifestyle Weekend on Tortola. The event was hosted by Fox’s Empire star Taraji P. Henson who we got to interview exclusively.  During the day, our team (Jacqueline Farmer, Lora Wiley-Lennartz, Paul Thomas, Darryl Harrison, and I) enjoyed the relaxing beach, pool, and time at the house. Villa Del Sole & Piccolo Sole is a beautiful, sprawling, four-bedroom house in a natural haven overlooking Mahoe Bay on Virgin Gorda, a 30-minute ferry ride from Tortola. Thanks to artist and chef Paul Thomas, we ate like island kings and queens. At night, we traveled by ferry to Tortola or Beef Island to cover the planned events.

In true Caribbean island fashion, things moved on island time–a lot slower than here in New York and a lot more casual. One ferry operator asked me why was I running. I told him the ferry was leaving at 5:30 p.m. He said, “Well, it’s 5:28 p.m. and you should slow down.” I gave him the side eye. Turns out, he was right. We jumped on the ferry and it left, only to find out that that ferry was the 5:00 p.m. ferry that was leaving 30 minutes late. I got on the wrong ferry! Lol! I can laugh now, but it wasn’t funny then.

2015 Summer Sizzle BVI in the British Virgin Islands, July 23-26

2015 Summer Sizzle BVI
in the British Virgin Islands, July 23-26

Our trip was filled with lots of laughs on the different islands, including Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Beef Island. On each island, we made new friends and reunited with a few old ones. Our super-friendly artist and chef, Paul, also wore another hat–he was a DMMA “intern” on the trip. This was an assignment he quickly mastered while charming the locals and event attendees. Before long, our team was saying, “We are with Paul.”

Today, we take a quick look back at some of the highlights of our first Summer Sizzle BVI.

Related Post: Ready4Air (The Week Ahead) | Blogger Bash And BlogHer15 Take New York | Empire Star Taraji P. Henson In The BVI

2015 Summer Sizzle BVI in the British Virgin Islands, July 23-26

2015 Summer Sizzle BVI
in the British Virgin Islands, July 23-26

In the weeks to come, I’ll be sharing more posts about our amazing time in the British Virgin Islands. So stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

####

Coming up: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) 4 Ways For Any Business Pro to Close The Deal

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Score More Customers With Your Website With These 4 Tips

CKmk7ujUcAAwf4-

July 23, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

website traffic

This is a great time to increase your business website traffic
Photo Credit: Japanexperterna.se via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On June 22, 2015

With more and more people relying on their mobile devices to shop, it’s a great time to turn your business website traffic into potential dollars.

Neil Patel from KISSmetrics, a website analytics service that measures data collection, states that 78 percent of mobile searches for local business information results in a purchase.

So it might be time to update your old site or make sure your new site is up to par. Web designer Nay Ayache outlined a few strategic steps to keep your website ready for all those mobile eyes. Here are four ways to make your business website more efficient in an online-driven world:

1. Choose a clean web design.

As a business, your goal is to have a high conversion rate and establish contact with potential customers. Design is an important part of any website, but not all online portals are created equally.

You can create an amazing website without letting form overshadow function, so avoid unnecessary items that will make it harder for your audience to get what they need, such as banners on the front page or long paragraphs on your contact page. Avoid placing important information in graphics and on pictures, since search engines can’t read them.

If you must use banners to highlight your content, include keywords in the picture’s title, alternative title, and caption. If Google can’t index information, it might as well not exist.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT What Matters More, The Quality Or Size Of Your Social Media Audience?

2. Be mobile ready.

You may have noticed that the past year has seen an explosion of flat logos. This minimalist design is perfect for targeting mobile device visitors, as intricate designs may not look as great on a small screen as they do on a laptop. If your visitors have to repeatedly pinch their screens to access information, chances are they won’t visit again, and will move on to your competitor’s website.

The smartphone craze has forced businesses to now create responsive websites that automatically recognize screen resolution and resize the content to fit smaller screens. The website update to a mobile-friendly site may be costly, so comparison shop for a graphic designer who can work within your budget.

3. Work on search-engine optimization.

You may think that no one knows your business as well as you do, but SEO specialists may beg to differ. From the broadest industries to the tiniest niche, search-result-page positioning is determined first and foremost by how people look for online content and how they react to it.

Using keyword-rich content is important. Don’t simply rely on yourself to find those keywords. Google AdWords offers a great service that allows you to find all the keywords your audience is using to describe and look for your business. The service also gives you traffic estimates to help you make projections based on how well they will do over a certain period of time.

Registering your business with Google Places does wonders for SEO. Not only does it propel your website to the top of the search results, your business will also appear as a pin on the map along with all your information, including your website. This adds credibility to your business and may be a decisive factor for clients who wish to get information on the fly.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | 4 Favorite Apps For 2015: Meeting Your Mobile Needs

4. Stay ahead of your audience’s needs.

Keep your website up to date by making sure that promotions, specials, and product inventory are always current. Contact information, particularly your phone number, should be placed on the front page as well as a dedicated page easily accessible through the navigation bar. And finally, you can easily assist your potential clients with directions with a Google map embedded on the homepage, along with parking instructions.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) My Life In Television with Cordelia Bowe

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) #TBT Time Is Money, So You Don’t Have The Time To Lose Things

Photo Credit: David Gallard via Creative Commons

July 9, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On June 8, 2015

One of the ways I try to be efficient in business is to be as organized as possible. My rule, which I put in effect after reading an article about workplace efficiency, is to create a list of of eight things–six professional and two personal–to accomplish daily. So as I find myself spinning around wasting valuable time and sometimes money when I’ve lost something, it drives me crazy.

Recently, in two separate incidents, I misplaced my keys. First, it was when I was heading out the door to a meeting and I could not find my house keys. It happened again as I prepared for a trip out of town. I lost the keys to my storage unit with my luggage. The hunt for the keys ended up costing me 30 minutes of valuable time that almost made me late for my meeting and nearly miss my flight.

A survey of 1,000 U.S. adults for Bluetooth tracking experts Pebblebee.com revealed that one in five people lose or misplace personal belongings every week.

“It really doesn’t seem to matter how young or old we are, how busy we become or how free we are, no one wants to be in this disruptive situation,” says Nick Pearson-Franks of Pebblebee. “We spend a lot of time and money trying to keep track of all of our personal belongings, when really we could be doing other more important things.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 4 Effective Ways To Manage A Remote Team

While I rarely lose or misplace items, when I do, it becomes a distraction for me until I find it–preventing me from focusing on the business at hand. When I left a favorite umbrella in a New York taxi, I was determined to get it back. I spent at least an hour that evening using the receipt to track down the yellow cab. It was a waste of time.

Fifty percent of the people in the survey said they became frustrated the last time they lost or misplaced an item, and 28 percent say they search for less than a week before accepting the item as gone forever.

I admit to getting frustrated. I’ve spent a few hours out of a day searching before I give up, since I realize I should be spending my time in a more productive way. If an item (such as a set of house keys) can be easily replaced, then I will spend the money to have new ones made. Now, I’ve wasted time and spent money instead of making money.

Car keys top the list of the most common items lost, followed by cell phones and house keys. The research revealed that the most valuable item people have lost is usually jewelry (25 percent), followed by personal technology such as phones, cameras and laptops (12 percent), watches (6 percent) and clothing (6 percent).

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Networking To Build Your Client Base

A co-worker loses his cell phone on a regular basis–maybe every three months–and each time I cringe, since purchasing an iPhone at $300 to $600 a pop can really add up. But the value of his loss is right on track with the survey, which showed that on average, the estimated value of a lost item is $582.76 and that Americans lose an average of $5,591 over a lifetime.

This caught my eye in another survey of 1,000 people for TheTrackR.com, makers of coin-sized bluetooth tracking devices: 49 percent say they lose things when they are distracted, 36 percent blame multitasking, 26 percent are busy, and 25 percent say they are just plain forgetful.

As I continue to search around my New York City apartment for the keys to my storage locker, I wonder, is this newfound forgetfulness due to being a multitasking entrepreneur, or I am just getting forgetful over time?

What item do you constantly lose or misplace? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Awards season buzz in the summertime

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #Repost-Summer Fun Meets Social Good At Blogger Bash 2014

Blogger Bash

June 30, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

Denise Seegobin

Blogger Denise Seegobin

This post was first published on July 30, 2014.

Blogger Bash 2015 will be held July 16-17 in New York City.

By Denise Seegobin  

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Blogger Bash this year. Blogger Bash is a two-day conference, complete with events, parties, special guest speakers, and round-table discussions, all designed to create a more meaningful dialogue between brands and bloggers. Over the course of the two days, guests engaged with leading companies in various lifestyle sectors, including toys, technology, baby products, fashion, food, and more. Brands provided a first look at new products coming to market, hands-on demonstrations, and, of course, some great swag.

One of the highlights on the second day was the #EAEvents Social Suite

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | A Day Of Fun And Connecting At Blogger Bash NYC

This is where summer fun meets social good at this Element Associates party. We got to view the new Joseph Nogucci jewelry collection, got tips from Washdrops on throwing an eco-friendly car wash, helped AutoTexPink “wipe out breast cancer,” and much more.

Image

Let me give you an inside look at all of the brands that were there:

We viewed the new Miii jewelry collection by Joseph Nogucci. Miii bracelets are crafted from semiprecious stone beads and gleaming rhodium-plated magnets designed to bring all of your bracelets together in a perfect arm stack. Like individual charms on a bracelet, each Miii commemorates a specific milestone or memory. These are so reasonable that you would not believe that you could get so much for so little. They were beautiful.

No party would be complete without CoverGirl. They provided beauty services as well as CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss samples, which were given to all of us who attended. We were also treated to manicures and makeup touch-up featuring all the CoverGirl essentials.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands & Bloggers) Tips For Bloggers On How To Get A Toy Brand’s Attention

We received samples of Washdrops, an award-winning green car wash solution. There is a quick, easy, and environmentally responsible way to wash your vehicle. Washdrops uses only one bucket of water—no hose or rinse is required to get a beautiful shine. Washdrops is ideal for school and non-profit car wash fundraisers, too. What a great product for all of us to have!

Finally, we got Smokey Bear, who celebrates his 70th birthday in 2014. He posed for photos and shared birthday cake with bloggers. Nine out of 10 wildfires are started by humans, and Smokey Bear still plays a key role in educating the public that, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.”

The two hours here went by so fast. I loved every moment of it.

###

Thank you, Denise!

Coming Up: Mike Reveals His Best and Worst Interviews

Denise Seegobin

Denise Seegobin

Hi, my name is Denise. I currently live in New Jersey, but I am a New Yorker by heart. I grew up in Brooklyn. I am a blogger who is interested in teaching people how to save money on things you use everyday. My blog will focus on ways to spend smarter, and a way to harness your creativity by doing your crafts for different holidays and to keep the children busy. I also work with companies in reviewing products for them and sharing a lot of those findings on social media. Lots of times they are giveaways associated with those product reviews, so you can try it also.

Want to find Denise? Check out her blog at savingswithdenise.com and follow or like her at https://twitter.com/Nico2317http://www.pinterest.com/nico2317 and http://instagram.com/denisenico23.

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee. Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement, follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.

 

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT What Matters More, The Quality Or Size Of Your Social Media Audience?

social media

June 18, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

social media

Photo Credit: Jason Howie via Creative Commons

 

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On May 26, 2015

For some brands, massive social media numbers–whether their own or bloggers they are considering for campaigns–take precedence over anything else. This leaves me to ask, when it comes to followers and “likes,” does quantity trump quality?

Social media manager Jason Francis, of Social Media Samurai, says that “Quality trumps all. I know people with 30,000 followers struggling to raise $500 in a GoFundMe campaign, while people with 2,000 to 3,000 followers can move and influence them to the tune of $25,000.”

In an informal poll of social media managers, I asked, “What do you tell clients and brands that worry about the number of social media followers?”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT The 3 Things You Need To Know About Hiring A Social Media Manager

Diane Leone, founder and digital media strategist for Butterfly Social, a boutique social media agency that helps companies market their businesses using social media, goes through an evaluation process to identify the top three social media platforms that will work best for clients’ businesses.

“It’s about focusing on one or two of the best platforms for your business and really building quality connections on those platforms,” she says. “If you try to spread yourself thin, whether it’s across all social media platforms or trying to get huge quantities of followers, how will you engage with all of them effectively? I advise clients to go for meaningful engagements.”

Social media strategies are different for each business, but the consensus in the poll was that 80 percent quality and 20 percent quantity is an effective formula.

Social media strategist and business coach Sofia Pacifico, of Increase Your Social Media Reach, says she believes brands should get the quality on top and the quantity that is relevant for the business will follow.

“What I would say is: Do you want engaging and loyal customers coming to your door regularly? Or do you want a business full of people just ‘window shopping’ and actually not interested in your services and leaving empty-handed?” she asks.

The key to quality followers is authenticity in your engagement. The obsession with higher numbers has some brands seeking out “fake followers.” Yes, you can buy followers.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social Media) | #TBT 3 Other Social Media Platforms You Should Consider

Digital Megaphone founder and CEO Hope Bertram promotes authenticity.

“Something I always recommend to brands I work with is to make sure they are working with influencers who are building real audiences,” she says. “The website fakers.statuspeople.com is an amazing resource in checking to see if people’s Twitter followers are real. It drives me bonkers to see ‘influencers’ with fake audiences.”

The end goal should be to have the best of both worlds of quality and quantity, says Jarem Atkinson, a social marketing manager.

“But gone are the days where simply having ‘likes’ makes a Facebook page relevant or credible,” Atkinson says. “Actual engagement is what creates value for any company, brand, or individual on Facebook. And you can only get real engagement and community by having quality followers.”

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) Reporter go-to stories for the summer

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Skip the Coffee Meeting. Instead, Sweat to Success With Clients

yoga

June 11, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On May 18, 2015

When Elisette Carlson–founder of SMACK! Media, a marketing and PR firm focused on innovative and authentic brands in sports, health and fitness–authored a post for my blog about working out with business associates instead of meeting for food or drinks, it got me thinking: Now that the weather is getting warmer, I am considering new ways to connect with clients.

Carlson is a big advocate of what she calls sweat-working with clients. She says that going on a hike or a conversational run instead of a coffee date is a great way to build relationships. You connect with someone on a much deeper level because getting out of work mode allows personal sides and passions to show through.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 3 Rules For Doing A Headstand In Yoga That Help In Business

With this in mind, I reached out to Carlson for guidance on the best way to get started with sweat-working with your clients.

1. Make time to workout.

Prioritize your workouts. Ask colleagues or clients to meet for a walk or run or at a new gym to try the latest barre class. Lunchtime is a good time to get out, be it for a walk, a group yoga class or a boot camp event.

2. Approaching a client to workout.

Paint a mental picture of the sweat-working session. Talk about how it is a great way to break up a day of nonstop work and sitting at a desk. Make a suggestion to meet for a morning run instead of breakfast or a power yoga class instead of getting a drink after work. The worst response you can get is, “No, thank you.”

3. Figure out the best workouts.

Use good judgment about whom you ask and what you ask them to do. Consider workouts that encourage social interaction and light to moderate aerobic activity such as walking, hiking at a scenic spot, cycling, running or basketball. If your client is excited about a stronger fitness challenge, boot camps or CrossFit workouts are an option.

If your client is of a different gender, group workouts are probably a good idea. Invite some other colleagues from both companies and make it more interactive. A larger group hike or an introductory boot camp class together would offer benefits, not only to your specific relationship with that client, but it’s also a terrific team-building opportunity for each company.

4. Practice workout etiquette.

Make the workout convenient and appealing to the client. Suggest a place near their home or office and offer them options. Don’t force a run onto someone who might only be able to handle a good power walk. Don’t ask a client to drive 30 minutes to meet you at your favorite mountain bike trail.

Be perceptive about how the workout is going. If the client is out of breath, slow down a bit and keep it social. It is poor etiquette to sprint up a big hill and leave your client in the dust if you know that he or she is just starting to run. However, there is no need to let the client win simply because they are a client.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT How Much Should You Give Away For Free During A Coffee Meeting?

Carlson is on to something when she says, “In the end, some of your greatest friends will become those you sweat with, and in business, the best partnerships are the ones where people enjoy one another’s company and respect each other.”

I’ve become good friends with business associates who’ve spent time working out with me either in a hot yoga or spin class. It truly is a great way to level the playing field for a few hours and create a long-lasting business relationship.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) Sip, Suck, Swirl, and Swallow: Wine Tasting 101

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT The Startup Life May Be For You If You Have These 5 Qualities

Photo Credit: Jeff Turner via Creative Commons

June 4, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

Photo Credit: Jeff Turner via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Jeff Turner via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On May 11, 2015

Five years into my own startup–Deborah Mitchell Media Associates–I must admit that joining or creating a startup, whether you’re just out of school or in midlife, may not be for everyone.

“Hundred-million-dollar investment rounds and billion-dollar valuations have created a romanticized version of the startup lifestyle in the public perception. Some of it is justified and some of it isn’t,” says Joseph McKeating, president of marketing and public relations firm Pulsar Strategy, whose clients are considered early-stage startups in the technology space.

“To students considering joining or creating a startup for the glory, I’d tell them that there are easier ways to make money,” he continued. “If you want to reach new levels of freedom, do it. If you want to truly find out where your breaking point is, do it. If you want to remove the ceiling on your potential, do it. If you want to help change what it means to be a working human being in the 21st century, do it.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social Media) | #TBT 3 Other Social Media Platforms You Should Consider

If you are thinking about making the leap, then a startup may be for you if you:

1. Don’t need to follow the crowd

There will always be naysayers in any business, and you might not get the support you need. As a businessperson, you are your biggest supporter. You are stepping out on faith that an idea or business will work, and you will have to find others who believe in you and your vision. It’s not always easy, but you’ve got to go for it. If you’re OK with being a trailblazer, then a startup is for you.

2. Like living out of your comfort zone

At a startup, you may have to live without medical or dental benefits for you or your family. Health insurance is expensive, and when you are on a tight budget it might have to go. There are no guarantees in a startup, so you have to make everything happen. I’ve found that in a startup, it’s all about the ask. Your ability to ask for what you need, for money you are owed, or for collaboration on a project is essential. The worst you answer you can get is “no.” If you don’t have a problem asking, then a startup is for you.

3. Like working 24/7

I sent a text to a fellow entrepreneur at 7:30 a.m. the other day to see if she was up to take a call. She wrote back that she had been up since 3 a.m. The grind is real. Working from sunup to sundown is sometimes what it takes to get it done. Money should not be the motivator. If you are prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before, then a startup is for you.

4. Have money and funding

McKeating says, “Only a fraction of startups ever get funded, and if yours does, congratulations and welcome to a whole new world of pressure and problems.”

If you have the resources and you can afford to spend several years establishing your brand without worrying about money, then a startup is for you. There is always the possibility that your startup won’t actually see a profit for a while, so you need to be able to manage in lean times. If you are fine with putting in lots of sweat equity without seeing immediate financial results, then a startup is for you.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT What To Do When Final Payment Is Due And The Client Won’t Pay

5. Are good at wearing several hats

Startups are usually lean and mean. They are short on money with everyone wearing several hats, including content creator, marketer, accountant, and, of course, social media strategist.

“With startups usually short on resources, the personal desire and discipline to wear and own different hats in order to build the business is critical,” says Fred Cannone, director of strategic alliances and channel development at Telehouse America, a global data center services provider. “But equally important is having the strength of character to recognize when the hat doesn’t fit. Don’t force it.”

If you are able to juggle many responsibilities, often simultaneously, then a startup is for you.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) How to coordinate a food crawl

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Social) | #TBT Pin It To Win It On Pinterest With These 4 Tips

pinterest

May 21, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

pinterest

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Creative Commons

 

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On April 27, 2015

While Facebook is the leading online business portal, Pinterest is the only platform that embodies every brand’s dream to have millions of potential customers eagerly look through a carefully-curated catalogue. Those potential customers share what they see and love with their friends and followers. With more than 80 percent of pins being repinned, according to Mashable’s Lauren Indvik, Pinterest thrives on third-party advertising.

At a 2014 Savor the Success panel discussion, social visibility expert and CEO of Social Sage PR Donna Cravotta pointed out that “Twenty-one percent of Pinterest visitors make a purchase based on an item they have seen there.”

Pinterest has the marketing power. If you want to amp up your marketing game and pin to win customers, check out these four tips on how a brand can succeed on Pinterest.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | #Repost 4 Do’s And 4 Don’ts For Businesses Using Social Media

1. Understand Pinterest.

The Pinterest crowd is focused on the visual experience, so it is the perfect place to show off your brand. If your product is visually oriented–for example, a fashion or furniture brand or jewelry or graphic design business–then Pinterest is the perfect place for your business.

“On average, you get 20 minutes per session on Pinterest, according to the studies I’ve seen,” says business strategist Caitlin Burns. “Compared to others where it’s a couple of minutes for a check-in here and there, you know that when you’re on Pinterest you’re doing a bigger exploration. You’re looking longer and you’re searching more for the images and the ideas you’re trying to explore.”

2. Know the Pinterest audience.

The audience for Pinterest is older than other platforms. Women ages 18 to 45 are the biggest group on Pinterest. Parents are big, with 40 percent of people on Pinterest having children, so you see a lot of parenting advice and family activities. Mothers tend to do a lot of exploring and spend more time on Pinterest than on other platforms.

3. Make your brand pinnable.

Include Pinterest on hover buttons with different functions and images at the top of blog posts and website pages for smooth sharing. No need to be brief–long descriptions do well on Pinterest. Hashtags on Pinterest are search queries, so create a keyword-rich paragraph to make your pin searchable and easy to find.

Cravotta also advises brands to include dollar signs in a pin’s description so it automatically becomes part of gift guides, as well as a link to where the item can be purchased.

4. Organize your pins.

The only way to create a discovery experience that pays is to avoid chaos. Use more than one Pinterest board, and make sure that each board tells the story of one aspect of your brand. Keep in mind that Pinterest started as a tool to keep collections online, so make sure your collections are clearly cataloged. While a Facebook post has a greater chance of getting lost in your audience’s news feed, a pin has the advantage of never losing its shelf life.

Potential customers are most likely to find your brand by name or discover your pins as a result of a search, so it pays to be organized. Do this right, and you will become part of an endless repinning experience.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | Social Media Trends: Moving Beyond Facebook And Twitter

On social media, the need for a first-person voice is key for brands to succeed in connecting with their customers. As the business owner, always be mindful of mixing your personal pins with your professional pins. To be safe, consider switching to a business page. Your audience will not know the difference, and you will have access to analytics, metrics, and more efficient technical assistance and support.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) A Top 10 send-off to David Letterman

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 3 Rules For Doing A Headstand In Yoga That Help In Business

Photo credit: Tenzin Senge

May 7, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

Photo credit: Tenzin Senge

Photo credit: Tenzin Senge

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On March 16, 2015

I have been a yoga practitioner on and off for several years, but I threw myself into a regular practice when I lost my job in 2010. Four times a week, I attended morning hot power vinyasa class. While my standard poses were easy to master and repeat, I found that having a wall behind me was a must when it was time to do a headstand.

One day, my yoga teacher at the time, Sherman Morris, told me to move away from the wall and never use it again. He assured me that I would be fine. I was nervous and scared. Just like losing my 10-year-old network television producing job, I wouldn’t have a safety net. But over time, he was right. The fear went away, and you know what? I was eventually able to stand on my head without using the wall for support.

Look mom, I’m doing a headstand!

I have found that several of the rules I practiced while learning to do that headstand are quite useful for being a business owner. Here’s how to transfer those empowering tips.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Sweat Working: Bonding With A Client Over A Workout

1. Create a stable base.

When you are in a headstand, you are supporting your entire bodyweight on your head, but the head cannot do it all. To do a bound headstand, Sherman showed me how to form a triangle base by clasping my fingers on the floor behind my head on the ground. This allows my forearms to serve as stands, providing a stable base.

If you are going to use your head for your business, you need to build a base. The right professional team is efficient, creative, reliable, and present in the business you are building. Take the time to identify your team members’ strengths and weaknesses, and put them in the best position for their skills to shine. This way, you can concentrate and create a strategy for the company’s big picture.

2. Work on your balance.

Once you’ve established the base for your headstand, you should be able to use your core strength to lift–not jump with flailing legs–into the air. If you cannot, then you may need to strengthen your upper body for stronger balance.

More and more employers are incorporating wellness programs, including yoga, into their employees’ work regimen. As a new entrepreneur, you are responsible for everything. The 24/7 entrepreneurial grind can be all consuming, so take time to unplug and have quiet time. It’s a good way to refocus, re-energize, and manage stress. Prayer, meditation, and/or yoga might be lifesavers.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 3 Questions To Ask To Determine If You Are A Good Leader

3. You will fall.

The first thing to realize in doing a proper headstand, as in business, is that falling is part of the journey. Without the wall, I was worried I would hurt or embarrass myself in a class of strangers, but my first fall was uneventful. No one except my teacher cared if I was all right. I went on to fall a few more times.

In early 2013, I realized I needed to sever a partnership and decided to relaunch my company. How could I do it less than a year into my business? I did it, and it did not matter. Since then I’ve walked away from any relationship that does not work for me or my business.

When people ask, I tell them, “We decided to go our separate ways. I am still available to do the work.” It’s always okay to walk away as long as you keep moving forward.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) Letting food tell the story in a cooking segment

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #Repost: 4 Times You Need To Say Goodbye To A Client

Photo credit: Billy Frank Alexander Design

April 29, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

Photo credit: Billy Frank Alexander Design

Photo credit: Billy Frank Alexander Design

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On April 13, 2015

Nobody likes a break up, whether it is personal or in business. When you are an entrepreneur, it is inevitable that some business relationships may not work out. Perhaps there are one too many late payments, a clash in business style, or there is never a meeting of the minds. Whatever the situation, either a business owner will have to end the relationship or, as it was in my case, the client walks away.

A few months into a recent business relationship, I could see that it was going to be challenging for a variety of reasons, but our team was determined to make it work. In the end, the strain and stress of trying to work together proved to be too much for everybody. When I recently received this note from the client, I was initially disappointed, but not surprised and very relieved. The client beat me to the punch.

“I know that it has been a long process and frustrating on all sides and appreciate greatly the work that has been done. I think our calls and the back and forth that we have had have shown clearly that we are not a great match, both in communications as well as outcomes. I think at this time it would be best to finish the work together.”

In hindsight, it may have been better to end the relationship months earlier, and as difficult as it is to sever a business relationship, there are a few sure-fire signs when it is time to say goodbye in a business relationship.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | 3 Questions To Ask To Determine If You Are A Good Leader

1. The client is not fully invested in the project.

When you are trying to deliver the goods in an efficient, timely, and professional manner, all parties involved need to be present and prepared–especially the client. It’s difficult to make progress when a client is absent or unable to fit you into their busy calendar. Since time is money, set the ground rules as to what you expect. It is wise to include a calendar of deadlines and an exit strategy for the project if it is delayed over a specific period of time.

2. The project changes over time.

While it is important for a client to have a vision of what they want at the start of a job, it is easy for someone to get caught up in the creative process and expect you to deliver all their many “new” creative ideas. If a project starts off in one direction and eventually starts to morph into something completely different, then it might be time to stop and re-evaluate. If the project is still in your wheelhouse and doable, then you may have to negotiate your fees and guidelines moving forward. If the client expects more for less, then it’s time to go your separate ways.

3. Money is an issue.

“If a client consistently nitpicks over every bill without acknowledging the caliber of the work, pays late, lies about making a payment, or a combination of all three, it’s probably time to split,” according to New York-based professional bookkeeper Justine Lackey of Goodcentsbookkeeping.com. “Quality work is expensive, and some misunderstandings around billing or invoicing are bound to happen. Even so, if someone is derogatory, constantly argues over invoices or questions if the work was actually done, it’s a strong indication that the client relationship isn’t healthy.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 3 Ways To Stay Motivated To Lead Your Business

4. There is a breach of contract.

Hopefully, you have put the terms of your business dealings in writing. Situations such as mine illustrate why it’s important that you do. If the client fails to uphold their end of the bargain, you can’t do the job you’ve been hired to do. This affects you personally and professionally. A client who goes against the agreed-upon terms is not a client you want to have.

As a business owner, your ideal goal is to always please your customer. Your clients deserve the best, and if you can’t give them 100 percent, break it off. If possible, make some suggestions about who might be a better fit to do the job.

Remember, you want to keep your reputation intact, so business relationships should be ended with grace and professionalism. By the way, the above client who ended work on their recent project wants to revisit our professional relationship in the near future, this time working on something completely different.

Have you ever had to end a business relationship with a client? How did you know the relationship was over, and how did you end it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) CBS’s “The Dish” wins its first James Beard Foundation Award

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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