Category Archives: Dear Carole Advice Column

You Handed Me the Scissors

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If I cut you off, remember this, chances are YOU handed me the scissors.

If I cut you off, chances are you handed me the scissors.

If I cut you off, chances are you handed me the scissors.

Great thought for the new year because the truth is when I purge, I purge.  I do purge all year but at the end of the year I really purge and this is the weekend that the scissors come out.

There just comes a time when moving on is the only thing left to do.  In the busy world of being an entrepreneur there is no time for those people/friends/connections/followers etc whom when you think of them by name fit into the following descriptive words:

  • Annoying
  • Whining
  • Mean
  • Rude
  • Phony
  • Leaches
  • Users
  • Fibbers

There are more words.  Think of it this way when the mere mention of someone’s name makes you visualize an energy sucking vampire – there you go and they should go too.

Anyone who aggravates you in any way should be banned from renting space in your head.  Chances are they are allowing you into their heads so why let them into yours?

Right now you have a year ahead of you to forge new paths, to hone new skills, to be inspired and to inspire others.

This is the one time when you should be running with scissors.  Run to get them, run to use them and cut those people out of the pages of the new book you are about to write.  It’s your book, your story, your life, and your success – it is ALL about you so go get those scissors.  I promise it will be fine.

 

 

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Put the Spotlight on You

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Put the spotlight on you.  Yes, absolutely shine that circle of light down on what you want, what you are determined to have, that #1 thing that you see when you close your eyes. Grab that spotlight by handle and point it in the direction of you.  Hone in on what is most important to you as you start the new year and concentrate on it.

Get your sunglasses out and put them on because you are going to need them.  That spotlight is going to blind you at times.  Beams of light will fragment and dispersions of light will occur.  You will see rainbows.  This is what happens when you concentrate on what it is that you want.

You have to concentrate.  That’s the key.  You have to block out every distraction and concentrate.  As you concentrate you will connect and then this happens:

“When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you.”
Stephen Richards

Isn’t that an eye-opening quote?  It’s so true.  I wanted to pick out some $5 words to describe the truthfulness in it, I decided to let it stand on it’s own.

Early in 2015 I was not concentrating.  I did not silence the noise within me to get to a point where I could concentrate.  I was not shining a spotlight on what it was that I wanted instead I was guilty of shining many spotlights all over the place.  These spotlights  were bouncing off of each other to the point where I was blind to what it was that I really wanted.

I joined groups, I joined the wrong groups.  I put miles and miles on my car and on the soles of my feet.  I had to be there, no wait I had to be over there, no wait I need to be there, when I should have been here shining one spotlight on what it was that I wanted.  I did not know how to silence the disturbances going on around me.

I was putting my spotlight on other people.  I even let the noise these other people were making become my theme song until one day instead of hearing a beautiful melody that was pitch-perfect I heard sour notes, flat notes, sharp notes, and the rhythm was off and the spotlight wasn’t on at all.

How many times in our lives have we all done this?  We think someone else has the answer.  We think joining a group of like-minded people will help us.  Why can’t we be our own group?  Why do we need others to validate us?  We know when something feels right and when it doesn’t.

As I look back at the sour, sharp, flat note moment now I actually am so grateful that everyone was singing off-key.  I am thrilled the rhythm that was bouncing off the walls in that room soon allowed me to dance to a different beat.  For a short while my spotlight was dimmed but when it came back on, it was electrifyingly brilliant.

How did I get my spotlight shining in the right direction?  Simple, I concentrated on me.  When I started to do this ideas would come to me.  Once they started, they multiplied.  I truly believe ideas have a brain and a heart and if you don’t listen to them they will move on to someone else.  They have a will to survive.

One morning an idea sat on the edge of my keyboard and told me I absolutely had to change some of the wording in my website.  I shined a spotlight on my website and in a very short period of time I had made some really good positive changes.  How do I know that?  Well, within 2 weeks I had new business.

The next idea sat on my monitor and told me that new wording meant a new corporate name, new business cards, new print pieces, new everything every where.  I grabbed that little fellow and by the end of day mission accomplished.

These are examples of what can happen when you shine a spotlight at an idea that comes to you and you give that idea your total concentration.

When I consult with corporations on strategic social media plans I insist they have a white board or a flip chart available and I show them my spotlight methods.  I have a 4′ by 8′ white board in my house with every project I am working on and I stand and shine a spotlight on one project and I concentrate like I am Harry Houdini about to tell you what card you picked out of the deck. (Yes, Houdini started out with card tricks).

What happens next is truly magic.  A group appears in the form of ideas.  You will know which ones are good, bad or excellent.  Your brain is amazing, use it.

I will leave you with this – the bottom line here is that you can sidle up to amazing thought leaders.  You can be their little errand people.  You can be grateful for the bread crumbs they throw you as you shine your spotlight on them.  Or you can shine your spotlight on you and become the amazing thought leader.  You just need to tune out the noise and let the sweet notes of dancing ideas come to you.

2016 is going to be a very successful year for me, I just signed my 16th client and I need to hire an assistant.  That assistant will be taught how to shine the spotlight

Here is your spotlight.

Here is your spotlight.

– first thing on the list.

 

 

 

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What Would W C Fields Say About Podcasting?

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What would W C Fields say about podcasting?  First of all, I know darn well some of you don’t even know who W C Fields is.  If you are one of them here is where you should go to check him out:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001211/

A truly funny, wise man, who loved his booze and not a lot of other things.

A truly funny, wise man, who loved his booze and not a lot of other things.

I never really paid much attention to him either – he was WAY before my time and his antics probably tickled my grandparent’s funny bones. However, he did have a way with words and he is still quoted (or misquoted) to this very day.

What I learned and really put some thought into is this quote:

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”

I answer to creativity and I am very expressive therefore my anthem is that I am an Expressive Creator. (Thank you Sally Hogshead for your Fascinate program and teaching me my anthem.

I enjoy my creativity to the max.  I enjoy doing my podcast.  I like where I am and it’s all okay.  People ask me all the time if I make money podcasting.  The answer is yes, but my podcast itself is not monetized.  I make money helping other people podcast and I am fine with that.

Would I like sponsors some day – who wouldn’t?  However, I am happy where I am and I actually cringe when people ask me if my show is monetized.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with just enjoying what you do.

I answer to Expressive Creator.  There are podcasters who would call me fluff.  They would say I podcast as a hobby.  They might cringe because I am more interested in adding value to someone else’s world than I am in making money.

Is there anything wrong with just enjoying what you do?  Hell to the no is my answer.

I am writing this in hopes that I might turn on the light bulbs in people’s heads and that they will realize that they, too are right where they should be and they will embrace that.

What would W C Fields say about podcasting?  My guess is that he would say something like this:

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.”

Oh, wait W C Fields did say that.  Thank you so much W C Fields.

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7 Reasons to Rebrand Your Business

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One day I woke up and knew it was time to rebrand my business.  It was time as you will see in my 7 reasons.  There are always more – but these reasons are sufficient enough to get you started and maybe put a bee in your bonnet about making some changes.

Ideas should be buzzing right now.

Ideas should be buzzing right now.

  1. You are tired of doing what you do or it actually is getting more difficult to do what you do for clients.  In my case I was managing social media accounts for people and that takes a lot of work and a lot of time.  I wasn’t feeling the excitement any more.
  2. You realize one day what you do isn’t that popular any longer. I just used the word “manage” and I had been using it for 4 years in telling people what I do.  I realized that word could have a definite negative connotation.  I thought about that and decided to stop being a social media manager.  People are very savvy about doing social media, not so savvy about the right ways to do it though so I took a step back and realized that consulting with people was a better way to go.  I have years of experience under my belt.  I learned from many of the biggest thought leaders in social media, I knew I was qualified to consult and stop managing.
  3. You realize one day you have expanded beyond your original scope.  I had.  I was offering too much to people in hopes that something I offered would get me hired.
  4. You realize you have to explain what you do over and over because no one really has a clue.  This was a tough one to swallow because I thought I had clearly defined what I do.  Then someone I really respect in business told me she did not have a clue – time to rebrand.
  5. You realize that there are aspects of your business you like doing but have stopped doing.  This was a real light bulb moment for me because I like to write, and I had stopped doing that.  I was doing things that really did not shine a light on my talent.  Time to rebrand.
  6. You start to get asked to do other things or you start to do other things.  In my case I started a podcast business and in doing that I knew I had to rebrand.
  7. You realize your business name is just not good, or it sounds too much like something people wouldn’t like to identify with, or it is too much like a big name and you get a cease and desist letter.  None of this happened to me, but these are also great reasons to rebrand.

I rebranded but I did not change my website because a very clever person had me brand myself as my name many years ago.  All I had to do was add a tab under carolesanek.com and the name of my corporation was there.  My business cards, my print advertising, and more all falls under Butterfly Boom Productions and my anthem is that I am the Chief Expressive Creator.

My 9 seconds description of what I do is this:

“I develop visually-oriented content for clients using my insightful emotions and expressive energy.”

This all came from taking the Fascinate program that was developed by Sally Hogshead and it rocks.  I highly recommend taking the quiz (it is very reasonably priced) and figuring out what your anthem is and how to describe yourself.  When I tell people what I do they know that I paint pictures in the minds of their potential customers because I have years of insight behind me and everyone who knows me knows I am filled (sometimes over-flowing) with energy.

http://www.howtofascinate.com/

I am an expressive creator.

This is what I do:

  • Social Media PR (I consult with people to make their social media glow)
  • Content Creation (of course I create content, I have 3 awards for writing – brag moment)
  • Blog Set Up (I enjoy working with people to set up a blog and if they can’t write I do the next thing):
  • Ghost Write
  • Podcast Lessons (if you want a podcast)
  • Podcast Production and Editing (if you want a podcast but don’t want to do the production and editing part)

I think it is pretty clear what I do.

What happened when I took the word “manage” out?  I got 3 new clients almost immediately.

I got hired to set up a blog.

I am producing and editing a podcast for someone else.

I have shared with you reasons to rebrand – if any reason has hit home, sleep on it, think on it, write it down, and if it all makes sense, go for it.

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Things I Learned From Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Things I learned from Dr. Wayne Dyer go back years to when he first appeared on the self-help scene.  His book, Your Erroneous Zones, was on my bookshelf and many more of his books followed next to it.

I read through some of my favorite Dyer quotes today and decided to dig a little deeper and be a little more transparent about what his words meant to me.

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

Well this is a no brainer when you think about it.  We all react but we can control that reaction and bring it back down to earth and stomp it into the ground.  It took me a while to really understand that I can control my karma in reacting to people.

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.

This quote is such a favorite of mine because dancing my way through the beautiful life I have had this far has never been about getting to that certain place.  In my travels in this life I hold dear, I have held many things that are over-the-moon dear to me.  I have enjoyed every step. Please someone let Dyer know I am not ready for my next journey (yet).

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.

This is a brutally honest quote to talk about because we all do this.  I am guilty of it, you are too.  When I look at it here I am embarrassed to think how others judged me for judging another.  This really defines who we are doesn’t it?

You’ll see it when you believe it.

This is an absolute – when I shook off my doubts about my capabilities I knew what direction my career needed to go.  I have this quote where I can see it all the time.

Dyer has said so many outstanding deep reaching emotional things over the span of his lifetime.  His words will resonate beyond my lifetime, beyond yours.  The here and now would be a good time to read through his quotes.  Try a site like brainyquotes.com and pick some that touch your heart and your brain. 

Footprints to follow

Dr. Wayne Dyer you are gone way too soon but your left us great footprints to fill in our lives.

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Free Advice on Not Working for Free 2nd Opinion

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Last week I wrote a blog titled Free Advice On Not Working for Free and today I am writing my own rebuttal to that – let me call it a tiny rebuttal because I would never tell anyone to work for free.  We do need to have basic necessities BUT what if I told you that there are things you should give people, things that could improve your life and your business and that you should be giving these things for free?

Let me take you back to a conversation I had earlier this year in which I was told I needed to stop giving work away for free.  I was guilty of doing that.  I think we all feel we need to do free work to grow our businesses.  I had moved past the point in my business of needing to do that, but I kept doing work for free and it was ticking me off.

I stopped.

Today though in researching and reflecting upon an interview I am about to do with the world famous author and speaker, Bob Burg, I re-read his book The Go-Giver and I am a true disciple of his beliefs.  There are things we all should be giving away for free because these are the very things that will bring us more success.

Do you know what the 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success are?  You can find them on Bob’s website and this is the link to get directly to these laws:

http://thegogiverway.com/the-go-giver/

When I was told I should never give anyone anything for free I felt it was extremely hard-core and a militant statement.  After re-reading The Go-Giver I found many reasons to give things away for free because being a giver can bring you tremendous rewards in life.

In following the principles of Burg’s book, it isn’t about giving work away for free at all.  It is a philosophy and it might mean throwing away some of the hard-core militant thoughts you might have been taught or told and really reaching deep into yourself to achieve stratospheric success.

There will always be people who don’t get it.  There will always be people who don’t believe it.  There will always be takers. There will always be people who do not understand that serving people well will result in better sleep at night.

We will be taking Bob Burg’s podcast interview live soon.  You will find it along with show notes and more great advice on http://thecrazymarketingladiesshow.com and it will be Episode 38 I just don’t have a title yet.

In the meantime, I highly encourage you to read The Go-Giver and learn from it, embrace the philosophy, put it into practice – it’s a super feeling to do the right thing with people.

 

Buy it, read it, give it to a friend, or someone you know who really needs it.

Buy it, read it, give it to a friend, or someone you know who really needs it.

 

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Free Advice on Not Working for Free

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Yes, it’s Friday and a good day to stop readers in their tracks by giving out free advice on not working for free.

This is something I had to learn to stop doing.  Free doesn’t pay the bills.  Late payments don’t pay the bills.  I work on a retainer basis – I get paid upfront.  If/when a client is late they get no grace period.  Work stops.  Work begins again when payment is made.

It took a strong stomach to do it the first time, then it got easier.  Does free fill your gas tank?  Does free fill your belly?  You know the answer.  Stop being nice.  Nice doesn’t fill your gas tank or your belly either.

Now just to play with your minds let me tell you what you can do for free but remember time is money so you have to really limit what you are going to do for free.  If you can give something away that guarantees a lead or business in the future then do that.  A free e-book, a free white paper, something of value that doesn’t take a lot of time to create.

I have a software program that can tell someone in less than a minute how their web presence is – and I have bo problem sending out a free report because at the end of the day if your web presence is lousy fixing it could bring you more customers.  It’s a win/win.

Yes, this is the day I have to let a client know all work stops till I am paid.  Bet your bottom dollar they stop work to their clients when they don’t get paid.

Stop working for free - it doesn't get you anywhere but on the road to being aggravated.

Stop working for free – it doesn’t get you anywhere but on the road to being aggravated.

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Damage Control Part 2

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After I wrote yesterday’s article about the fact that doing damage contol immediately is of utmost importance, I realized that I needed to write a damage control part 2 blog.

The reason for writing it is because I truly believe from both personal and business experience that people do not realize that there are steps they need to take.

Hey it’s your reputation – if you don’t give a you-know-what about your reputation stop reading this right now.  If you do give a you-know-what then you are reading the right blog.

We all make mistakes.  We all screw up.  Many times a sincere apology will be the fix that is needed and we move on hopefully with our bruised feelings bandaged and we heal.

Quick apologies work.  They work especially well when the infraction isn’t detrimental to someone’s well being both emotionally and physically. If you forgot your best friend’s birthday you are probably in the dog house.  You can get out of it – best friends can move past it.  Now if it is your spouse’s birthday that might be a horse of a different color.

Move on – that’s the next step.  That waiter that did not take your order quickly apologizes, you get served no one is hurt, we all move on – it works.

BUT……………..

What if what you did or what someone in your company did caused someone else a much more serious problem?  What if what you did could seriously damage your reputation?  What if what you did hurt someone deeply?  What if…..what if……what if…..there are more – we both know that.

The first thing you absolutely must do is own it.
Playing the blame game or dodging responsibility is only going to make it worse. Instead, admit your mistake and face up to the consequences.

Why?  People want to see you own it.  They want to see you admit you were wrong and they want to hear your apology.

Guess what comes next – the apology.
If you’ve caused pain or headaches to the people around you, they’re going to want an apology—and not one of those fake, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” BS statements that sounds like you are putting the responsibility on others.  Be specific in your acknowledgement so that people know you really understand the problem.

Now it’s time to figure out how this happened and how to keep it from happening again.
Once you’ve owned up to the mistake and apologized, try to figure out how it happened and how such errors can be avoided in the future.  It’s important to consult other people who were affected by the mistake (if any) and look for ways to make things better.

If you don’t give a hoot and your actions were deliberate then you need to be on a psychiatrist’s couch because malicious behavior has a diagnosis somewhere and you need help.

What happens next is usually we beat ourselves up.
Mistakes can be embarrassing, and it’s easy to get stuck in the groove of beating yourself up. It does no good to throw yourself at your victim’s feet over and over again. You admitted it. You apologized. You tried to make it right and ensure it never happens again.  Apologizing repeatedly can be a sign of weakness and actually hurt your credibility,

Your job is to learn from it.

And then grow better from it.

All of these steps are very important.  Don’t ever think that just walking away will work.  Walking away is stupid.  Your reputation will suffer.  People will talk.  You will be the subject of their talk.  Don’t ever think you can do this and it won’t matter.  People’s feelings matter a lot.  What was it that Maya Angelou said?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I like this quote but I am going to say it my way:
“If you do something to someone – make it better NOW because people will accept your apology, they may not forget what you did but they will move on, forgetting how you made them feel though will always be there.”  – Carole Sanek, 2015

But are you really?  Hey it's your life, your reputation, your loss.

But are you really? Hey it’s your life, your reputation, your loss.

 

 

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Damage Control Cannot Wait

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Damage control cannot wait.  The minute you have a less than favorable situation you have to take action.

I have been working with someone for the last two days who had damage done 4 years ago and it is preventing people from doing business with them to this day.  They did not do damage control when they should have and it is costing them.

The nature of the complaint against them, while personal and probably at the time thought of as trivial, is anything but that because it is on Google and guess what?  Google doesn’t care and Google will not take anything off their site without a court order.  Think I am kidding?  I am not.

Do you know how much money that can cost?  Think of all those attorney fees to start with and then add up the time you spend when you could be doing things that make money.

I started digging today into this a little more since I knew I was going to write about damage control.  The first thing I found was written by someone in the hospitality industry where you know testimonials go viral.

Sharlyn Lauby said this:

I spent many years of my career in the hospitality business and the first rule of thumb when dealing with customers was, “if a guest had a positive experience, they’ll tell 3 people and if they had a negative experience, they’ll tell 10.” That same idea holds true in the new media world, except the numbers have grown exponentially. Instead of it being 3 people – it’s 3,000, or instead of 10 – it’s perhaps 100,000. The numbers aren’t meant to scare you. But what should you do when something goes wrong?

Sharlyn is right – many people will see an online complaint and you end up running around with a big fire hose trying to put out the flames.

That hose can get very heavy - and tiring in the case of putting out damage control fires.  Help prevent them- be proactive and do the right thing.

That hose can get very heavy – and tiring in the case of putting out damage control fires. Help prevent them- be proactive and do the right thing.

This is why it is essential to handle all issues immediately.

This link takes you to a site with really good advice:

http://www.mrmediatraining.com/2013/02/07/the-ten-commandments-of-damage-control/

One more piece of advice – if you suspect that there could be an issue heading your way, get in front of it.  Do the right thing.  This is a very small world and social media has made it even smaller.

If you get in front of it you won’t need the fire hose.

 

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Do You Know the Definition of the Word Referral?

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Do you know the definition of the word referral?

Here it is:

re·fer·ral
rəˈfərəl/
noun
an act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.

Earlier this year I attended a presentation by Michael Maher who spoke quite profoundly about the importance of referrals in any business AND the importance of giving credit to those who do give referrals to people.

BNI members write their referrals down on a slip of paper and hand in their referrals at meetings.  Referrals are tracked.

A local chamber of commerce has an online referral program that members can use to notify someone that they have been referred so they can follow up on the referral.

I like to look at referrals as a reward.  I refer my clients to other people all the time.  I have a client who gives me all their referrals in social media.  We grow bigger with referrals.

After attending the Maher presentation I began to start looking at those that I give my business to and a pattern of not getting any referrals back started to emerge.

I sat down with my team and stories started to come out.  There are those who always ask for recommendations in almost every conversation so maybe that is the piece I am missing.

Referrals are not one-way.  While I know that my business is not selling a product that people want or need, I know that we all know someone who needs some business advice on content marketing, blogging, social media and more.

When we announced we were starting a podcast show we were inundated with requests to be a part of it or to be interviewed for the show.  We set up a referral program for being on the show.  Guests have to market their appearance to the world too.  We asked for this because we are giving away publicity and in kind we expect it to come back to us.

I thought about this long and hard.  I looked at all the business I do with people and I made the decision to be more cognizant of where I spend my money or whom I refer business to in the future.  People who know and practice the definition of referrals are out there, I will find them, we will hook up, we will help each other.

I do think we all should make sure when we give a referral that we let that business know we did so they can follow up.  It can and should be two-way!

“Let Us Be Lover’s We’ll Marry Our Fortunes Together” #shopsmall is the hashtag this month.  It should be the hashtag every month and we should be supporting small businesses all the time.  They are the backbone of a family, the backbone of a community, the backbone of the nation.

Referrals are golden.  Referrals are a business concept to be treasured and yes, a good referral is a reward – I thought enough of you and your business to send someone your way, returning the reward should come naturally.

Just writing a PSA to remind us all how important a good referral is.

 

 

 

 

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