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) 3 Signs That You Should Shut Down Your Business

business woman

October 23, 2015 | Posted in Entrepreneur, Social TV | By

business woman

First appeared in Entrepreneur.com

By Deborah Mitchell

I haven’t spoken to an entrepreneur yet who has not thought about walking away from a business at one time or another, especially if the business is only a few years old. The grind, lack of money and pure fatigue are usually the top reasons why business owners are ready to throw in the towel.

Rene Syler, CEO and founder of lifestyle brand Good Enough Mother, discussed in a recent blog post that she is still surprised when people complain about how much work is needed to build a brand:

“This is hard! It’s supposed to be. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it. There is not a timeline, no expiration date. You just have to keep going until it pays off. Or quit.”

Making the choice to quit your business is not an easy one. Owner and publisher Julie Wilson made the difficult decision this spring to close the doors of her Kentucky lifestyle magazine, Story, after almost four years.

“My passion for storytelling was no longer what was driving my business, and therefore, it wasn’t honest,” she says, adding that she knew it was time to let it go.

If you are business owner who is not sure if it is time to shut your doors, here are Wilson’s telltale signs that it might be time to close up shop.

1. You don’t recognize yourself anymore.

As a business owner, you want to be a better version of yourself. You may be a little different, but not completely unrecognizable. Wilson says she eventually morphed into someone she didn’t know anymore.

“I realized that toward the end, I was working so relentlessly to save the business that I had become a completely different person,” she says. “I was no longer the wife and mother I wanted to be. The business version of myself was a bit uncomfortable, though. The Julie I knew would never be using terms like ‘P&L statements’ or ‘accounts receivable,’ but I did what it took. I drafted a real business plan, then a working strategic plan, and all of this has to be referred to on a regular basis to make sure you stay on track. The snowball effect takes over, and you just try to stay one step ahead of it.”

2. It’s too much to handle.

As a business owner, you cannot and should not do everything yourself. It is a recipe for disaster. A business needs someone to plan present and future strategy, handle day-to-day projects, market and promote and handle the finances. If the business is expected to grow, then you need a bigger team.

“For the majority of the time we were in business, we had a daily staff of two that did everything from sales to publishing,” Wilson says.

With such a small staff, she admits that “marketing got the shaft.”

“One of the heaviest facepalm moments that I still struggle with is that we received a huge order for our last issue (more than double the number from the previous issue), but we were just too small to meet the demand,” Wilson says. “We created a champagne product on a watered-down Pabst budget, but in the end, there wasn’t even enough beer left.”

3. The thrill is gone.

It’s thrilling to say that you own a business, to hand out your cards and to find your website in a Google search. But the business of running your business can eventually take toll. As the boss, you are responsible for everything, including producing goods and services, payroll, providing health benefits and good customer service.  It’s a lot to juggle and maintain.

“I am a journalist by profession, but as the owner, the business side took more of my time than the creative,” Wilson says. “In the beginning, it was exciting — like I was doing research for an article about what a CEO looks like. Quickbooks, payroll, revenue reports — I learned all of it. I always felt like my type A/creative personality was a slam-dunk for playing the role of business owner. And I still think it is — I mean, I won the 2014 NAWBO Small Business of the Year Award — but when the business demands started overshadowing the time I could spend developing content, the creative spark was growing faint.

“When playing the role of CEO becomes a façade and not just a part of who I am, that’s a telltale sign,” she continues. “One area where I have stayed true to my personality is that I am one gutsy broad, and it took as much guts to call it quits as it did to start the business. For the first time in 15 years, I will not be working on a print magazine — and I’m OK with that.”

For some entrepreneurs, quitting is not an option. I circled back to Rene Syler, who has been building the Good Enough Mother brand for the last 10 years and asked her if she has ever experienced any of the above signs.

“Yes, I have. Every single one of them. But they typically plague me when I am tired or stretched too thin,” she says. “How do I handle them? I put myself in time out. For real. I understand that what I am doing, building a brand, takes time. Building anything of value does. So when I feel myself getting burned out, I take a step back, understanding that this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Syler also believes in measuring your success in realistic terms.

“Sometimes, I take a look back at where I was a year ago and compare that to where I am now. That gives me a more accurate picture and reminds me that I am making progress, even if it’s not as fast as I would like it to be,” she says. “I would just urge people to ask a couple of hard questions: What are you going to do if you do throw in the towel? Are you willing to forego calling your own shots for a steady paycheck with less freedom? Is what you are feeling the result of short-term fatigue? Can you just take a step back and get rested? It’s not for everyone, but as difficult as it is, quitting now is just not an option for me, and I can’t see a time when it ever will be.”

Saying goodbye to a business can be an emotional and conflicting journey. When I spoke to Wilson by phone recently, she told me that even though she’s 99 percent sure she made the right decision in closing her business, there is still that nagging feeling that maybe she can start it again.

Have you ever closed or thought about closing a business? When did you know it was time to close the doors for good? Share your story 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) | #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.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | Public Relations 101: Choosing A PR Firm For Your Business

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.  

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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.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 4 Ways For Any Business Pro To Close The Deal

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.

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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.  

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Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT 4 Ways For Any Business Pro To Close The Deal

shaking hands

July 30, 2015 | Posted in Social TV | By

close the deal

Once the meetings are done and all the questions have been answered, the only thing left to do is to close the deal.
Photo Credit: Flazingo Photos via Creative Commons

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On June 29, 2015

Once the meetings are done and all the questions have been answered, the only thing left to do is to close the deal. As an entrepreneur, you are usually bidding against a competitor, and while you might be able to bring the deal to the table, the deal is not done until all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.

Lets face it: getting a client from the request-for-proposal stage to actually signing on the dotted line can be a stressful and daunting task. But with a few tips, any business person can be a better closer.

For the past decade, New York Times bestselling author and personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox and her husband, Earl, have run the profitable TheMoneyCoach.net, LLC, a financial education business. Lynnette has a few useful ways for any entrepreneur to successfully close a deal:

Related Post: Ready4Air (Repost) | 5 Things To Do Before Saying ‘I Do’ To A Business Partner

1. Sweeten the deal.

Closing a deal is sometimes a matter of giving a client an extra incentive to do business with you instead of your competitors. One way to do this is by sweetening the deal–either at the beginning of the sales process or right near the close when the customer is weighing a purchase or seems to be wavering on finalizing the transaction.

You can sweeten the deal by throwing in freebies that have high perceived value. Other ways of sweetening a deal include adding support services, ancillary products, or one-on-one help that the customer may desire.

Smart entrepreneurs know what their clients value most–whether it’s cost, quality, performance, convenience, or other benefits. Savvy entrepreneurs add sweeteners to help satisfy their customers’ wants and needs.

2. Let customers pay how they want.

Many entrepreneurs lose out on snagging paying customers because the business owner is too rigid in the payment process, or they’re woefully out of touch with how customers want to pay.

Depending on your target customers, some clients want to pay using more traditional methods, such as credit cards, checks, or cash. But with advancements in digital technology, other clients may prefer to use online or mobile payment methods, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet.

Those who are open and willing to accept a broader range of payments will diversify their client base, establish or maintain a broader income stream, and close more deals.

3. Negotiate from a position of strength (not need or greed).

Knowing how hard to negotiate is always tricky for entrepreneurs hungry to close more deals. But just because you’re seeking additional revenue doesn’t mean you should cave in and drastically slash your prices at the first sign of a price objection.

It’s just as counterproductive to succumb to desperation as it is to fall victim to greediness. As hard as it can be, need and greed shouldn’t rule your decision-making during business negotiations. Instead, you should negotiate from a position of strength, based on your unique features, benefits, capabilities, or offerings.

When you have a really strong sense of what you and your products or services are worth in the marketplace, don’t be afraid to ask for pricing that reflects your value. You’ll close deals with the right customers–and sidestep those who aren’t in your sweet spot.

Too many entrepreneurs sell themselves short in the hunt for new business. That’s a big mistake. It’s harder to raiser prices later, especially on existing customers. So it’s better to set your pricing accurately and accordingly from the get-go, and update prices gradually as necessary or as market conditions change.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) | Public Relations 101: Choosing A PR Firm For Your Business

4. Offer a (nearly) free trial.

A final way to close a deal is to offer a free (or nearly free) trial offer of the product or service you’re selling. Some examples are 30 days of complimentary service, a “no money down” purchase for a piece of equipment, or a month-long subscription/trial offer for free or deeply discounted software.

A free or almost free trial can be an easy, low-risk way for a new client to give your offerings a try. So by tempting a customer with an offer that’s cost-free, or virtually so, you greatly increase the chance of turning that prospect into a paying client.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Tom Cruise in (and out of) control

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) | 3 Questions To Ask To Determine If You Are A Good Leader

Photo credit: www.celalteber.com

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

Photo credit: www.celalteber.com

Photo credit: www.celalteber.com

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On January 26, 2015

As an entrepreneur, what is your leadership style? I’ve worked for a variety of bosses over the years, all with very different personalities and leadership styles. Some were obsessive micromanagers while others were hands off and provided no guidance as a manager, leaving me to figure out more than a few important things for myself.

When you Google leadership styles, one of the first results is courtesy of Wikipedia, which gives the textbook definition of leaders as such: “They range from the grouchy, live-in-fear type of boss, to the merry pack leader who builds a relationship of trust with his subordinates in order to increase productivity.” Further research reveals that good leadership traits include good communication skills, creativity, and the ability to inspire workers, all while keeping their staff motivated.

If you are an entrepreneur or plan to become one, ask yourself these three questions and determine what you should do to improve your leadership style.

1. Are you approachable?

A company is not measured by the number of employees, but rather, by the employee culture it promotes and the ability of its leader to generate feelings of loyalty and a sense of purpose among his staff. Work performance is more likely to increase when leaders maintain an open-door policy, engage in non-work related conversations, show a sense of humor and stand by their employees when they are facing challenges.

Implementing a better leadership style:

A good exercise in sound leadership is to encourage activities outside the workplace. Activities where the boss joins along–even for an hour–such as training for a marathon, volunteering, taking yoga classes, or attending a skill-acquisition workshop are all good ways to be approachable and build team camaraderie. It is also a great way to empower team members and provide them with a sense of purpose other than only focusing on the company’s bottom line.

2. Have you created a climate of security?

Creating a climate of security within an organization is a key component to any employee-retention strategy. Bosses should create a bond with employees, often reminding them of their worth and praising them for their performance. In smaller businesses, they should be kept in the loop about upcoming projects and given the sense of security that comes with knowing that they are building their careers on solid ground.

Implementing a better leadership style:

Adding a personal touch–something as simple as knowing an employee’s name or a personal email complimenting them on a job well-done–can go a long way. If there is a problem or challenging situation at the office, meet with the team in person or send an email to address it. Don’t leave it to your managers to handle.

If your company is very large, employees realize that a true friendship with a boss may not be likely, but they want to feel that their contribution counts or at least is being acknowledged. If you are running a small company, then it’s easy to jump on the phone and talk in person when a job is well done.

3. Are you leading by example?

Are you behaving in an unprofessional manner? Employees notice everything, including the behavior and business ethics of their superiors. So if you are cutting corners, lying to employees or clients, or misappropriating funds–you get the picture–your employees have little reason to respect you as a leader. Besides, a sloppy boss will not have enough credibility to criticize a sloppy team!

Implementing a better leadership style:

A leader should lead by example, be reliable and credible, and care about their reputation as well as the company’s reputation. When it comes to a leader’s work performance, hold yourself to a higher standard–one your team wants to emulate. If employees see you being professional, going the extra mile and/or caring about the work in the way you want them to, then you bet they will want to do the same.

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

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Jackson Murphy’s 3rd Annual “May Box Office Derby” Picks

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) | The Biggest Lessons I Learned Working Solo In 2014

2014 American Express Open Forum: CEO Bootcamp
Photo credit: Deborah Mitchell Media Associates.

January 6, 2015 | Posted in Entrepreneur | By

2014 American Express Open Forum: CEO Bootcamp Photo credit: Deborah Mitchell Media Associates.

2014 American Express Open Forum: CEO Bootcamp
Photo credit: Deborah Mitchell Media Associates.

 

First published on Entrepreneur.com
on December 22, 2014

Each year, I learn something new about being a business owner, and 2014 is no different. The lessons this year are both big and small, but no matter the size, I’m very grateful for all that I’ve learned and continue to learn as an entrepreneur.

When it comes to lessons learned in 2014, here’s what’s trending on my list:

1. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

Collaborations are great options, especially if you are a solopreneur. A couple of years ago, it was clear that having a business partner was not the best option for me. The decision to be a solopreneur was an easy one since I realize that collaborating with individuals was another viable option. All you have to do is ask.

Related Post: Ready4Air | My 2013 Best And Worst Business Moves As An Entrepreneur

When you find the right person to work on a project with, it can be beneficial to both of you. Collaborations allow you to work with someone on an as-needed basis. You can create a project contract with agreed terms and move forward from there. Once the contract is signed, this allows both parties to work together for a limited amount of time.

If the business arrangement is a good one, you will work together again. If the business arrangement doesn’t work out, then, hopefully, you can finish the project together and never have to see each other again.

It is probably a good idea to have release windows in longer contracts so that if the working arrangement is difficult, there is an opportunity to end the relationship sooner rather than later.

2. Money isn’t everything

Yes, I said it! Money is important and we should all get paid for our services, time and talent. However, sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. If a client cannot meet your dollar amount right now and the project has the potential to be profitable down the road, it’s smarter to take a chance and lose a few dollars up front.

Your goal should be to get your foot in the door, show the client what you can do, and hopefully impress the hell out of them. If all goes well, they’ll want more and come back to you for it. When they have time to plan a better budget, you may be called in to be a part of the team and then negotiate a better fee. It’s a gamble that could land you a jackpot.

Continued on Entrepreneur.com

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Coming up: Build Your Brand By Teaching at a Coworking Space

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, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air | What You Need To Do To Make A Midlife Career Change

Essence Magazine, November 2014
Photo Credit: Nay Ayache and Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

December 10, 2014 | Posted in Entrepreneur | By

Image 7

First published on Entrepreneur.com
On November 24th, 2014
It happens more often than you think. New management cancels a position, a company goes bankrupt or you have an epiphany on the bus home one night, and all of a sudden, you know it’s time for you to switch careers. When that happens, usually in your late 30s or early 40s, reinventing yourself may seem like an impossible task. But with a little preparation and a lot of determination, you can take on change with a clarity that will lead you right into your next dream job.

Take time to regroup. Whether it’s a week without your cell phone or a month at your parents’ country house, it is important to take the time to say goodbye to your old career. If you were terminated from your position, you may need to lick your wounds and rebuild your ego, and that’s important so you can move forward with a clear mind. Even if the decision was your own, it’s always better to make sure that your next steps are built on a plan, not adrenalin.

Shifting from daydreaming to blueprint mode might take a while, but you will find strength in organization. Put your finances in order so you can sustain the blow of a reduced income. Do you qualify for unemployment? Can you live off your savings? Can you take a part-time job while you’re getting ready for your second act? There are always many avenues to take, as long as you don’t see problems as obstacles and keep your eyes on the goal.

Continued on Entrepreneur.com

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Coming up: Jackson Murphy ranks James Bond films this Friday on Ready4Air

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, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

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Ready4Air | My 2013 Best And Worst Business Moves As An Entrepreneur

Digital Media

December 31, 2013 | Posted in Social TV | By

Photo Courtesy of NOMA Unlimited

Photo Courtesy of NOMA Unlimited

In yesterday’s Ready4Air year-end review, I visited a few of my business highlights of 2013. While the year was filled with lots of positive peaks, there were also a few valleys. Those valleys are going down in my book as poor decisions that I made along the way and lessons learned.

Having worked for other people my entire career, I’m learning how to be a productive and efficient business owner. Today, I will look back at my best and worst business moves as an entrepreneur.

A long time ago, someone once told me, “The way you exit a room is just as important as the way you enter a room. People remember both.” Know that through all my moves, good and bad, I always keep this quote in mind.

Related Post: Year End In Review | Producing At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week | Launching A Social TV Show | Revisiting My Aha! Moment

BEST MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEUR

Become An LLC. When new management came in and I suddenly lost my job at CBS News The Early Show in 2010 after a decade, I knew it was time to incorporate. The name Deborah Mitchell Media Associates had been mine for a while. My former co-worker, Carol Story, used to jokingly tease me about it, but now it was time to make it official. I registered the company as an LLC, a limited liability company. There are many benefits to having the LLC structure, but what stood out of me is that my personal assets are separate from any liabilities associated with the business. This way, if anyone decides to take legal action, I am protected.

WORST MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEUR

Set Priorities. Trying to juggle more than one blog at a time is not conducive. Launching a business is very much like launching a television show. It takes lots time, energy, and focus. Launching one business is challenging enough, which means trying to keep two going at the same time is even more challenging. In 2012, when I cofounded another social media network, my blogging at Ready4Air suffered as I blogged daily for the newer business. While blogging is time consuming, I should have figured out an equitable way to create content for both sites.

Photo Courtesy of CILNCF

Photo Courtesy of CILNCF

 

BEST MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME  ENTREPRENEUR

Get A Lawyer And An Accountant. If you are partnering or working with other people, it is important to have your needs, goals, and long-term plans outlined and legally documented. Before you sign anything, make sure you ask all the hard questions of all parties involved and sign off on it. The truth is, this paperwork serves as protection in case either party involved does not abide by the contract. It also allows you to go to court and have a strong leg to stand on. Let your lawyer guide you on that one.

When it comes to taxes and/or paying outside parties, your accountant should be up to date with all the current tax laws and point you in the right direction.

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Feels Better

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Feels Better

 

WORST MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEUR

Know Who You Are Doing Business With. When I am interested in having some work done or collaborating with someone, I typically ask for a referral from colleagues and friends. This year, I didn’t do enough research on a few projects. I have had a few referrals and business collaborations that have failed terribly. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have done a little bit more research, asked for a few more references, and done my due diligence before joining forces. Just because one person likes someone does not mean three other people had the same experience.

BEST MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEUR

Surround Yourself With Smart People. When I first left traditional media, I was thrown into a new world of communication. Social media to be exact: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, etc. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it but soon found help in a few old friends and a couple of new ones. I needed to expand my knowledge of social media, and I invested time and money to get better at it before I could add it to my wheelhouse of knowledge. From September 2011 until now, I have been meeting, greeting, and learning from bloggers and the online community on how to best use social media. Needless to say, I have met some amazing personalities along the way who have helped me to expand my skills beyond my wildest imagination.

This year, when I re-booted Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, I continued to seek out smart people. Not just smart people, but people who were professional, knew how to execute, and get the job done. By doing this, I’ve been able to focus on all the other things on my business plate. As you probably know, it is easy to forget or get overwhelmed by a daily operations to-do list.

I recently heard an expert advise every business owner to build a team with people who can complement your skills. The person should have strengths that complement your weaknesses. In many cases, you will both end up learning from each other while you build the business. I have found a couple of impressive people to have on my team, and they are daily reminders of what true professionalism looks like.

The minute you realize someone on your team is not in your corner or has outgrown the team, it is time to part ways.

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

BEST OVERALL MOVE AS A FIRST-TIME ENTREPRENEUR

Keep It Moving. In early 2013, I realized I needed to reset my professional GPS and refocus my attention to Deborah Mitchell Media Associates full time. A new route has been calculated, and as I round the corner towards the end of 2013, the road looks pretty clear.

For any entrepreneur, there’s nothing quite as exciting as  business clarity and an open road filled with professional possibilities.

Happy New Year!

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Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

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.  If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or 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.comIf all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

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