Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Won't the Grapes Grow?

Meet Judy and Vern Harper.

Here they are working in their vineyard within walking distance from my house. One bucket has water, one has new plants.

This particular vineyard has been a little tricky for them. They've been working it for 7 years now. Normally, the vines should be growing well and producing. They've had a few of the vines that are doing better here. Yet, they still had to come in and plant new ones.

It's located at the top of a hill, next to the first cemetery in the county (no longer used) - in a very windy location. They wondered if the wind was causing the problem. However, there was no sign of wind destruction.

We have an excess of deer in our area. The conditions have made it so that during hunting season the hunters are not able to kill as many deer as allowed. Flooding, warm weather, and smart deer all contribute. Now maybe you are shuddering about killing deer. Stop that! Out here, the hunters are not killing for sport. Most of them are feeding families with that deer meat. The ones that hunt for sport are not allowed on my property.

Deer like to have different areas to play in. They need trees for cover from danger. They need running water for drinking. They need open areas to romp in. They need fields to find sustenance in. They tend to run in herds and use the same areas year after year. On my farm, we have trees, open fields, a creek, and lots of hills.

One day I was working in the cemetery, righting headstones, weed whacking and just enjoying the view. I was lying on my back, playing the cloud game. I heard this loud noise and sat up and looked over. There were about 10 deer in the vineyard! They had crossed the road, come up the fenceline, went through the trees and jumped over the fence. Eating grapes.

I called Vern and he immediately came and put up a higher fence. Problem of the grapes solved! It was too late last year to replant, so they are doing it now.

Moral of this story: Do what you know works. Look to others for conversations and observations about your product. Sometimes solutions can be found when you are playing the cloud game!

Website: www.townsendwinery.com
Phone: 641-456-2836

Vern and Judy are sponsors of my experience at SOBCon 09. Look for some fun changes in their website! And be sure to schedule a trip to the winery this summer -- nothing better than good wine!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Are You Hungry?


I remember Oprah several years ago talking about buying a cow for a family - she was hooked up with this organization called Heifer International.

I'm an Iowa girl and I know about heifers.  We raised them when I was younger.  I bought my first car by selling a heifer I had been given by my dad.  That car opened up the world for me.  Giving a heifer to a hungry family will change their entire lives! 

I have never had to worry about being hungry.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  Here's some statistics for you from library.thinkquest.org

  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger

  • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years

  • Throughout the 1990's more than 100 million children died from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days!

  • The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving. Over 4 million will die this year.

  • One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. United Nations Food and Agriculture

  • Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion - a majority of humanity - live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people. UNICEF

  • 3 billion people in the world today struggle to survive on US$2/day.

  • One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night.

  • Half of all children under five years of age in South Asia and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished.

  • Malnutrition is implicated in more than half of all child deaths worldwide - a proportion unmatched by any infectious disease since the Black Death

  • To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

  • Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger

  • It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year

    What can you do?  The most obvious answer is give money.  Visit www.heifer.org  

    The next answer is get involved.  Create your own Team Heifer.  Click here for info. 

    Heifer
    Heifers Equal Hope - What your Gift Can Do To Eradicate Hunger

    When a family has a cow, every morning there's a glass of rich milk for the children to drink before heading off to school. Classes are paid with the income from the sale of milk, and there's even enough to share with the neighbors.

    A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day - enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

    Better still, every gift multiplies, as the animal's first offspring is passed on to another family-then they also agree to pass on an animal, and so on.

    And because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, every gift will be passed on and eventually  help an entire community move from poverty to self reliance. Now that's a gift worth giving!


    picture of heifer is from www.heifer.org website 


  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Cluetrainplus10: Number 32


    10 years ago The Cluetrain Manifesto was written.  It's a set of 95 thesis written as a call to action for all businesses operating within a new marketplace.  These ideas were written to examine the impact of the internet on consumers and organizations.  

    Cluetrain plus 10 is a homage to the original.  95 writers will once again create the Cluetrain Manifesto.  I am number 32.  My assignment is to write about: 

    Smart markets will find suppliers who speak their own language.  

    I'm a green network marketer.  I need a supplier who gives me a product that works, is easy to talk about, is green and affordable.  I don't want to sell the product.  I just want to talk about it.  I want to talk about my supplier and how great a company they are.  I also want them to pay me to do that.   I don't want a garage full of products I'm trying to sell.  I don't want to chase people down for money.  I just want to tell people about the company and the products -- and I want the company to pay me to do that.

    I found that company.  That is my job.  I get paid for referrals.  I use the products, talk about them, talk about the company.  The company pays me to do that.  

    I have found a supplier who speaks my language.  They've been speaking this language for 25 years.  They send out checks to over 200,000 people every month.  

    Yes they have an internet presence.  Website, videos, marketing executives like me who blog about them, and their own YouTube channel.  They've been building their online presence for about ten years now.  

    What other suppliers are meeting the needs of a smart market?   Dell builds computers that their market wants.  Radian 6 talks to their market and helps them find what they need.  Twitter, still with no business plan, meets the needs of their market.  These are just a few.

    What I want to know is this: how do we turn all markets into smart markets?  What about those people who 'don't understand computers'?  They are our mothers and fathers, our neighbors and friends.  What obligation do we have to them?  How can we turn them into their own smart market? 





    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Six Steps For Your Network Marketing Business


    Chris Brogan wrote about Confidence and listed these six steps towards achieving it.  I'm going to show you how to make those steps work for your own network marketing business! 

    Small Steps
      How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.   It's an old joke and works for a reason.  It's true.  It's good to know where you want to be in five years - then you can figure out how to take small steps to get there.  

    Risk
     If you wish to remain where you are right now, don't do anything different.  However, if you wish to grow and go places - you'll need to take a risk or two.  Start your own business - that's a risk.  Try something new - that's a risk.  Share your company/product with people you know - that's a risk (they might laugh at you).  

     The biggest reason people don't take risks is that they are afraid of failure.  Thomas Edison has this great quote on the subject, " I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  Try approaching failure with that attitude!

    Support
    Chris suggests we build our own social network.  I agree with him.  This does not mean your family, church members, coworkers and close friends.  They already belong to one of your passive  networks.  

    Find some people in your industry who are successful.  Talk to the person who brought you into this business - who inspires them?  Go to facebook and twitter and look for that kind of person.  

    I did a search when I first started on twitter for social media experts and found Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) who sparked this entire post.  Keith Burtis (@keithburtis) gives me constant support - he knows me at my best and holds me to it.  Becky McCray (@beckymccray) challenges me to do better and congratulates me when I do just that.  Chris is a business owner and speaker, Keith is the social media guy for Best Buy, Becky is a small business expert.  I found them all outside of my circle of influence.  

    I asked Erin Criss (who got me started in my business) for a person to watch.  She referred me to Russ Paley (look for him on facebook).  Russ is a published author and makes over a million dollars a year in my company.  He also reaches out to others in the company and works with us to train us.  He brings other successful business owners to us to share what they are doing.  Unbelievable training - because Russ believes in giving back.  


    Eliminate Excuses
    How are you talking to yourself?  Are you saying "I can't do this."  Or are you saying "I'm looking for a way to do this successfully."  Work on eliminating negative self talk.  When you catch yourself using it, change the sentence to a positive one.  

    Keep track of all the excuses you are using.  Write them down over a week's time.  I have to clean my house before I get started.  I have to make dinner (at 10 am) before I make these calls.  I have to do some laundry before I call those people on the business cards I collected.  This list you write down will give you a real insight into what you are doing to stop yourself.  

    Create a schedule and stick to it.  If you schedule your call times, follow ups and trainings - you'll do better at sticking to it.  

    Setting Goals and Making Commitments
    What will success look like for you?  It's hard to be successful if you don't know what success is.  It's different for all of us.  You need to be the one to determine what it is.  Make your goal a definite statement as well. 

     If you say 'I want to be happy' or 'I want financial freedom' - what does that mean?  Define what happy is to you.  Paint the picture.  For example, I want my bills paid and to be traveling 4 times a year.  That would make me happy.  What would financial freedom look like in your life?  I will have a 4 bedroom ranch style house in Iowa, a 2 bedroom house on the ocean (for winter), earning $200,000 a year and traveling 3 to 4 times a year.  

    Write your goals down.  Share them with your support team.  Work on them.  Update them.  Goals needs to be active.   If my goal is to be retired by age 60 (6 years), what do I need to do to get there?  I'll work with my mentor and support team, determine the steps, add them to my goal sheet - and track my goals.  


    Believe in Yourself First 
    It's all about you.  The more you work on personal development, the quicker your business will grow.   Here are some suggested books to add to your reading list.  (Remember, don't use reading as an excuse to not work -- you can schedule reading time as well!) 

    Dare to Dream Work to Win by Dr. Tom Barrett
    Your First Year in Network Marketing by Mark Yarnell
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
    You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor
    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
    Tribes by Seth Godin
    Endless Referrals by Bob Burg 

    Chris Brogan's most excellent blog post about Confidence can be found here.

    picture courtesy of flickr.com



    The Open Toed Shoe Pledge


    My cousin sent this to me.  Blame her. 

    The Open Toed Shoe Pledge

    As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wearing sandals and other open-toe shoes:

    I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not budge out between the straps.

    I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe. 

    I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow..

    I will shave the hairs off my big toe.

    I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.

    If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back! into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

    I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.

    I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

    I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.

    I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.

    I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.  

    I will promise to go to my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about $20 or $25 and worth EVERY penny).  

    I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear... nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals

    picture courtesy of flickr.com 

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    SOBCon 09: First Day


    Friday it all begins.  I've been reviewing the schedules and thinking about the things I want to learn - and use in my business.  I also have four sponsors and will be considering their businesses as well.  

    I am a marketing executive for Melaleuca.  My position with them entails introducing people to the company, helping them find products that will work to enhance their lives and create greener homes.  I don't sell products!  I do talk about them.  I also help others to do the same.  I will NOT be blogging about products (the company has all that information).  I will be blogging about network marketing! 

    The Franklin County Historical Society preserves our local heritage and shares it with others.  I am helping them bring their information to the internet.  We are looking at two blogs about historical sites. 

    Townsend Winery opens this summer.  They have spent the last 8 years or so preparing their business (built, worked the land, paid for everything as they went).  I will be helping them set up and maintain their blog.

    Cornerstone Cottage, owned by Judy Wrolson, is a great local gift, craft, fun things store.  Judy is ahead of the curve in this conversation.  She is using twitter and facebook.  I'll excitedly be helping her create a blog to rock the crafting world!

    Pat Palmer is The Computer Guy.  He does onsite repairs and offsite ones as  well.  Pat is one smart cookie - and he'll be using his blog to generate more business.  

    In a nutshell, I am working with clients who have new blogs.  Nothing like starting fresh!  

    Here's the topics that are covered on the first day of SOBCon: 

    • trust in building community and participation in a 21st century business
    • Power positioning: from personal branding to online assets
    • what to do, know and expect from a blog based business
    • explore the changes that come with ramping up from business person to CEO
    • ins and outs of writing for your readers and search engines
    • expand the conversation into audio and video
    • tools and strategies for keeping the back office on track
    • tailoring your web content for the accessibility market
    How exciting!  It gets better.  All the presenters will present - and then have conversations with their listeners.   The presenters are not your 'business school you'd better listen to me' kind of presenters either.  They are the successful bloggers, inspiring speakers and just plain fun people!

    See you there?

    picture courtesy of flickr.com 

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Balance in the Spring


    Today I did the best I could at being in balance.

    I worked online from 7 to 9 am. I went to a meeting with a group of tech geeks (my people) and got hung up in the conversation until noon.

    Came home and helped my dad prepare the yard for 18 lavender plants and then planted them.  Lunch.  Phone work. Blogging.  Trip to town with mom and ended up getting pavers for the new lavender plant section.  Supper.  Back in the garden until dark.  Phone work, blogging, phone work, writing a 5 year plan.  10 pm, supper time.

    Sound balanced to you?  No, me either.

    What I've learned: balance comes and goes.  Sometimes you have to be out of balance for awhile so you can be in better balance down the road.  

    I'm in the stage of my growth in business where balance means no balance.  For me, doing different things all day long is balance.  

    What kind of balance do you have in your life? 

    picture is Cody and me in the Salt Mines --- some days you do have to work in the salt mines!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Social Media Suggestions for Small Business Events

    I was a vendor at the Home and Business Expo in Iowa Falls, Iowa this past Saturday.  It was hosted by KIFG radio and Times-Citizen Communications.  

    They advertised with an 8 page separate section in the Iowa Falls and Ackley Paper.  It was broadcast over the radio station.  I found out about it from Judy Wrolson at Cornerstone Cottage in Hampton.    There were over 300 people at the Expo  who took the bingo cards (get each vendor to check off their ad on the card and someone wins prizes when the card is turned in). 

    I can never sit still at these events.  I walked around and met the other vendors.  I also took their pictures and live tweeted them.  I don't think everyone understood what that meant!  Simply put, I took their picture, posted it on the internet and told over 1,400 people around the world about it.  I also put some of the pictures up on facebook (same principle, less people).  

    Social Media is new to our area -- and it's growing pretty rapidly.  Here's some social media suggestions for the next Home and Business Expo.

    Put up a fan page on Facebook
    better yet, use the current Times Citizen page you have!  You've got 153 people as fans.  If each told one person - you would have just advertised the event, for free, to over 300 people.   By the way, each vendor could do this same action. 

    Let your vendors know who all is going to be at the event as a vendor
    I knew the radio station would, the fire station would and the Watkins rep would be there.  There were actually 36 vendors there!  I know I would have blogged about the event and the vendors.  I also would have told friends and family who was going to be there.  

    Create a twitter account.  Meet people who are on twitter.  Find out what they want to hear on the radio and read about in the paper.  Have conversations with your followers!  Then you can walk around and take pics of your vendors and send them to twitter!  

    Here's a video I put together using www.animoto.com  These are all the pictures I took and sent to twitter.   If you want to see the facebook pics, friend me by finding Deb During Brown.

    Is this all greek to you?  I'll be teaching a class at Iowa Valley in Ellsworth College May 5 and May 6 in the evening -- you can learn how to use Facebook, MySpace, twitter and how to blog.  Call Deb Sabin at 641-648-8620 for more information! 



    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    More Hutch: Five Reasons To Go To Hutch

    Looking for a spot on the map in the middle of the country to take a trip

    Visit Hutchinson, Kansas!  The locals affectionately refer to it as Hutch Kansas.  My hubby and I had the pleasure of visiting last week for a bloggers tour.  We were there three days.  What a great place to get a taste of the Midwest, enjoy the entertainment and forget your troubles for awhile.
      
    Five Reasons To Go To Hutch

    Underground Salt Museum 650 feet below ground, a 90 second elevator ride in the dark wearing hard hats and carrying an emergency  breathing canister.  It started out a little scary.  Then the amazing information began.  It's a perfect humidity storage space in the Salt Museum.  The movie theatres have stored literally tons of stuff in the storage space!  

    Indian Creek Bison Ranch  Just so you know, the correct terminology is bison, not buffalo!  50 head of bison that come right up to the trailer you are riding on.  It was interesting and informative.  The meat is actually lean and good for you.   Bison are also wild animals - they look pretty tame, but you never know when that thousand pounds or better animal is going to remember he's wild! 

    Airport Steakhouse  I'm a girl who knows good beef when she eats it.  Afterall, Iowa has some of the best beef in the world.  The Airport Steakhouse makes a mean steak.  Imagine sitting at a table watching planes land and take off outside!  


    The Fox Theatre This lovely Art Deco theatre was most active between 1915 and 1945.  It's really a Movie Palace.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic places, still in operation (after major renovation) and truly one of the best examples of the Art Deco style.  Please visit their website for shows, schedules and membership info. 

    Cosmosphere: Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center See the SR-71 the minute you walk in the door.  Take the basic museum tour, visit the Apollo gallery, stop by Dr. Goddard's lab, catch an IMAX show, shop at the gift store and definitely talk to someone about the camps.  Did you know that the Cosmosphere is second only to the Smithsonian in their artifact collection? 

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    What It Took To Get My Husband Out of His Lazy Boy

    I'm a married woman.  You wouldn't know it.  I almost always attend events, activities, go shopping - everything - alone.  My husband is NOT a social being.  He's quite happy to sit in his chair, watch tv or play online poker (when he's not working).  

    I continue to ask him if he wants to go places with me.  

    I had the opportunity to go on a FAM tour to Hutchinson Kansas last week.  When I asked the hubby if he wanted to go I made to sure to mention that we'd be going to the Cosmosphere.  He immediately said YES I WILL GO.  

    There are some very cool things at the Cosmosphere.  The moment you  walk into the door you look and see the SR-71.   That didn't mean much to me on paper. 

     I mean it sounded cool - it was a reconnaisance airplane and it could fly higher and faster and carry cameras to do the job of taking pictures over the Soviet Union.  The Russians tried to bomb it out  of the sky - and it never happened.  I believe it is still classified as the fastest airplane in the world.   It can fly coast to coast in one hour and seven minutes. 

    The Cosmosphere actually brought the SR-71 in and then built the building around it!  Pretty amazing.  It was the first thing on the hubby's list to see. 

    The Cosmosphere was started in 1962.  In 1976 the board of directors decided to expand and included a museum.  Timing was really everything - NASA was getting rid of artifacts and were looking for a place in the midwest to have a presence.  Hutchinson Kansas was it! The Cosmosphere has the largest loan from the Smithsonian - larger than anywhere in the world. 

    They build reproductions of all the space craft and did most of the work for the Apollo 13 movies. 

    They also have an astronaut training program and a camp program - for all ages.   That means they had all the toys my hubby was looking for!  The multi axis trainer, F-16 flight simulator, centrifuge, and so much more!  Hubby took a spin in some of the toys and is figuring out how to bring his grandson out for the Elderhostel program for grandparents and grandchildren. 

    The Cosmosphere also has one of only 12 domed IMAX theatres in the world.  Their projector number is 12 - they've been doing IMAX for a good long while.  We got a private tour of the projector area and Kevin got to load the film!  Magnificent Desolation was the movie we saw.  I remember when we first walked on the moon - and the joyous amazement all came back to me.  



       

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    People of Hutchinson Kansas



    Put a group of bloggers together and what do you have?

    Geeks on parade!  Cell phones that make movies.  Little itty bitty computers to type from the field.  No aversion to name badges on lanyards.  Blue jeans are business casual.   Everybody talks, at once. 

    As they say in Iowa, I was in Hog Heaven.

    I am on a FAMiliarization tour of Hutchinson KS.  Now, this one is a little different.  Instead of inviting travel agents, or even travel writers - Cody Heitschmidt from Logicmaze had his clients invite a group of bloggers.  We are staying at the Grand Prairie.  

    For the next couple of days I'll be talking about what we've done and seen.  I'll upload a couple of Animoto videos for you to see.  And I'll share some stories of the people we've met. 

    Our bus driver Glen, is a retired service man who went to Iraq to work for a couple of years.  Mind you he is over 65 now.  He drove a truck for Kellog Brown and Richardson,  a subsidiary of  Haliburton.  He gets to go on all the tours with us - and he's having a blast!  I will be forever grateful to Glen for befriending my husband Kevin (who's just along for the ride). 

    Glen is a good example of what I see happen in lots of towns around America.  He doesn't go to many of the sites around the town where he lives.  People get busy, have lives and the day to day just can get in the way.  What do you know about your town?  When was the last time you went to your local Historical Society?  

    We met Marvin at the Fox Theatre.  He's a retired police officer and a big fan of the Fox.  Marvin was our tour guide.  He knew the building.  He knew the history.  He took his time telling us the story of the Fox Theatre.  It was built in 1931 for around $400,000.  Art Deco style.  Over the years, they changed it because of 'progress '.  Put up drywall over the beautiful walls, put in a concession stand - made it 1950's America.  Eventually, the town put together a great
     non-profit and set about bringing the original Fox Theatre back to life.   Marvin started out slow in his narration, but you get that he's a guy that's not in a hurry.  We had 45 minutes with him, and he was just getting warmed up.  I am sorry we missed all the stories!  Next time....

    Think about what you might be missing in your own home town.  And put Hutchinson KS on your travel list - see the sites and meet the people. 


    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    A Little Bit of Preparation Goes A Long Way


    I'll be at the firehouse all day Saturday for a Home Show Expo.  I'm sharing the 8' x 10' booth with a friend who is a Watkins distributor.  

    I've been putting together a slideshow because we have 30 minutes in which to do a presentation to  a group of people.  

    Then I got to thinking.  Which is a task I should have done before I started.  

    What do I know about this Home Show Expo?  Here's a list of questions I will need answers to.

    Who is my audience?
    Why are they coming to the expo?
    What are they expecting from me?
    What do I want to concentrate on?
    What are my expected results?

    I'm assuming it will be local people who attend.  I'm thinking they are coming to see what products we have.  Those two assumptions could get me in trouble.  I could be making a product centered presentation -- and these people really want to know about working from home!

    I've sent off an email to the organizer to get answers for a clearer direction.

    Where else in my business am I doing this?  Jumping in with both feet all excited and no clue what I should be doing?  Do you do this too? 

    Dawn: a definition and a challenge


    Sunday in church I learned a new definition for dawn.  
    It's when you recognize a friend's face.  

    Isn't that so much better than Websters definition: to begin to grow light as the sun rises?

    I've got a small challenge that just may change your day.  What if you kept track of the friends you see first thing upon the daylight? Are they smiling?  Are they happy? 

    It stands to reason the first people we see (and hopefully they are friends) help to set the tempo of the day.   So why wouldn't you arrange your morning so you are greeted by a smiling face of a friend?  Perhaps you need to make that face virtual. 

    Most days I wake up alone.  My husband travels for work and is also in Chicago a lot working.  I am greeted by three smiling happy cats.  I have coffee and sit down to twitter.  My screen saver is now a copy of a print by Hugh from www.gapingvoid.com and in the middle it says

    Ignore Everyone.  You are responsible for your own experience.  
    Sing in your own voice. 


    That makes me happy (there's lots of other advice too).  So happy I'm ordering a print - and I never do that.  Must take that never out of my language!   You can always go look in a mirror and give yourself a GREAT BIG SILLY SMILE! 

    So try it -- let me know how your day tracks and if you see a happy friends face how that makes a difference. 

    photo courtesy of creative commons license over at flickr.com 

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Hutchinson Kansas


    Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
    Fox Theatre
    Airport Steak House
    Metropolitan Coffee
    Yoder Amish Community
    Indian Creek Bison Ranch
    Carl's Bar and Deli
    Kansas Underground Salt Museum
    Anchor Inn
    Third Thursday
    Lloyds Loft

    40,000 people in Hutchinson, Kansas.  Strangers call it the Salt City.  Locals call it Hutch.  

    I'll be in Hutch this week.  Blogging.  A small group of bloggers have been invited to visit for two days and see all the above places.  Instead of a large, expensive color print ad in some fancy magazine - Hutchinson has asked 20 bloggers to visit.  Spread the word. Enjoy the city.  See the sights.  

    How creative is that? 

    You'll get to read more about Hutch this week. 

    picture courtesy of epodunk.com 

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Link Love: What's In Your Favorites?


    What are you reading?  It's a great suggestion to share what you read with your readers.  Let's call it Link Love.  Here's some cool stuff I've tripped over...........

    Amazon gets their comeuppance:  I've been preaching for months SHOP YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLER - here's a few reasons why. 

    Every little bit helps:  feng shui never hurt anyone - can it help you? 

    All things Brautigan: possibly one of the best poets around - esoteric, 60's kind of guy

    We need your help: Train for Humanity, and I'm one of the athletes (stop laughing) 

    50 Things:  Everyone should know how to do 

    How Safe Is Your Home?: read this, call me

    Boots 'n All:  Coolest Travel Site Out There

    Comfort Queen: Jennifer Louden runs a great site

    Now tell me, what are you reading? 

    photo from creative commons license over at flickr.com 

    He Lives!


    Matthew 28:2-7 (The Message)

    Matthew 28

    Risen from the Dead
     1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move.

     5-6The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.

     7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message." 


    Picture found at www.ericpark.org

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    What I Learned From Adversity


    We've got a new writing assignment from Robert Hruzek.  The assignment is to expound on what you've learned from adversity. 

    Let me tell you a couple of stories.  (Facts tell, stories sell.

    I have a 92 Cadillac I love.  Her name is Baby.  I drove her to Des Moines this week, and she let me down.  Here I am driving down the interstate in morning rush hour traffic - and Baby decides she doesn't want to 'go'.  I'm scared, nervous and freaking out.  I pull over to the side of the road. 

    My husband is behind me in his car, with my brother in law and my son.  They stop and assure me it will be okay.  I switch cars and my husband gently guides Baby down the road to our next stop.  We manage to get it back to the hotel, and eventually home.  

    My son tells me to learn to go with the flow.  It stopped for a reason, we will figure it out.  It's either bad gas, the water pump is going or there's a circulation problem.  On the way home home - she ran just fine.  We are all voting for bad gas.  

    That was an adverse situation.  What if I were alone?  What if I couldn't have handled it?  I learned a lesson from my son -- just go with the flow.  It will all work out.

    Second story.  Today is Good Friday.  Jesus died today.  He knew what was in store for him.  He hesitated just a moment - and finally accepted the plan God had for Him.  Peter abandoned him.  Judas betrayed him.  The others were gone for the day.  Pilate washed his hands of the affair.  The crowd cheered for his crucification (the same crowd that welcomed him just days earlier).  Talk about adversity!  Jesus said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".  

    The obvious lesson learned is Christ died for our sins.  The adversity lesson learned is you never know what God has in store for you.  Just go with the flow.  It will all work out.  


    And now for a little gift: 
    Here's some great reading from the NY Times -Jesus Tweets for a Good Friday. 

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Frugal and Friendly: Jenn Fowler


    Do a Google search for Jenn Fowler and here's what you find:

    Jenn Fowler on Twitter

    Deb Ng and Jenn Fowler on Blogtalkradio

    Frugal Upstate

    I met Jenn on twitter and had the pleasure of speaking with her this week. She has always responded to my tweets, is insightful and helpful. Oh yeah – and FRUGAL! Here's parts of our discussion.

    Hi Jenn. I know you have children, how old are they? Tell us a little about yourself please.

    My kids are 5 and 8. I live in upstate New York, near Binghamton. It's very much like Mayberry RFD! It's a small town atmosphere. I rode my bike to get my haircut today.

    What was your intro to the internet? We didn't have computer lab in high school. In college there computers in our dorm and I got on some of the forums. Fantasy role playing was big. By the time I was in officer basic course for the army, I had an AOL account.

    You were in the army for 11 years. Why only 11 and not 20?

    I get migraines, even though they were controllable, I was not deployable. The decision was mutually made to leave the service. The expectations when I left was that every 3 or 4 years you would get deployed. With migraines that are not scheduled and a family, it was a decision I could live with.

    What did you specialize in? Maintenance shops – I ran them. (vehicles, weapons, radio systems). I was a training developer and created plans on how to train officers. At one point I was the commander of a training company and had six drill sergeants working for me.

    How did you get interested in being frugal?

    When I had my daughter I got a copy of the Tightwad Gazette from a friend. It was a lot of out of the box thinking. I had always been fairly careful with my money (whole Yankee way of thinking) . When it became clear I was leaving the service, I knew that we would need to be more frugal. I started participating in frugal forums.

    I was that annoying person who took over everyone's thread! I figured I should start my own blog. I started blogging on January 1, 2006.

    How are you learning to make an income from blogging?

    My youngest went to kindergarten this fall. My husband and I had to decide if I could play around with this internet thing and make some money. I decided to follow my heart and go for it. I started on Twitter last May and in July Jon Andrews got a hold of me. He said Wal-Mart is forming this money saving community and why not get involved? That was 11 moms. By the way, we are not paid for that. Now marketers want to talk to me about giveaways and product reviews. It's led to associations with the other women. One of the other moms said that I needed to place ads on my site.

    I'd like to make money by speaking and helping others with social media.

    For most people a blog winds up being a springboard to other things. I've been encouraged to write a book about frugal living. I've started a blog talk radio show. I have a background in theatre and love to get in front of people and talk. So that's a great combination for me – radio and blogging. You can find the station here: Www.frugalcoast2coast.com We have been doing this since January and are excited about the prospects!

    I've done some local speaking and am working on speaking engagements for the rest of the year and will let you know when I have that schedule.

    What conferences have you gone to that helped you?

    Something about meeting people face to face cements a relationship. First one was Blog World Expo – it is aimed at blogging and social media. It's a great start for a new blogger. Basic info and lots of other bloggers there to help.

    My 2nd conference was Chicks who Click in Colorado – a one day seminar.

    The 3rd one was Moms 2.0 summit in Houston. I got sponsored by @moneymanagement for the conference fee. That was the first year for that conference. It was aimed at moms and marketers and how they interact.

    At SXSW - I was sponsored by Hersheys. When Wal-Mart starts to do something the other vendors start looking closer. Hershey came out of that and sponsored me for SXSW – they covered the entire conference! They were able to see the power of it and see the sessions. Its actually 3 conferences. I got more out of the networking aspect of the conference. Meeting the guys from radian6 and Richard and Lionel at Dell, the Blog Talk Radio people, Ted Murphy and Deb Ng. I ran into Chris Brogan and Brian Solis. I learned how to talk to people, start conversations and put yourself out there. It forced me to step outside of my shell and put myself forward.

    I'm going to blogher in July in Chicago. Wal-Mart is sponsoring a lounge there and we are part of the 11 moms.

    Any advice on getting sponsorships?

    Finding the right person to talk to is the hardest part of finding any sponsorship. Ask people who they know. Twitter is a great spot for that. Figure out what it is you are offering the company you are approaching. It is more about being a brand evangelist for the company. How can you do that?

    You have to educate your sponsor about what the conference is like and what they will get out of it.

    It is important to make sure that you and your sponsor are very clear on how you will be representing them at the conference.

    Any last statements?

    Social Media is still such a new field, and there are so many directions a person can go in. I am in the process of feeling things out and seeing what direction is best for me.

    Website: Frugal Upstate

    Twitter Id: @jennfowler 


     Thanks Jenn!  I will be following you.



    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Top Ten Reasons I'm Going to SOBCon 09


    Top Ten Reasons

    1.  I'm a blogger.  

    2.  To actually meet the speakers that I follow on twitter.  Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Chris Cree, Chris Garrett, Glenda Watson Hyatt, Julian Smith, Terry Starbucker, Liz Strauss --- just to name a few.

    3. To meet my some of my twitter friends like Becky McCray, Amber Naslund, Robert Hruzek, Jon Swanson -- just to name a few more.

    4. To come home with some kick ass business blog planning for my local community.

    5. To take my okay by me blog and turn it into a powerful business tool.

    6. To meet the Chicago social media scene - I consider Chicago my second home.

    7.  To see what the sponsors have to offer.  I'm already working with some of their sites - and excited to see what their futures are looking like.

    8. To hang out with really cool people in the best city in the world!  

    9. To exchange ideas, create possibilities and bring it all home.

    10.  Because I just have to.  

    Why are you going? 

    photo courtesy of flickr.com 


    Assignment Number 1 31DBBB


    Assignment Number 1 from Problogger project:

    31 Days to Build a Better Blog

    Create Your Elevator Speech.

    Here's what I had on the blog.

    INTENTIONS, PURPOSE AND PERMALINK

    The intentions of this blog is share knowledge, entertain when possible and merge work life with home life.  Interviews and information for and about small businesses and network marketers - that's what you'll find here.  The purpose is to educate, always to educate.

    So to revise that Darren at Problogger suggests your elevator speech should:

    1. solve a purpose or a need

    2. define your audience

    3. be clear

    4. keep it short

    5. stand out

    6. be intriguing

    7. be energetic but not hyped

    8. consider using a question

    9. be ready to expand your pitch

    I just organized all my labels this past weekend. Here's the ones I had:

    100 series, 12 for 12k, blogging,Franklin County,God, group writing, interview, Iowa, network marketing, Old Stone House, review,shop local, SOBCon 2009,twitter 

     I will narrow that down to:

    100 series: my challenge to write 100 blog posts to determine the direction of my blog

    12 for 12k: support for non-profits, differs each month

    blogging: how to and related directions

    Iowa: all things related to Iowa

    God: some spirituality for all of us

    Group Writing: a couple of writing projects I belong to where you are given a writing assignment

    Interview: Different people I've interviewed

    Network Marketing: my business, ideas, suggestions and how to's to help the network marketer

    Review: reviews of places and things

    SOBC2009: preparation for, attending and follow up for this event

    Twitter: how tos and related directions

    Based upon my labels, which are indicators of what I'm writing about on my blog I can now refine my elevator speech.

    Iowa based blogger writing interviews, strategies for network marketers, reviewing places and products, sharing what I've learned. Out, standing in my field.

    What do you think? 

    the picture is a tree standing in a field in Warren County Iowa

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    SOBCon 09 Sponsorship Spotlight


    SOBCon09.  I'm registered
    .  That means I got sponsors! 

    Cornerstone Cottage - gifts and crafts and oh so much more! 
    Townsend Winery - a little slice of heaven right here in Franklin County (I'm waiting on the gooseberry wine)
    Franklin County Historical Society - they get it and I'm honored to sit on their board.
    The Computer Guy - Pat Palmer travels where you need him, and now he's got his own storefront!

    I also got a secret sponsor - and many thanks to all of my sponsors.  

    We are going to rock Franklin County with the power of the blog!