Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lists - Men in Penguin Hats

Big conversations are revolving around lists. Twitter has a new feature, you can create lists. Todd Jordan wanted to be on somebody's list of 'men who wear hats'. I informed Todd he's already on my list of men who wear penguin hats. I thought I'd share a few pics of men in penguin hats.

You can always buy a fleece penguin hat here - for your child.

Or why not make your own? Here's the pattern.

But why stop at a hat? Why not the entire outfit?

Then there's my friend Todd. @tojosan on twitter He proudly wears a penguin hat.
What kind of lists are you making? What kind of lists are you on?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Social Media in the Everyday

website referrersImage by i am indisposed via Flickr

Today I was mind mapping at work. I'd be willing to bet you do it every day too - you just don't know it. The old terminology is 'multi tasking'.

Here's how the day went.

I took one event, tied it to facebook and set up the story, added some pictures from flickr (last years event) and promised more info to come.

Next I went to twitter, set up some tweets to build the suspense.

Then wrote the press release for the local paper, which will get printed about one week after the build up begins on face book.

Called the radio station, booked 5 minutes for an interview 2 days after the paper comes out.

I crossed over to linked in, did a search for people who might want to come to my event, sent a few messages - and answered a few back.

I jumped back into Publisher, created a really cool update newsletter to go to all the members letting them know that they can be FIRST in line, special seating - because they are members.

Took a minute after that to design the tickets that go on sale next week at the other local event in town. That is they go on sale, AFTER the members get to buy theirs.

I set up the email in ACT! to be sent at 5 a.m. and oh yeah, added a reminder to the members to mark off their calendar for the event in December.

Back to twitter to search for more people that really would be perfect for the event - and shared some info about other cool things I found during the day. Then I gently reminded them they don't want to miss this event. Put out my facebook link for people to follow if they want.

Back to facebook to add some friends, share a link or two - give out the price of the tickets and pre-sold four.

Went to the website, added a widget for people to pay for their tickets online. Checked the links while I was there to ensure no bad ones, answered a few comments over on the blog.

Drank some coffee, took a break. A little deep breathing - and realized, I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Passion in Business

I've been thinking about passion. And business.

At first, they seem counterintuitive. I mean, I don't see business owners dancing around with a rose between their teeth. Isn't that what we think of when we think of passion?
I have a better way to think about passion in my business. What gets me up every morning excited to go to work? Why do I love what I do? What keeps me going through the part of my work I don't love so much? What gets me to pick up the phone when I'm nervous to call someone?

I am partnered with a company that encourages a flexible schedule - they believe family and God should be your first priority. They also encourage us to work with each other and to have fun. I've learned new skills to operate my business -and I love what I've learned! Social media for this middle aged woman has changed my life. My company encouraged me to always be learning.
And I'm making a real difference. I am helping the average, every day consumer like you and me become sustainable and green. I'm teaching people how to earn extra income based on how hard they work.
Can you say that? Does your job fulfill you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

4 Tips from the Nametag Guy

Scott Ginsburg, the Nametag Guy vowed to wear a nametag, everyday, 24/7. I saw the tattoo. I also heard Scott speak at the Iowa Tourism Conference and took away some great notes.

You can find him at He believes leverage is a simple idea and approachability becomes profitability.

If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone else will.

Approachability is a function of spreadability. is a perfect example of spreadability. We need to learn to create an environment in which spreadability is most likely to occur.

1. Sticky is for suckers – sticky doesn’t mean viable.
Learn to surrender some control so others can take your ideas into their hands and spread the idea

2. Make the mundane memorable. What does the sign outside of your business say? Add a quote or a saying – encourage people to read your sign! Nobody notices normal anymore. Nobody pays for boring or average. Position your offer differently.

3. Unspreadable is the enemy.
Spreadability is only available with high quality ingredients. Your message must be supported with substance.

4. Find your noticiability.
What can you use to quantify your uniqueness?


Consistency is far better than moments of greatness.” Scott Ginsberg

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Advocacy Guru: Stephanie Vance

At the Iowa Tourism Conference I got the opportunity to listen to two presentations by Stephanie Vance. I heard her through ears that were listening for things I could use for the Chamber, Tourism and for my business. You can find her at I recommend you go there at sign up for her newsletter, watch a clip of Stephanie in action and read some of her blog.

Did you know:
  • 1,320 bills were introduced in Iowa last year
  • 20% passed
  • there are 150 legislators, each represents 30,000 people
  • You can get an average of 7.5 minutes interview with your legislator
Advocacy is the pursuit of influencing incomes. You've got to ask for what you want.

"The legislative process is designed to be this mish mosh of craziness", said Ms. Vance. Read the Federalist Papers - they intended for government to be crazy.

What are some Influence Factors for Legislators?

  • Personal relationships (friends, family, staff)

  • Jobs and Issues in their Districts (development stories)

  • Media (ask your local paper if you can do a 1/2 column article on tourism every week)

  • Money

  • The Message - What you say

  • Their own principles and passions

  • Their Constituents

The Four Keys To Success

What do you want? Make the ask!

Do you want funding initiatives, policy change, support for a bill?

  • Do you want a relationship?

  • Do you want them to write a newsletter article? Make a Statement? A 5 minute speech? A site Visit? A website statement? Often, if you write out the article or statement you want, present it and ask for their approval - you just might get it!

Know Your Audience

  • Why are you relevant? Do you live or work or serve in their district?
  • What are they interested in?

  • What positions do they hold?

  • What are their politics?

How Should You ask? SPIT Rule

Specific, Personal, Informative, Trustworthy

The message formula is: Hi. My name is __________ from _______. I here to talk about ________. Knowing your interest is _________________, we think you'll be interested in this. It's important to the people in your area where I live/work/serve because __________.

There's a triage that occurs in the legislators office. The front desk person (usually an intern, a very young intern) goes through the letters and separates them between letters from their district and those that are not. Those that are not, get lost.

Then the letters get separated into more piles. Form letters. Crazy letters (these go to the FBI). Personal letters from constituents. And the Nirvana Stack - those who have written before.

Here's some tips using the four keys: What, Who, How and Follow Up

Ask more than once.

  • Connect with other advocates.

  • Send press releases to legislators office - fax it or email it to press secretary on staff.

  • invite them to come and hang out for a day (legislator AND staff)

  • get them to submit an article

  • visit

  • set up a legislative showcase (or attend one)

  • have tourism packets for your area available

Set up a site visit.
home style, not DC style

  • makes the issues real

  • show the impact on the district

  • often easier to get attention doing this

  • work with the staff

  • be sure you arrange EVERYTHING

Decide who to invite

  • legislator AND staff

  • don't invite opponent

  • decide what to show them

  • make sure real people on your end attend

  • record the event; photos, video, news

The Invitation Process

  • Write out an invite, email and fax it

  • 3 or 4 days later call

  • 2 days later call again

  • 2 days later call again

  • it takes an average of 7 times of contacting for it to work
Participate in town hall meetings

  • raises your profile
  • increases your credibility
  • required elected official to take a stance
  • find out from the legislators office when town hall meetings are scheduled

Visit to see who is co-sponsoring legislation
The federal district work period is generally scheduled around holidays. visit and for those dates.

Coalition and Network Building
The ability to focus the message helps build relationships with customer - and often spreads out the work.

Look at your audience, then find someone who thinks like your audience and ask them to join you.

Web 2.o
The key word is PERSISTENCE.
Visit to find legislative action centers
find connections on facebook, linkedin and twitter
include your facebook and twitter info on all press releases

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Franklin County Goes to Iowa Tourism Conference

I happily sit on the Franklin County Tourism board. It's a great fit, I love to travel, am crazy about Franklin County and consider it my civic duty to share the great benefits of my county.

Every year Iowa Tourism has a conference and this year it's at Meskwaki in Tama. The Director, Brook Boehmler, could not go so here I am. In this post I'm going to share a few highlights of three speakers I've seen. (more coverage tomorrow)

Patti Judge, Iowa's Lt Governor, spoke at the Opening Luncheon and shared her pictures from her Travel Iowa Tour this past summer. Did you know there is a 6.3 BILLION tourism industry in Iowa? You can read her blog here.

Drew McClellan, local fella from Des Moines and renowned social media expert did a presentation on the Age of Conversation. The old method of marketing was the broadcast format - all info and no feedback. The new web 2.0 is all about many to many conversations.

Google the top 20 brands and 25% of the results are user generated content. In other words, 1/4 of the world is talking about them online - and they have no control over what they are saying. (Nielsen Buzz metrics)

Wouldn't you want to track when people are talking about you? And what they are saying?

Google alerts, google reader,,, and linked in. All valuable tools to track the conversations about you. You can find his presentation here.
Andy Dumain from Shrinking Footprint spoke about assumptions we make about green travel, stressed telling a story about your location, and covered working together with other like minded communities.
If you are highly responsive to change and have a strategic commitment - you will survive! Figure out what is important to your community and start your tourism efforts. there.
Tell a story with your advertising and marketing efforts. Be local, authentic, individual, intimate, involved and impossible to duplicate.
Charleston SC has an ad that has a picture of a red bicycle on a Charleston street downtown. The words say "when did we stop building homes so beautiful that people would preserve them forever?" It was a stunning photo - and a simple message. It made me want to go to Charleston!
Andy was blown away by Iowa's commitment to family. He's from the East Coast and attended the preconference get together. He said that everyone he talked to was talking about family: events, activities, kids, get togethers all involving their families. Go the East coast and that is missing. Everyone is so busy! It's not that Iowan's are not busy -- it's only that we have our priorities in a different order.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Call the Hogs Home

I was in a meeting at the local chamber office yesterday, in the back meeting room. Terry Cole from Renaissance Restoration stopped by to update me on the status of the Old Stone House. We were having a lovely chat, when suddenly and loudly we hear


Wtf? Terry looks at me and says "sounds like someone is calling the hogs home." And then Terry continues in his conversation with me - while we listen to a young man calling home the hogs.

It stopped after about five minutes. Our meeting took another twenty.

I was dying to get up and go find out what was going on! I ushered Terry out - and found my coworker. Uriah is a volunteer from the high school at the Chamber Office. Smart kid, going to law school for college, really on top of his game. He had gone into the Executive Director's office to work on some computer software.

When he first went in he said "Oh man, I gotta listen to that radio station?" It was the local station, KLMJ. They play country and talk a lot. Death notices, car accidents, sales downtown - you know, all the news we want to hear! They were running a contest. If you called in to the station and called the hogs home, you would win a ham. Uriah heard it, dialed and THEY ANSWERED! He spent five minutes on the phone calling the hogs home as loud as his voice would carry. The radio announcer urged him on with "they are almost home! keep yelling! the louder you yell, the sooner they come home!". Uriah won a ham.

Only in Iowa.

The lessons: never assume anything, get involved, yell your heart out.
picture taken

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall: Things Are Changing

It's that time of year again -- Fall. When the leaves change, the weather gets cooler and we start to think of finishing out the year.

It's also a great time shake off your old leaves too. What activities are you conducting that are no longer working?

Those phones calls you are making - are they getting boring, routine and not working anymore? Possible clients need to hear energy in your voice, excitement oozing over the phone. Have your calls become routine - like you are reading right from a script?

Are you simply handing out business cards? I was taught that you should never give out your business card. That is unless you have gotten the other person's contact information first. Business cards get thrown in a purse or briefcase and often forgotten about. Start having conversations with possible clients, find out what it is they want. Get their phone and email address. THEN give them your business card.

Are you organizing your office more and talking to people less? Business hours need to be set. Action needs to be taken. Filing files, organizing emails and cleaning your home office don't get you clients. Picking up the phone, attending networking events, talking live or online to people - that's what gets you clients. You can file early in the a.m. or late at night!

We've got 2 1/2 months left before the end of the year. Are you near to your yearly goals? Have you even written your goals? Why not write a 70 day plan and put it into effect? Go balls to the wall for 70 days - you will be amazed at what you'll accomplish.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Climate Change and Blogging

Today is Blog Action Day. It's a group writing project and you can find the original request for blog posts here. The topic is How do your interests connect to Climate Change?

First a little background and some reading on the subject of climate change.

The first assumption is that there is a thing called Climate Change. It's a volatile subject, still. Even the United States Chamber of Commerce has gotten involved. Their basic premise is that if we are going to have climate change legislation, don't shut down businesses that already exist because of some laws. (Serious paraphrasing there, you can read their basic premise here.)

Then there are the ebb and flow people. That's the group that believes the earth is always changing and things will ebb and flow accordingly. Sure the weather is wacky, but what is wacky anyway? Who determines that? Here's a link to a group that believes carbon dioxide is a good thing.

I am on the other side of the conversation - I believe in climate change, I believe man creates it and we are doing irreversible harm to our planet. PZ Meyers, a biologist and associate professor in Minnesota had this to say. He was responding to Mario Molina, a professor at University of California - and Nobel Prize winning chemist. Scripps Institution of Oceanography talks about some delaying tactics we could employ right now. I am in alignment with the Nature Conservancy. Their position can be found here.

How do my interests tie into climate change?

I am an executive with a green company that manufactures products that are safer for our environment. I am happy to be associated with them. They manufacture their products here in the United States. (I lived in North Carolina and saw the drawbacks of moving companies overseas - unemployment was rampant.) They teach us how to use natural ingredients to make safer products for our bodies and our homes. I talk about green every day. It's my job.

Whatever side of the conversation you are on - you can take the position that it's just smart to do your part to preserve our planet.
  • recycle - why not reuse? Couldn't someone benefit from your throwaways? Real Simple has this great link on how to recycle anything! There's even a national crayon recycle program.
  • go green - leave it to the treehuggers to tell you how. Check out this link. Many things from green beer to green funerals.
  • get green products in your home -- and that's where I come in. It's my job to show you some simple things you can do to remove toxins from your home. Why not take the healthy home tour and see where you have toxic products? If you're interested, just fill out the form - and we can have a conversation!

How do your interests connect to Climate Change?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Blog. Do U? Conference in Iowa

I just love twitter. I did a search today in my tweetdeck looking for 'Iowa'. I found @iatraveler who let me know there is a blogging conference in Perry Iowa November 14 and 15th.

Sometimes it's easy to feel like you are all alone out here in the blogosphere, wondering if you are doing this blogging thing right. If you don't communicate with others in your genre, you really are out here all alone!

Jody (@iatraveler) decided she was going to host a blogger's conference. She found a great hotel - Hotel Patee in Perry Iowa. The rate of $99 in conjunction with the variety of rooms (I got one with a spa tub) is what finally convinced me to attend. Visit their website at

The conference itself is only $99! I've been to a few bigger blogging conferences in Chicago and the rates start at $499 and only go up. So for $99 I get to see:
  • Melanie Nelson from Blogging Basics 101 who will talk about media kits and the new FTC regulations
  • Becky Mollenkamp from Creative Services who is going to share about how to effectively use twitter
  • Jody Halsted from Have Kid Will Travel and Iowa Geek who is covering priorities
  • BJ Weber from Ankeny Tax and Accounting who will make taxes understandable
  • Darcy from Graphically Designing who will cover blog design, pimping your blog and dressing up your content

And get this - Darcy and her husband Randy will be doing head shots during the conference for $25 - you will leave with a disc of web-resolutions images. Now that's cool!

I'll be in Perry for this conference. How many other Midwestern bloggers will be joining me?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ugly Pursetacular

You sent out an invitation. You posted it on facebook and twitter. You put it in the paper. You called a few friends.

Ugly Pursetacular - Relive the 70's

What the ..... ?

Saturday we all met at 2 pm at Center One. Got a flower necklace and an ugly purse. Our assignment was to visit every store that was on the necklace and get a tag for each store to add to the necklace.
In the purse was a bunch of junk. I'm not kidding - a bunch of junk. I had a 1/2 empty bottle of lotion, a paper clip, a real old coin purse. There was also coupons from each store and a playing card. We had to play progressive poker - we got a card at each store. At the end of the night prizes were given for the best hand. There were also prizes given for the things in your purse.

We shopped at the stores all afternoon - Wood Cellar, Orange Possum, Cornerstone Cottage, Fireside Gifts, Christensen's Jewelry and merry bees. We stopped at merry bee's, had a wine tasting and drank coffee and listened to live music.
We headed over to Coconuts Lounge around 7 and started making purses! With paper and flowers and glue and beads and junk. Prizes were given for the best purses. A lady from Toastmasters spoke and told some funny stories (did you know if you have a stroke, you can't stand on one foot?). We drank strawberry daquiries.

We shopped, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we had a good time. We were local gals - and happy to do our part to support our community.
You can find videos of the day at
You can see the still photos at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

3 Things a Good Network Marketer Will Do

Four children reading the book How the Grinch ...Image via Wikipedia

There are three things a good network marketing business will require you to do.
1. Personally enroll customers.
2. Develop leadership.
3. Have a product focused business.

When you first start your business, you talk to your friends and family - and ask them to be customers. The day comes (if you are lucky-soon) when you have to branch out and start talking to people you don't know. How do you find them? Here's three ideas:
  • think about going to financial services seminars. The best one I can think of is where they want you to look at their insurance plan, 401k investment plan, how to prepare for retirement - those kind of seminars. Generally there are 10-50 people there looking to better take care of their money. Isn't that the kind of customer you want? Go, learn something and meet new people.
  • target people who are already working from home. Don't hesitate to give them a call, let them know you have a home based business and it just might be worthwhile to sit down together and see what each of you might have to offer!
  • ask for referrals. I call my customers and ask them if they know anyone who is looking to earn additional income. The holidays are coming, who couldn't use some extra shopping money? Or do they know someone who'd like to get safer, better, green products in their home? You'd be surprised how often I get referrals.

A good leader wants to show someone else how to be a good leader. The strongest thing you can do for yourself is to work on your own development. Read, practice, engage. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The Go Giver by Bob Burg. Dare to Dream and Work to Win by Dr. Tom Barrett. Encourage your potential leaders to do the same. Work with your team and always remember WHAT YOU DO, YOUR TEAM WILL DO. So if you complain, your team complains. If you grow, they grow.

I am blessed to work with a green company that has the best products on the market. How do I know that? I USE THEM. I can talk about the products because I have them in my home. It's a simple concept - but you'd be surprised how many people think they can get by without using the products. That's just a big 'duh' in my book!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Enforced Downtime

Touch Tone single line business telephone with...Image via Wikipedia

Two days a week for the next ten weeks I have to be unplugged. No tv, no computer, no electric car, no cell phone. And I'm actually excited for this adventure.

I work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I work at home, I work on the road, I work a lot. But then, I do love my work! Unplugging will be quite the adventure. It will be an exercise in time management, and that would be good. It will give me a chance to write handwritten thank you notes. I'll catch up on my reading. I'll read recipe books and find fun ways to prepare vegetables (which I am not a fan of). And I'll be eliminating toxins from my body. I imagine I will sleep too.

I've been having some trouble over the past year or so with being really tired in the afternoon. I've had to take 3 hours naps. The traditional medicine doctors say there is nothing wrong. Just exercise more, eat right and lose some weight. If you can't get off the couch - it's hard to exercise. I said CAN'T - not WON'T.

I took the advice of a friend and went to a homeopathic, oriental medicine practitioner. The first thing he said to me was "ohhh, your chi is really low". I knew right then I was on the right path.

I will be taking homeopathic remedies for two days a week for ten weeks. It requires I stay away from electromagnetic waves as much as possible. I'm also on a sugar free, no inflammation diet. Lots of fish, chicken and vegetables.

There is one thing I'd like to know. Why isn't there a homeopathic clinic closer than Wisconsin? I've asked around locally - and none. Perhaps one of my readers knows of a place?

If you need to reach me, pick up the telephone! My land line is 641-458-1114. I bet I'll be ready to talk to someone!
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