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 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 5 Useful Skills TV Producers Possess That You Should Too

CQ4cawHUwAATm2T

October 9, 2015 | Posted in Social TV | By

 

producer


Photo Credit: Nick Viagas and Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

First appeared in Entrepreneur.com

When you read through the credits of a television show, you will see various producer titles — executive producer, supervising producer, senior producer, broadcast producer and producer, to name a few. While every producer has different responsibilities, chances are they share a few of the same skill sets and traits that have made them successful in a very demanding industry.

After 25 years in the television industry, I’ve found that producers with longevity and awards in the television business have a few things in common. Whether you are an employee or business owner, here are five useful qualities TV producers possess that you should have to make your business life more successful:

1. Natural curiosity

Most producers have a natural curiosity about things and people. They are either asking or thinking the questions whowhyhow and when? Producers read a lot. Whether it’s newspapers, online articles, listening to the radio or just talking to people, they always want to stay on the pulse of what’s going on.

Related: 8 Tech Skills Entrepreneurs Must Have to Succeed

You should stay on top of what’s going on in your industry. Read trade publications and follow your industry’s leaders on social media. Better yet, reach out to them and ask a question.

2. Great communication skills

Producing is storytelling with words and pictures to a mass audience. Whether it’s for television or your co-workers, it’s important to share your message clearly in different mediums. Hone your writing and practice your presentation and speaking skills. Always think about the group you are addressing and make your presentation relevant, concise and if possible, entertaining. You want to keep your audience engaged and informed.

3. Open to criticism

Television producers are constantly being criticized about things ranging from bad story ideas to a guest who fails to give a good interview. A boss criticizing a worker is a part of any job. This is the perfect time to put your ego away.

Reporter and producer Lyndsay Christian of FiOS1 wrote in a recent post for my blog Ready4Air: “Develop tough skin. Critics are tough. Accept criticism graciously. Learn from mistakes. Always look at the positives in every situation.” This is good advice that can be used in any business situation.

Related: The 17 Skills Required to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

4. Organized

Turns out, being organized is helpful in every profession. In television, producers are constantly juggling several balls at the same time, so it’s important to have your ducks in a row. I am a big fan of lists. Making a to-do list and crossing off each accomplishment as the day or week goes by helps you to keep track of your project. Remember, the devil is in the details so keeping a list is a surefire way to avoid making a mistake.

5. Good collaborator

Producing, just like business, requires teamwork. No two people ever think alike so learning to collaborate as a group is key and doing it with a good attitude is a plus.

Meachun Clark, who was an AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) coordinator for a major cable network, explained to me in a recent interview that one important quality is to be personable.

“It also helps to be personable when dealing with talent, as well as their reps, to get everything you need taken care of,” Clark says.

Finally, it is always important for a team to stay open to new ideas and different ways of doing things. With teamwork and great communication, any television show or business can be successful.

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 10 Skills That Make A TV Producer A Great Hire Or Partner For Businesses

television producer

September 24, 2015 | Posted in Social TV | By

television producer

Producers can direct a department, coordinate a live event or conference and produce a corporate video. If a company needs in-house help for coordinating an on site-video conference, media training or handling public relations with the press, a producer knows how to juggle those responsibilities.

First published on Entrepreneur.com

The next time you are looking to hire someone for your team and you see a resume, perhaps mine, with “television producer” on it, take a second look. Producing a show is a lot like founding and running a business — you need a message, a team, content or service and great execution. Any company will benefit by having a producer as a consultant or on staff.

Career-reinvention coach John Tarnoff explained during a radio interview on midlife career reinvention that we all have transferable work skills. I would add that television producers have carefully-honed skills that are particularly suited for businesses and brands. We are excellent big-picture leaders, storytellers and managers who are trained to work under extraordinary pressure.

Producers can direct a department, coordinate a live event or conference and produce a corporate video. If a company needs in-house help for coordinating an on site-video conference, media training or handling public relations with the press, a producer knows how to juggle those responsibilities.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | A Good TV Producer Can Make Any Business Better

Here is a list of 10 transferable skills that producers bring to businesses:

1. Team builders and leaders

Just like the employees of a company, producers are usually part of a bigger team where they are charged with leading a production. Business owner Andrew Schmertz, co-founder and CEO of Hopscotch Air, Inc., is, like me, a former television executive producer.

“If you are a producer, you need to involve your staff in the production of the entire program and encourage employees to ask for help and guidance from each other,” he says. “Include people in the decision-making process, even when it is outside their job titles.”

2. Communicators

Communicating with your boss or staff is key. Whether writing or speaking for a three-minute segment or an hour-long special, producers must connect to a diverse audience.

Anjie Taylor, a supervising producer and writer at The Talk, chimes in: “Producers have the ability to write quickly, with clarity and in a style that fits the business culture we are in. The person who best commands language will always be an asset and will usually stand out.”

3. Big-picture planners

As a business owner, you are always thinking broadly about the company and all its components. Producers are big-picture planners.

Investigative producer David Manoucheri confirms this: “Any program has a lot of moving parts that have to fit together like a puzzle. You have to know how it all fits. We have the ability to make the necessary changes without being too married to something. Producers see the big picture.”

4. Major multitaskers

Companies expect employees to perform more duties than ever before, and producers have extensive experience wearing many hats and juggling several balls at one time and dealing with all types of people. Shelly Heesacker, a field director and producer for national shows, says something as simple as making nervous people feel comfortable is a paramount skill for getting anything done.

5. Constant connectors

Producers are great networkers. I have acquired an eclectic list of contacts over the years that I can turn to when necessary. And if I don’t know someone, I definitely know somebody who can connect me.

6. Rock-star negotiators

Business people negotiate every day, whether it is for themselves or their companies. The goal is to eventually make the deal.

“Every TV producer knows ‘no’ is not a final answer — it’s just the beginning of a dialogue on the road to ‘yes,'” says Katherine Ann, a senior supervising producer of an Emmy-winning nationally-syndicated talk show. “We are used to outsmarting roadblocks.”

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | #TBT Land On A TV Producer’s Radar With These 5 Tips

7. Terrific troubleshooters

Most producers realize the importance of staying calm under pressure. Producers cover wars, disasters and reality-reunion shows gone amok.

“Producers know how to be a solution, not a problem,” says former CBS News manager Nanci Ross Weaver. “When all falls apart, we have plans B, C and D before reporting in.”

Senior casting producer Sharon Nash Alexander says producers are great troubleshooters and are flexible.

Executive producer and showrunner Eric Streit adds, “We know how to go into any situation at any spot on the globe, take stock of our resources and then adapt to create successful outcomes.”

8. Super salespeople and marketers

Imagine an employee being able to creatively tell your brand’s message in only 30 seconds to anyone who will listen. When producers aren’t producing a show, they are concisely selling ideas to their bosses.

Producer Ava Odom Martin says, “We are able to break through the intricacies of your business to tell your story in the elevator speech.”

9. Master money savers

With companies constantly cutting budgets, money needs to go far. Shows are notorious for wanting a lot of production with little resources. Producers know how to stick to a budget. If we cannot afford something, then we can probably negotiate a deal to get whatever is needed in even the most unusual situations.

10. Organized time managers

Every company wants their employees to put out as much work as possible in a day. Producers understand the value of time, money and meeting a deadline.

Emmy Award-winning talk show producer Joyce Coleman Sampson maintains that “it is extremely important to be organized and pay close attention to details. Effective time management is key because time is money.”

Producers bring these 10 skills and more to the business table, and as I like to say, once a producer, always a producer. If you are an employer searching for that certain someone to add to your team, a producer is that person.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Lights-Camera-Jackson interviews ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ director Genndy Tartakovsky

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.  

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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.  

Read More...

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.

####

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) | #Repost 4 Do’s And 4 Don’ts For Businesses Using Social Media

social media

May 13, 2015 | Posted in Social TV | By

social media

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On April 20, 2015

As a business owner, you know the importance of social media as a way to make a connection between your business and customers. Whenever potential clients are looking for a new product or service, they generally start their search on social media, not only to learn more about your brand, but also to see what others are saying about a brand or business.

While more companies are creating social media strategies in their marketing, not every strategy is effective.

If you want to guarantee a more effective strategy, Caitlin Burns, a New York-based business strategist for media companies, has outlined a few social media tactics for brands to definitely use and ones to avoid.

1. Know who you are.

Understand your identity, your brand’s identity, and the voice of who is speaking on any social media platform. You’re the one who knows your product, production, company, or brand best. Being able to communicate that is the first thing I recommend for clients so that on whatever platform they use, people have a sense of who is doing the speaking. The rest of the tactics come down to language and specific things that you might do to turn a phrase on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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

2. Don’t wait until after the fact.

You don’t want to find yourself without a sense of what’s coming next, or responding to controversy in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s coming from the same person who created a status update or tweet. You can get in a lot of trouble if you say one very appealing thing, but you can’t replicate it. Another problem is if what you say goes against what you do in the company.

3. Understand your audience.

It’s important to know who you’re targeting. What do they do? When do they live online? With a savvy social media expert, you’ll be able to figure these things out. Understanding your goals will allow you to see how your successes and failures are working; social media allows you to see that faster than any other platform.

4. Don’t make assumptions about your audience.

It is a mistake to think your audience is going to act a certain way just because you think they will. Treat your audience as a subject, not as an object. Your work on social media is a dialogue, a conversation between you and that individual.

Look at how your audience is changing. Learn about them by communicating with your social media team on a regular basis. They are the front line people who can help you understand what’s working and what isn’t–what people are really engaging with and what they couldn’t care less about. This is an opportunity to quickly understand how your brand is being received.

5. Plan ahead.

Unless you yourself are a savvy social media strategist, it’s probably worth the energy and expense to bring in someone who is an expert. You need someone who is immersed in these platforms to help you measure your goals. Whether your team is very experienced or inexperienced in application, a good strategy is going to put you in a great place to execute.

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

6. Don’t assume that your presence on social media means you know everything about it.

Having a personal account is not the same thing as understanding the scope of what Facebook ads and Twitter-promoted posts can do. Because these platforms are refining and changing these specific things all the time, having an expert on call is going to save you a lot of heartache in the future. It helps to have someone whose job it is to stay up to date on what’s going on.

7. Adopt a test and learn methodology.

Start out with your strategist and social media team to test the waters. Put out a variety of concepts to see what is working with your audience and what isn’t. The more you test out an idea and see if that hypothesis is validated by audience data — which you can get very easily from social media platforms — the better feature concept you’re going to be able to build. Learn what works and budget away from the things that don’t.

8. Don’t get comfortable.

You want to make sure that you’re engaging in a creative experiment to communicate with other people. If I’m out with friends every Friday and tell the same story over and over again, I wouldn’t have friends to go out with on Fridays for very long. You want to keep engaging and developing partnerships with relevant communities. They can help you understand the broad strokes of all the things they’re interested in, which will help you keep your brand interesting.

Finally, take a hard look at your social media strategy and make changes and additions where necessary. Always keep in mind that social media can potentially make or break your business. You want to use the strategies that drive people toward you and your business and make them come back for more.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) One last shot to make the Muppets matter

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) | #TBT 3 Ways To Stay Motivated To Lead Your Business

staircase

April 16, 2015 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect | By

staircase

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On March 9, 2015

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has said in interviews, “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself.”

Long after the thrill of starting a business is gone and you are immersed in the daily challenges of being an entrepreneur, it is easy to lose the motivation to keep going. Being a business owner has its indisputable benefits, but it is a grind and you constantly need to remind yourself why you decided to become an entrepreneur.

Long-established business mogul Branson may have it easier than most entrepreneurs, but here are three ways to keep yourself motivated, regardless of the size of your company:

1. Remind yourself of your desire to achieve.

A successful entrepreneur’s number-one asset is perseverance. When I asked around to learn about what keeps entrepreneurs motivated, ambition and perseverance are two words that kept coming up. The need to achieve and succeed prevented them from giving up after every failure and fueled their drive more than any other factor.

If you find it challenging to maintain your morale in the long run, look around you and identify the people who make up your success team. Whether it’s an older mentor who keeps you in line with your goals, or a younger entrepreneur who inspires you and fuels your energy, surrounding yourself with business cheerleaders helps turn every setback into a lesson, not a disappointment.

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

2. Set realistic goals.

If you are running a startup and your goal is to make a million dollars this year, then you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, set several smaller, measurable milestones so that you can track your progress.

Create a big-picture strategy for your company, and set realistic business goals on how to achieve them. Everything from creating useful partnerships, networking, marketing, ramping up your social media, or even hiring good employees takes time. Establish a plan and be prepared to tackle it one day at a time.

When you achieve the smaller goals, pat yourself on the back.

3. Take care of yourself.

Yes, having your own business means you’re invested 24/7, but invested and overworked are two different things. There is nothing more daunting than spending your day alone in your home office. Make time to take care of yourself.

Business owner Sharon Middendorf says what keeps her motivated is “ambition, exercise, and meditation. This inspires and guides me through the days.”

Set regular times during the week to unplug, hang out with family and friends, sign up for a gym, take walks, read, or watch TV. If possible, take a vacation! This gives your brain time to rest, recalibrate, and be ready to run a successful business.

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

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) Saying goodbye to legendary fries

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) | #TBT What To Do When Final Payment Is Due And The Client Won’t Pay

Photo credit: freeimages.com/Penywise

February 19, 2015 | Posted in Entrepreneur | By

Photo credit: freeimages.com/Penywise

First published on Entrepreneur.com

On February 2, 2015

At least once a week, I think about the client who owes me $25,000 after skipping out on paying his final invoice. Two years ago, in January 2013, I found myself — as a new entrepreneur — trying to collect the balance due on a project we had completed during the previous holiday season. It was a huge social-media-outreach campaign for a client who had been recommended. We signed a contract and secured a 50 percent retainer before starting and then completed it on a tight deadline.

Once the job was done and all the final reports were submitted, we sent the final invoice for payment. That’s when the client disappeared. We knew where to reach the client. We sent emails and left messages and even got several “point” people on the phone, but still no money. The contract clearly stated that payment was due immediately upon completion of the project, and the brand was now in breach of contract and past due.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | Celebrity Apprentice: Geraldo Talks About Fundraising And His Foray Into Reality TV

So how do you handle these kinds of situations?

Have a solid proposal and contract
Outline a proposal before you sign a contract. In the proposal, show a monthly status report for the project in addition to a payment schedule. This is a good way to keep all parties internally and externally motivated and on track with the process of the project.

Make sure you have a solid contract that is very specific, ensuring that there are late fee ramifications and legal fee clauses. Collect a retainer — at least 50 percent up front before the start of the job — and, most important, document the work thoroughly, just in case you have to go to court.

Get a lawyer
Hopefully, this will be a last resort. If you haven’t gotten anywhere with collecting your payment, it’s time to get legal assistance. Hire a lawyer who works on breach-of-contract cases. Of course, retaining a lawyer will cost you up front, but if you win, the client should cover it as outlined in the contract.

Send a certified letter, including the proposal, a copy of the original contract, and let them know that you are going to proceed with legal action. Send these items to the immediate contact, a company attorney if available, and in-house public relations professionals. A serious letter from an attorney threatening to go to court usually gets people to pay attention.

Go to court
Depending on the amount at stake, you have a few options. If the balance runs between $2,000 and $7,500, then small-claims court might be your way out. State laws vary, so you will want to check if this applies to your case, but it’s usually the best way to get your money.

If the amount is higher, you can either turn to arbitration, if there is such a clause in your contract, or take the longer, more arduous way of litigation. The question is, how much money can you afford to spend to collect your payment? It all comes down to the numbers, so do the math, set your budget, lawyer up and head to court.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | The Biggest Lessons I Learned Working Solo In 2014

Don’t put them on social media blast
I know you might be tempted to conduct a public shaming, but don’t. It’s always better to take the high road in these cases. Remember, you have other clients who are watching how you do business, and you never want to make a bad impression. Keep it professional and classy.

Change your billing practices
Building a successful business has a lot to do with learning from your mistakes. The first time you are faced with a client who will not pay, you will feel frustrated, but it is up to you to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Instead of asking for a deposit and billing for the balance at the end of a contract, divide your fee into a payment calendar, and distribute your payments into two or four invoices. For each portion of work you provide, send an invoice. Once the invoice is paid, move forward with the work.

As for my deadbeat client, five months into being a business owner, we got burned when this client refused to pay up. The client continued to ignore our emails and phone calls for payment. The truth is, we didn’t have the extra resources needed to hire a lawyer. By the time I hired one, I read that the company had filed for bankruptcy and left a long line of disgruntled contractors who were suing for monies owed.

For this entrepreneur, the unpaid past due payment of $25,000 was a hard and expensive business lesson to learn.

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Coming up: Ready4Air (Film) Lights-Camera-Jackson gives his 2015 LCJ Movie Awards

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.  

Read More...

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.  

Read More...

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.  

Read More...

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

2dRVEup

October 3, 2014 | Posted in Entrepreneur | By

2dRVEup

First published on Entrepreneur.com
on September 24th, 2014

As an entrepreneur, you may at some point consider getting a business partner or co-founder. Maybe you miss working with a larger team that complements your skills, or perhaps you are trying to broaden your market or expand your clientele. Whatever your motive, you should know that business partnerships always start with excitement, but have the potential to end tumultuously. When forming a business partnership — just like a marriage — there are certain key steps to take at the beginning that will help in the transition if your professional relationship should end.

1. Perform due diligence. Yes, everyone is fun over cocktails, but when the time comes to sign contracts and do business, you’d better be sober and confident you’re shaking the right hand. Asking for referrals about a potential partner goes beyond contacting common friends and asking their opinions. Call former partners and business associates, inquire with clients, read comments on their social media pages and look them up on Google. (Keep reading way past page one of the search results.)

By the time you’re done, you should be able to name anyone who dislikes them — from their first high-school enemy to their latest unhappy client. Only then will you be able to either take a calculated risk or a major step back.

(…)

Continued on Entrepreneur.com

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Stay Tuned!

 

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 The Week Ahead|Tips From A TV Production Photographer |The TV Job Hunt Pep Talk | 5 Things to Do Before Saying ‘I Do’ to a Business Partner

Arise On Screen set before taping.
Photo Credit: Nick Viagas and Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

September 29, 2014 | Posted in Film, TV Production | By

Arise On Screen set before taping. Photo Credit: Nick Viagas and Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Arise On Screen set before taping.
Photo Credit: Nick Viagas and Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

 Happy first week of fall, everybody! Since it’s all about being more social and posting interesting information and photos, we’ve all had to become used to having our pictures taken. On our set, resident Arise On Screen photographer Nick Viagas, who is also an intern, is always lurking with the camera to capture the best and most interesting shots. Because he’s always doing the shooting, I had a hard time finding a photo with him in it. LOL! Most Saturdays, Nick is in charge of getting the great shots that we use on our social media.

 

This week in Ready4Air, Nick tells us just what goes into getting those amazing candid shots.

 

Kimberly Miller, Stage Manager

Kimberly Miller, Stage Manager

 

Long-time television stage manager Kimberly Miller knows firsthand what it’s like to be unable to enjoy fall’s back-to-business spirit. In a guest post this week, entitled Yes, I’m Networking!: TV Jobs Are Really Hard To Find, Kimberly returns and writes about her ongoing job hunt and how to stay positive in the process in an industry where who you know is more important than what you know.

 

This week in Ready4Air, Kim writes about finding support and visualizing your work future.

 

 

Speaking of visualizing your work future, are you about to venture into a new business relationship? Last week, Entrepreneur.com featured my latest article, 5 Things to Do Before Saying ‘I Do’ to a Business Partner, on their front page. I was psyched. As it turned out, the piece resonated with a few folks out there. The last time, I checked the post had been retweeted 51 times! If you missed it, we’ll repost it this week on Ready4Air.

 
Related Post: Ready4Air (TV Production) | 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Making the Most of a Television Appearance 
 

Film critic Jackson Murphy of Lights-Camera-Jackson. Photo Credit: Jackson Murphy

Film critic Jackson Murphy of Lights-Camera-Jackson.
Photo Credit: Jackson Murphy

 

And finally, coming off of the weekend, our favorite teen film critic Jackson Murphy ranks the only twelve stop-motion animated movies ever made. This weekend’s The Boxtrolls got slammed at the box office by the Denzel Washington movie The Equalizer, but that doesn’t mean the movie is a dud. The film is about a boy named Eggs who is orphaned at birth and then rescued by trash-collecting trolls. When a villain threatens his new life, Eggs has to fight and save his underground family.
This week on Ready4Air, The Boxtrolls is one of a dozen stop-motion films that Jackson reviews (Spoiler alert: he’s not a big fan of Coraline. LOL!).

 

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Coming Up: Lights -Camera- Jackson Reveals Stop-Motion Animation’s Best Films 
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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