Category: Social Media

Community Impact: How can you pay it forward and inspire others?

As an entrepreneur who has learned A LOT from other individuals, I highly believe in passing along the experiences and insights I’m gleaning from my journey in business.

When I graduated from Belmont University in 2006, little did I know that just a few years later, I would be making visits back to campus to  give presentations and speak to students in the PR program, their school for entrepreneurship and, most recently, the Lambda Pi Eta – a collegiate honor society for the National Communication Association.

belmont-university-entrepreneur-lambda-pi-eta

L-R: Nicole, Krista, Courtney, Brianna, Marleen

In my most recent presentation at Belmont with Lambda Pi Eta, I was asked to speak about working outside of my degree and making the transition from employee to entrepreneur.

My degree from Belmont is in public relations with a minor in media studies. Thankfully, both of those areas of concentration are still incredibly relevant and transcendent across all career choices. The skills and experience I gained from those classes and internships have been extremely valuable to my journey in business. It’s important to note, however, that I never took any business classes and I certainly didn’t imagine that I would one day end up running my own business.

In addition to sharing how I made my transition to full-time business owner, I emphasized to these students the importance of personal branding. With all of the free online media tools available, there is no excuse for not leveraging them to benefit your career. Whether one desires to be an entrepreneur or not, employers are researching candidates online throughout the hiring process. If you’ve positioned yourself well online and the other candidate has not, the odds are in your favor.

It’s such an honor to see and hear how my story resonates with others. I’m humbled that I’ve been given this platform several times to share my story with these students and don’t take that lightly.

My story is one example regarding how, as much as we plan and prepare for the future, we truly never know where our individual paths will lead…but we should be compelled to share those experiences with others. Even if my story impacts only one person…that makes it worth it.

In addition to speaking on Belmont’s campus, I work with several other organizations I care deeply about – most having to do with women in business or historical preservation, two topics that are very important to me. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned through those groups soon.

Do you believe in giving back to your community? Tell us about one way you’re leaving a positive impact on the world around you. (i.e. mentoring students, helping in a food pantry, picking up trash along the highway, etc.) I’d love to hear about organizations/activities that are important to you.

 

 

I’m starting a daily video accountability challenge

Building a business requires A TON of personal accountability. It also requires a fair amount of discipline, drive and overall motivation to make things happen. I recently came across another fellow network marketer who was inspired by another networker to begin a daily video accountability challenge. I thought this was brilliant and decided to follow suit. I think there’s SO much we can learn from each other…both from our successes and our lessons learned.

So…I’m committing to doing 1 brief video every week day for the next 90 days. Here is video #1…Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow along. I’m glad to say I’m also jumping back on the blogging bandwagon…YAY! So…stay tuned for a majorly overdue update, more W.O.W. interviews and inspiration for leaving a mark on the people and world around you…Until tomorrow!

W.O.W. interview – Maryn Williams – “I love the flexibility of working around my life as opposed to living around my work.”

I do a LOT of networking both online and offline. Maryn Williams was one of the very first people I had the pleasure of connecting with back when I first launched my business. She has seen me evolve from young, driven entry-level employee to young, driven entrepreneur. We’ve had many dialogues over the last few years about business, life and, in general, making a difference in the world. I always walk away with a new, refreshed perspective after speaking with Maryn. She enjoys serving others and has a variety of fun personalities, which you will discover in our interview today. I’m thrilled to introduce you to…Maryn Williams!

maryn-williams-nashville-tn

Maryn, tell us how you discovered your passion for what you do. 

I was in corporate America for many years climbing that ladder of never ending carrots and knew something had to change.  My husband had a marketing consulting company and we recognized that marketing was going online.  We bought into an organization in 2004 that provided us with ongoing and top notch training, systems and a global network of resources and providers. My passion is to Simplify the Internet for others and help businesses find the right tools and solutions to be remarkable!

My passion kicked in when social media entered the scene!  I never liked the “push” style of advertising and  am not a social butterfly but I do love the authenticity inherent in the successful use of social media.  I enjoy working with clients to understand their customers, how the client approaches situations and finding their strategic social voice.

wsi-websense-nashville-tn

What services or products do you offer?

Our company is called WSI WebSense and we offer all things digital – site, search, social and mobile. We are unique in that we are not selling any one product or a specific area of expertise like many agencies but instead we find comprehensive solutions to the business needs of our clients by taking a strategic approach.  We develop websites, provide search engine optimization and paid advertising, develop and manage social media profiles and local presence, build mobile websites and apps as well as email marketing and analytic support.

Who is your target customer?

Our ideal customers understand the power of digital communications and are looking for a partner in developing their digital presence.  We have worked with a diversity of clients from large engineering firms and health care communities to local retail outlets and restaurants, to industrial products distributors and home improvement providers and have found solutions that work for each!

How do you maintain a work/life balance? 

I don’t!  I can work 24/7 and since my office is in my home, I often do.  But I can also take time out in the middle of the day to have a cup of coffee,  water the plants or pick up the grandkids.  I love the flexibility of working around my life as opposed to living around my work.

Do you have employees / an assistant / intern program?

My husband and I are partners so we work together.  As far as delegating, my absolute best talent is delegation so I have no problem letting go!  We outsource some work to our remote/virtual partners and contract some work with local professionals.  We are also currently seeking  a part time sales person.

What has been your best method for generating new business? 

Word of mouth, online and offline, continues to be our best method of generating new business.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you’ve had to make because of your business?

It took a while for our business to generate enough income to support us both and so there are some financial sacrifices that were made.  However, these pale in comparison to the sacrifices in the name of “My Corporate Job”.

What is your favorite thing about being self-employed? 

The flexibility and ability to seek new options when I have a “hunch”.

If you could go back and give yourself one tip from day one of the business, what would it be? 

Believe in myself and invest more up front.

Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved.

I am a member of CABLE, a non-profit organization that connects women and opportunity.  It is a great network of professional women who help to balance my perspective and inspire me to do better.  I am a member of Church of the Advent Episcopal and  I volunteer for Luke 14:12 who serve the homeless.  Most of the homeless are mentally ill and  I feel that this is the least I can do to help those who are unable to help themselves.

Where do you go for inspiration? (Person, website, location, book, etc…)

There are many websites and books that inspire me but my best soul building exercises are being still in nature and my monthly Dining Diva groups.   I am continually inspired by Marty Nord who is so graciously embracing her illness, I am inspired by Allison Christian who moved to Paris and became a Chef de la Patisserie, I am inspired by my daughter who gives her whole self to efforts she believes in, by Leigh Williams whose creativity amazes me, Beth Tanner and Stephanie Bleecher whose words are “like butter”, by you who charged off on your own at such a young age.   People are so incredible, it is easy to be inspired!

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? 

There are too many to count but lately I find I am trying to prioritize.  My next thing to do is to get my bum knees replaced and then maybe I can think about going and doing more.

What gets you excited about the future of your business?

The past.  Look at the changes and progress made in the past eight years.  It is amazing!  We have just scratched the surface of the potential that the connected web provides us.  I am looking forward to moving beyond how to use the tools (ie Facebook, Twitter, Ebay) and into what we are going to DO differently, what behaviors will change, what new business models will evolve and what new opportunities will arise.

What activities make you lose track of time? 

Words with Friends, Pinterest and other shiny new apps – thanks to Krista Dial :-)

(I don’t know what you’re talking about! ;) ~Krista)

What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?

I am not really interested in changing the world, I would just like to enjoy it more and argue about it less.  I think that every problem we face has a solution in our world and if we listened more, searched further and argued less, we would find it.

What are you working on now that excites you?

I have started a new blog for my alter ego “The Dalai-Nana”.  As a Blooming Baby Boomer I recognize that most of us who were not born into the internet age struggle with the details, the language and the complexity of this new world and are in fact digital immigrants.  My goal as the “Digital Sage for Grandparents”  is to help guide others through the maze of information and technology and create simple solutions to make life as grandparents more connected, inspired, productive and fun!

How can we connect with you?

Well now you have hit on my split personality!  It depends whether you are asking about me personally, my business or my alter ego.  LOL  I have a few profiles!

WSI WebSense can be found via these channels…

Facebook fan page

Twitter

Google Plus

LinkedIn

Pinterest

YouTube

Blog

Website

You can connect with me personally via these channels…

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

Google Plus

Pinterest

Discover DALAI-NANA via these channels…

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Blog

What a FUN interview today, Maryn! I hope you will follow Maryn’s many profiles. Make sure you tell her I sent you! :)

As I continue to interview these incredibly inspiring entrepreneurs, I’m curious if you’re noticing the same patterns I’m noticing. Their biggest business growth has been fueled by word-of-mouth. They’ve all made small, temporary sacrifices in regards to lifestyle or income, but agree that the rewards have been far worth more than the risk.

It’s clear that the business world is changing, friends. If you have the desire to be self-employed, start considering your options TODAY. Don’t wait until tomorrow…because tomorrow never comes. The world needs your passion, energy and desire to make a difference. Not sure where to start? Let’s have a conversation. Until next week…I hope you have a fabulously inspiring weekend!

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W.O.W. interview – Jessica Bishop – “Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others.”

Jessica Bishop is one of the most driven, dynamic women I’ve ever met. I initially discovered her in my wedding blog days. Mr. Dial and I were on a very tight wedding budget, so it was only natural that in my Google searching about Nashville weddings that I would come across The Budget Savvy Bride. I immediately fell in love with her and with her highly-engaging blog. Not only does BSB keep her busy, but she also has a bustling graphic design business. And on top of all that…she’s also relocating from beautiful Nashville, TN to The Big Apple! In fact…I’m fairly certain she’s moving as I construct this blog post! SO exciting! Presenting…Mrs. Jessica Bishop!

jessica bishop profile pic

Jessica, tell us how you discovered your passion for what you do.

Blogging has really combined a lot of my passions and strengths. I’ve always enjoyed writing, I wrote poetry and kept a journal from a young age. I have also always been interested in arts- always doodling, sketching, crafting, painting and trying to do other creative things. Blogging combined the best of both worlds for me!

What was the catalyst for starting your blog and the purpose behind it?

I was planning my wedding and wanted to keep a journal or scrapbook of sorts of my wedding planning journey. Little did I know it would turn into a career path! The purpose of Budget Savvy Bride is to inspire brides who want to have a beautiful wedding on a small budget by sharing realistic inspiration, tips, diy projects and advice from other real budget brides.

So you launched The Budget Savvy Bride in May of 2008 and recently launched your design business in October of 2012. Tell us a bit more about that. 

Yes, through Jessica Bishop Paperie I offer wedding invitations, personal stationery, various other paper goods and gift items. To read more about why I’ve started this new business, click here.

Who is your target customer?

Savvy and stylish girls who appreciate quality for a great value.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

It is something that I struggle with but you have to set boundaries. Since I work another job in addition to running my blog, I schedule specific ‘blog time’ to work on it. I also make sure to schedule coffee dates and social time, too. I think the hardest part about finding balance is that I LOVE what I do, so it doesn’t always feel like work!

Do you have employees / an assistant / intern program? If so, how did you adjust to letting go of the work and entrusting someone else with it?

It’s pretty much just me behind the curtain. I have contributing bloggers who write for BSB on a voluntary basis about their own weddings. I decided to go that route because I felt that the thing that draws brides in to the site is hearing from other girls who are going through the same things they are.

What has been your best method for generating new business?

Social media! I wouldn’t be where I am in either of my businesses without creating relationships via social networks.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you’ve had to make because of your business?

Time, really! There are evenings that I spend on my laptop working late into the night to get things done, but luckily they are few and far between.

What aspect do you most enjoy about your business?

I think the feeling of accomplishment and ownership- knowing that I built it and it is mine. I feel a huge sense of pride for creating something that other people find valuable and helpful.

What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?

Meeting other entrepreneurs and small business owners. I love the community I feel with others who are like me, and the wonderful people I’ve met and gotten to know and support over the years.

If you could go back and give yourself one tip from day one of the business, what would it be?

Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Only measure your success against yourself to see how far you’ve come!

Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved. 

I participate in community outreach through my church, and I also like to support the ASPCA because I am an animal lover!

Where do you go for inspiration? (Person, website, location, book, etc…)

I’m a Pinterest junkie- I love how visual it is. I also love to read other people’s blogs, especially different traditional artists, illustrators, watercolor artists, etc.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

Travel to Europe!

If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?

I’d ask Martha Stewart if I can work for her. :)

What do you imagine yourself doing 10 years from now?

Running my own business with my hubby, maybe a couple of kids? Who knows! I take it day by day and trust in God’s plans for my life!

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Moved to NYC with no job! Feeling the fear and doing it anyway… stay tuned!

How can we connect with you?

Budget Savvy Bride Fan Page

Jessica Bishop Paperie Fan Page

Budget Savvy Bride on Twitter

Jessica Bishop Paperie on Twitter

Google Plus

Pinterest

Budget Savvy Bride Blog

Jessica Bishop Paperie

Isn’t she inspiring, friends?! Thanks again to Jessica for taking time from packing for her big move to share some of her valuable insight with us. I don’t know about you, but I can empathize with her in a number of areas – being so passionate about my work that it often doesn’t feel like work and remembering that we’re each on our own journeys, so it’s futile to compare our paths to others’.

I hope today’s interview fueled a desire to “take the leap” towards whatever passion you have. Life tends to pile up on us and bury the goals, dreams and desires we once had. Just take a step forward. Every step counts! Until next week…be inspired…an have a delightful weekend!

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Google launches Google Plus for Brands and Businesses

Remember my blog post about Google Plus back in September? Well, if you’re a business owner, not only do you need to have a Google+ profile, you also need a Google+ page for your business.

That’s right, just a few days ago Google Plus launched business pages. Watch out Facebook! :)

Why do you need to jump on the bandwagon? Because, let’s face it, Google owns search. You don’t “Yahoo!” to comparison shop or “Dogpile” it when you’re looking for information about your favorite band or restaurant. You “Google” it. If you have a Google Plus page for your business and someone searches for you, that’s one more avenue you have to connect with prospects.

I JUST setup my Google+ business page, so please forgive how barren it is. More content to come soon! In the meantime, go setup yours, then follow my page and I’ll follow yours in return.

The following resources helped me get my Google Plus page up and running:

How to Setup a Google Plus Brand Page on Mashable.com

How to Use Google Plus for Business – a PDF from Hubspot