Out with the old…

… And in with the new.

It’s been an emotional few months for me.  Not sure why, just has been.

2016 was a busy year for me.  I was VP of a nonprofit board, I coordinated and executed 2 successful fundraisers.  I was/am a work at home mom to 4 children (and let’s just put it out there – stay at home moms rock, and do a lot.  Add a part-time or mompreneur gig on top of it… moms rule the world).  Now I’m the President of that board, and looking forward to helping The Women’s Entrepreneurial Network celebrate their 20th anniversary.

I guess it all hit me late summer, as my eldest entered the gates of h-e-double hockey stick know as Middle School.  Such an awkward time of life for anyone – I hated it.  I was so proud that she took it head on; she joined any club/organization/team that a 6th grader is allowed to participate in.  And with that, she changed my world.

You can see in my personal blog I’ve written about her journey – you can read about it here and here.  I’m writing this is to share a small piece, to put it out into the world, that those little projects have wrecked me – and because of it, I am in the planning stages of a new endeavor.  I’m still having conversations with my business associates, some telling me don’t do it, some who can’t wait to see this happen.

Not going to lie, starting something new, something that requires So. Much. Planning. is scary.  I think my husband is on board with it… maybe?  But in doing this I’ll be able to hopefully have the release of stress I’ve been holding up.  I’ll be able to finally do what I feel my life’s calling is, in a way that can really make an impact.  And maybe finally I won’t have to worry about bugging clients to pay their invoices…

Please join me in prayer as I start this journey, and if you’ve read my daughter’s story and want to know more about our plans, please feel free to contact me: Cindy@SociablyCindy.com.

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When Art Takes Over

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I have an art corner in my house, and it’s consuming my mind.  Not because it’s a mess, but because I want to spend more time with it…  And I don’t know what the next steps are.

Let me go back…

In the fall, my eldest had an amazing vision, that expanded beyond our imagination.  (Read that story here).  Now in this new year, her small vision is looking to yet again become something big. (Read that story here).

So now I sit here, with a background in marketing for non-profits, trying to determine my next step.

Divine Intervention brought a wonderful woman to a WEN Meeting, who has an organization I admire, and without know who we were, she’d contributed to Samantha’s Scarf Project.  I’ve reached out to people I trust, who want to see me successful.  I’ve been told “make a business, make money!  Sell sell sell!”  I’ve been told “start a nonprofit, get sponsors! Donate donate donate!”  And I’ve been told, “keep it a hobby, sell or donate what you want.”

See here’s the thing – having a purpose in mind,  and a deadline, made it easy for us to get the work done.  And it was done willingly by my daughters, and their friends, and the community who chose to get involved.

So I don’t know – where to go, what to do?  I’m putting this out into the world, hoping the world will put some insight back into me.  Lord, I’m looking for guidance, send those people my way!

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The Power In An Email

We all get emails.  A lot of emails.

Sometimes we don’t remember signing up for the newsletter.  Sometimes we get email forwards from friends (or people we’ve only met once).  Sometimes we get 5 emails a day from 1 person/business.  Sometimes it’s only a few times a year.

An email can be a beneficial tool to your marketing plan – if done properly.  I find myself some how subscribing myself to email newsletters and then getting bombarded with emails.  Now, I signed up for it because I did want to hear something from you, but not all day every day.

So here are a few tips that I’ve learned about email marketing:

  • Consider how many you get from any 1 company.  If you think that’s too much, do less.  Unless you have a lot to say, don’t send more than 1 or 2 a month – if that.  If you have a lot to say – write a blog.
  • Know your audience, and what will get their attention: What key words or phrases will encourage them to open the email, but not be deceitful and cause your contact to unsubscribe
  • Include links – lots of them!  Usually, your e-newsletter provider will track the clicks; you’ll know what got the reader’s attention for next time.
  • Don’t make it all about you, make it about them.  Offer up a great piece of information (suggesting they follow you on Facebook or Twitter to learn more), promote a giveaways, etc.
  • Be a person, not a machine.  Add some personality to it, this is Social Networking, so stay social!
  • Don’t get upset if people unsubscribe – you’ve done it too!

There are several great services available.  I’ve been using MailChimp to send my messages, and WuFoo for my opt-in forms.  I’m very pleased with it so far – if you’re looking to start with an email campaign, start small, and try it out for free!  If you need help, Sociably Cindy is here for you!

I hit “search” and couldn’t find you…

While reading the June issue of ‘Inc.’ Magazine, I came across the “Crunching The Numbers” feature.  A few of the statistics really stood out to me.

In 2009, only 27% of small businesses had a Facebook Fanpage.  In 2010, this number grew to 41%.  It seems more and more pages are being created every day.  But the problem is: how are people finding these pages?

It’s hard enough for businesses to get their websites found, and it’s fairly well accepted that to increase traffic to your website you need to have a presence elsewhere.  In today’s internet savvy society, while we want to believe that just having a website is enough, that someone enters what they want into their favorite search engine and we’ll be found.

GET THAT IMAGE OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

 You are competing, not only with your competitor down the street, but across town, in the next county, the next state and across the world.  Seriously.  If there is a business that could possibly be doing business remotely where you are physically located, they are seeking out your current and potential customers.

Google Ads and Search Engine Optimization are paid services being employed by your competition.  Have you checked out their social media profile… Do they have a Facebook or Twitter?  Are they up-to-date with it? Are they interacting with their fans/followers?  Do they have images of their product/services? Do they link back to their website?

 Whether the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, YOU need to be doing the exact same thing (but better, and local)!

Your social media should be an extension of your website, and your website should be an extension of you.

Take a look at your website – do you know what it’s doing for you? does it represent who you are and what you do? do you know where you come up in a search?

Now look at your social networks – how many fans/followers do you have? are you giving them information? are they interacting? do you use location marketing?

I by no means can help you build your website, but I know several AMAZING website designers/developers that I can put you in contact with.  And I’m not saying that you need to hire me to do your social networking… not every business needs me, but everyone business needs someone to do it properly!  I encourage you, take some time and really look at your internet presence, is it who and what you want it to be.  Sociably Cindy is available for training, assessments, and maintenance.

First published 1/19/2012