Category Archives: Mary Ellen – Working Moms Only

MaryEllen Tribby is the proud Founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com, the world’s leading newsletter and website for the empowerment of the working mom.
Prior to founding Working Moms Only, MaryEllen was widely recognized as Publisher & CEO of Early To Rise where she was responsible for growing the business from $8 million in sales to $26 million in just 15 months.
Before that, she served as President of Weiss Research where she lead the company to $67 million in sales from $11 million in just 12 months.

Today, because of her impressive track record of generating revenues and profits, she is known in the Info Publishing World as “The Money Honey,” but credits a good part of her success to her traditional New York City publishing career. There, she not only ran divisions at Forbes, Times Mirror Magazines and Crain’s New York Business and had some of the best direct response marketing mentors in the world.

Due of her superlative direct response skills and her ability to “channelize” marketing campaigns, MaryEllen is a highly sought after business consultant, speaker and author. Her first book, which she co-authored with Michael Masterson, Changing The Channel: 12 easy Ways to Make Millions For Your Business, hit #1 on Amazon in just 10 hours of its release.
Ms. Tribby is recipient of the “2009 Marketer of the Year” award from Braveheart women and continues to teach those very skills.
MaryEllen currently resides in Boca Raton, FL with her husband of 13 years and their three beautiful children. You can find them soaking up the sun on the beach or at one of the kids sporting events.

Working Moms Only Mission Statement

Our mission is to supply the tools that can give EVERY working mom the ability to lead a healthy, wealthy, and more balanced/blended lifestyle. To create a community where millions of working moms from all over the world come together in support and celebration of each other.

Working moms have more influence on what our world will look like in the future than any other single group of people. Their responsibilities are endless. Working moms deserve to be respected, honored, and praised for our contribution to society.

6 Easy Steps To Turn Your Actions Into Dreams

by Kristi Frank

His baby blues changed it all… and thank goodness!

When my son Tyler was born… that was it. Becoming a mom changed everything. Yes, it was the beginning of true selflessness and the end of selfishness; but for me, there was also guilt, fear, and pure LOVE. I wanted, no, needed to stay at home to raise my son and I felt so fortunate to be able to do so.

The first year I was obsessed with being a mommy and all the baby stuff – naps, feeding, burping and getting him to sleep through the night. I was pumping, tired, and TIRED, with a strange feeling of losing everything I was. After a little over a year at home, I slowly and consistently began thinking about how to regain a sense of self. I didn’t feel sexy or inspired anymore, instead I felt spent. I was out of shape and even simple daily activities like taking a shower, getting dressed, and putting on make-up seemed like a distant dream. I wanted to talk about things that were exciting to me, wanted to get out of the house and be a woman again… wanted to reawaken my passion. My love for my son was growing, but so was my desire to do meaningful work from home and be successful doing something I loved for ME again!

But How?

The process of turning my dreams into action went something like this. During this time, I was frustrated and tired. Finding the energy to start something seemed impossible. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or how to do it. Fortunately, I was brought into a new world. It was after meeting and working with Donald Trump during my stint on season one of ‘The Apprentice’ that I met a man named Dan Kennedy. I was asked to speak at various seminars he was hosting and even endorsed some of his business books.

I dove headfirst into this new world. I knew nothing about it, except the promise of working from anywhere, creating products from what you knew, and making significant amounts of money…it was the amazing world of “Info-Marketing.”

The Business of Selling Information

Today, “Informational Marketing” is simply a term for the “business of selling information.” The information can be whatever information you want, and that’s the key. Do you know how to make the best homemade baby food? Can you scrapbook, knit, or teach amazing tomato gardening tricks? Teach someone how to start a salsa dancing class? The ideas are as endless as the information we hold! This was so exciting to me. Finally, a perfect job for us MOMS! I was obsessed with learning everything I could about it. I went out and studied with the best minds in info-marketing. I hosted an info-marketing DVD entitled ‘The Phenomenon’ with Glazer-Kennedy and gained access to all of the top info-marketers in the world. I purchased every book I could get my hands on, joined Mastermind Groups, and asked for all the meetings and advice I could handle.

The Women of Info-Marketing

During the last seminar I attended with Mr. Kennedy’s group, I looked around the audience and noticed something remarkable – at least 50% of the attendees were female, yet the experts conducting the seminar were all men! What? This was a wake-up call for me. I’ve always been passionate about helping other women, but this was troubling to say the least. It gave me my first idea for an online business. I wanted to create a step-by-step blueprint for women, in our language, with all the concerns and desires that we as women have. I wanted to create a tool to help other women like me, desiring the unique and opportunistic experience of working at home. I wanted, no, needed, to teach other moms how they could stay at home with their children, explore their passions, and create financial success for themselves and their families.

So I did.

The first site I created I called http://www.BlowdryBootcamp.com which was developed out of my frustration of not being able to do my hair like the salon. I wanted to share with other women how to get that salon experience everyday, at home. And so, BlowdryBootcamp.com was born.

Next came http://www.SaturdayMorningSuccess.com, a place where powerful women came together weekly to help other women. This was a network of the top women experts, CEOs and coaches in the country, brought together with the sole purpose of giving other women their #1 best secrets for success.

And Now?

I’ve created a new partnership with one of Info-marketing’s brightest young stars, and we’re launching new products together that I believe are some of the best out there. But best of all, I’m primarily working from home, taking my son to and from preschool, feeling complete satisfaction from and passion for what I’m doing, and finally experiencing a sense of freedom I never thought was possible as a “mommy at home.” I’m also so proud that I can help my husband with the finances for our family and our lifestyle, especially during these difficult economic times.

How about you? Are you seeking more happiness, more meaning, more time, more money? The number one question I am asked is, “How do I begin??” Let me start by posing a question, then we’ll dive into the six steps.

Here it is: What would you be doing if you had $100 Million in the bank?

Remember when you were young and all those dreams seemed real and possible? Here are six ways to get you back into that creative, powerful state and get you on the path to action. What moves you? What is that wonderful passionate idea that comes to you when you are in your most powerful unafraid state? My power state is usually after I’ve slept nine hours, exercise and sit down with my morning cup of coffee. That’s when I do my most powerful goal planning. When that’s done, it’s important to IMMEDIATELY put it into easy actionable steps. Here are my six powerful steps for turning dreams into action:

1. Create a list of your passions, your interests, your long lost desires. What makes you happy? What do you love to do? What would you do for hours just for fun? Importantly, don’t worry and don’t censor – who cares if you put down fame and fortune – don’t judge yourself – this is what you feel right now and it’s okay. And you may have trouble with this at first… everyone usually does – keep dreaming and make it fun.

2. Talk to the supportive friends in your life about what they see you doing – you will be surprised how they see you and it might be a good way to think outside of yourself… collaborate and have fun with it!

3. Get into ACTION mode! Take a class, read a book, take a walk, talk to your friends. I like to take walks outside – it’s my most powerful “thinking time” that’s all mine. Action creates movement. Get into action and watch what opens up.

Remember to be open to the ideas that excite you, and don’t forget to write down good ideas.

NOW GET IT INTO ACTION!

4. What are you waiting for? (What 3 actions could you take today to move yourself forward?)

5. Tell everyone! Don’t be shy – you can start with, “I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this,” and watch what happens – let it out!

6. Show me the way – find a mentor! Get in touch with someone who has the answers… it’s so much faster to ask the way than spending too much time researching and figuring it out. Ask someone to show you the way, i.e., ask what they did, what were their first steps to getting started? Enlist their help!

And last, but not least… do it now! Have fun with this and go turn your dreams into actionable reality! I can’t tell you how many women just like you and me have done this for themselves, and ended up benefitting everyone in their lives… with the most important person being you!

Here’s to your never-ending dreams, and your inevitable success!

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I Moved My Own Cheese

“I don’t understand, if it ain’t broke – why fix it?” Dan asked.  We were on our weekly Q&A call with the elite members of our latest program Inbox Empire.

I could feel the anticipation from the other members when Dan asked this question.  In fact, the gasps, from the nearly 100 folks on the line, were actually audible.

You see, for the last several weeks I had been teaching these members what I believe to be the best format for building their own inbox magazine.

I had given them a specific schedule for their emails, exact word counts, and deliverability advice. I also gave them the inside scoop on HTML vs. Text as well as my most guarded secrets on ad placement and count.

They had been working so hard and had also invested their hard-earned money on this program (and trust me it isn’t cheap). They were spending countless hours going through the curriculum as well as building websites, writing content, and procuring an expert panel.  They were building a real business by following a model that I had tested and perfected over many years.

Now, here I was about to turn their world upside down. I knew I better have a damn good answer for this change. And, guess what… I did!
Good to Great

If you have been a member of the Working Moms Only community, you’ve and receive my newsletter you may have noticed that we’ve had a little makeover.  We’ve moved some things around and added some new things as well.  We have done this because we want to strengthen our relationship with all of our community members.

We believe that our biggest asset to our members is the community we’ve built and the ease in which we share information with you.

This is why we have moved our social media buttons from the very bottom of the newsletter to the top.  This makes it easier for our members to access our social media outlets.

Social media is just one more outlet that allows us to promptly deliver important news, tips, and tools as they come up on a daily basis.  Having several different forums where we can share our resources allows us to be even more effective and rewarding to our community.

Next, we added a new benefit for our subscribers. We implemented the “Working Moms of the Month”. We did this to honor, recognize and inspire our community. We also did this as a way to integrate our members and allow them to share in their personal stories and successes.  Each month, we will profile one working mom. Thereby giving you additional resources – each other.

Finally, as you can see, we have updated the design of our newsletter.  Why?  We did this to increase the ease and flow of the material we are delivering and to make it easier to read.

So back to Dan’s original question – why?

Why would we change something that everyone already loved, something that was already easy to read… and something that already had made lots of money?

Well, I am not going to give you one answer. I will give you three:

1)  Commitment – Okay, full discloser here… people pay me a lot of money to teach. And in order for anyone to teach well, they must be constantly learning.   I am committed to those who trust me and the best way to learn about new improvements is through testing. I want to make sure I am always finding the newest and best ways to do things. Then, I share those tactics with my students.

Right now, I do not know if this new issue format will perform better. But soon, one-way or the other, I will have results.  I will be able to share with my members, and other entrepreneurs and business owners, my results – for better or for worst.

Unfortunately, other “teachers” will see this format and copy it tomorrow. They will tell their students that it is the new best way to format an e-letter, without having the data. This is the “chicken” way out to teach. It is important to me to keep the trust of my customers, my students and my members.  I know good teachers test information before they tell others to make a change, especially when it comes to their business.  Teachers should not teach something, only to claim they have the newest tools.  What delivers are proven results from tested change.

2)  Relevancy – Your Inbox Magazine (previously called an e-zine, an online newsletter or even a blog) should be constantly evolving. As business changes – you need to change. When I started Working Moms Only, social media was not used as much as it is today.  But in this day and age it is a huge factor of our everyday life, therefore moving the social media button up, just makes good sense. Think about all the aspects of your business and how they represent you. Are they as relevant as they could be? Look at everything from your website to your business cards. If they seem dated – it may be time for some mini-makeovers.

3)  Improvement – Even when something is good, it could always be better. Sure it would be easier to leave things status quo. But we teach our children to always do their very best, to set the example. We need to do the same. Now that I have set metrics and benchmarks, I am able to test to see if the changes I make  increase or decrease my results.  This gives me the ability to see where I can improve things.  And I will always strive to make improvements’ in all aspects of my life.

Some people have a hard time inciting and accepting change; which is truly a shame. Change is inevitable. Those who embrace change usually succeed. Those who fight it often become extremely frustrated and eventually fade away.

One of my favorite books regarding change is called “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a delightful fable about two mice. It concisely illustrates the best ways to embrace change.

I recently re-read this book because of the amount of change I have been going through in my business and in my personal life.

This past week my family and I moved from our home in Boca Raton, FL to Austin Texas. This has been a major transition for my family, especially for our children who had a difficult time leaving their friends, classmates and teammates.

Like any change we make in our family, my husband and I did not try to sugar coat it. In fact, we discussed it with them almost every evening for the last 3 months. We put together an acclamation plan that included exploring new places and meeting new people. We spoke to the kids about all the positive aspects, asked for their input and ideas, and made their suggestions count when they gave their input.

And just like in business when you involve your entire team and get the buy-in, change is good.

To receive the WorkingMomsOnly.com online newsletter by MaryEllen Tribby click here: Working Moms Only

To find out more about MaryEllen’s course Inbox Empire or register for her FREE online webinar click here:  Free training seminar

In Tough Economic Times: Market Smarter, Not Harder

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” is a motto your more resilient and clever CEO’s and marketing professionals adopt while their meek counter parts tend to bury their heads in the sand during these tough economic times.

Yes, times are still tough, and people are still scared regardless of their current income level.

And rightly so, many people who are in decision-making jobs feel a sense of responsibility to their employers, their colleagues and their staff. Very often these folks have a knee-jerk reaction and cut marketing dollars before weighing the consequences.

In reality, cutting your marketing budget in a bad economy is the last thing you should do. This is not the time to focus less on marketing … rather the opposite. The beauty of marketing in the 21st century is that many of the marketing channels available to you are cheap, easy and fast to execute.

The cost of entry has never been lower (and I am not just talking email marketing), there has never been more niche markets available and it has never been easier with today’s technology to accurately measure the impact of your marketing efforts and make educated decisions about going forward to plan cohesive multi-channeled marketing campaigns.

Smart companies that continue to grow and prosper during hard economic times understand the value of multi-channel marketing:

  • Create strong customer relationships. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of multi-channel marketing is that it provides great customer relationship-building opportunities. Direct mail and email allow you to stay in front of your customers while letting the customer learn about your product on their own schedule. Telemarketing allows you to provide additional information and answer questions your customers may have.

Regardless of which channels you use you should never promise anything that you aren’t going to be able to deliver. In fact, you should always be over delivering on the promises you make in your marketing copy. Remember that integrity is the key.

  • Choose efforts that help you pick the low hanging fruit. Never forget to market most often and most strongly to those loyal customers who buy from you. Direct email marketing, well written and based on a compelling offer, is critical. It is easy to implement and extremely cost effective — allowing you to communicate with your customers as much as you (and they) want. It also gives you the ability to test, see what’s working, and quickly react to generate more sales. It allows you to make your message as timely and relevant as possible.

For the most part, direct e-marketing is a two- step process. The first process is to develop a list of people who will accept your promotional messages. This list is built through the use of banner ads, insert ads and asking for your customers’ email addresses. The second step is to send them your direct response promotions. These are usually longer sales letters, much like direct mail.

  • Some forms of marketing don’t cost you a dime. You can create online buzz about your product through social media. This can take on many forms: online forums, message boards, blogs, video blogs, and social networks (such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc.). Use social media methods to stimulate conversation about you, your business, and your products.  The key is to be genuine. To ensure the buzz is positive, you have to promote yourself gradually and organically by developing real relationships with your desired audience on targeted social media sites.

It is also imperative that you are involved in the conversation on your own site. To ignore your own customers (on your website or others) is an unforgivable mistake in today’s interconnected world. You must always be answering their questions, responding to their complaints, exploring opportunities, announcing new products, listing upcoming events, and reminding them of deadlines. The list is endless.

  • Want to drum up great PR? Get to know the media. Of the many channels of marketing, public relations is one that every business should embrace. That’s because it is nearly free. If you have a good writer on staff, your only cost will be the event you are publicizing and the small amount it takes to mail or email out your own press release.  When it works, it really works, going from regional to national to international faster than it takes to write up a conventional advertising campaign. The trick is creating successful, newsworthy stories.

It’s very important to target your press releases to specific publications and media outlets whose customers you want to reach. Rather than sending out 1,000 general press releases about a story that has general appeal, it’s much more effective to send out a dozen or so targeted press releases containing stories that are exactly right for the intended audiences. It’s simply quality vs. quantity.

  • Don’t go it alone. Many small businesses balk at the idea of joint ventures. They don’t like the idea of splitting revenues. They like selling their own products because they keep 100% of the revenues. This is the kind of thinking that destroys a business. When a joint venture is executed properly, it doesn’t subtract from the business it adds to the business. There are many ways to do joint ventures and the best ones are those that pair up businesses with asymmetrical resources and skills.

To find your joint venture “soul mate” think about the major players in your marketplace. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each.  Ask yourself how you might benefit from working with them. Make a list of potential partners and develop a strategy to approach them and show them how they could benefit from doing business with you. The idea is to develop joint venture relationships that are easy to maintain, financially profitable, intellectually rewarding, and long lasting.

Regardless of how many channels you use and which ones they are, smart companies understand ROI (return on investment).

If you see a company, perhaps one of your competitors advertising often and in multiple channels — chances are it is a healthy company. Study that company, is there something they are doing that you can implement.

If you are interested in expanding your company’s reach, try incorporating multi-channel marketing campaigns into your business model. But to make sure you spend the appropriate amount of time on each channel (for the revenue generated) check out my #1 Amazon.com best-seller, Changing the Channel: 12 Easy Ways to Make Millions for Your Business

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The Power of Five

By MaryEllen Tribby

“You’re crazy. I am still sleeping at 7:30! Why would you set up a daily meeting that early?” Ted said. “You’re the president of the company… Why don’t you do it on your schedule?”

Ted’s reaction is not an unusual one when I mentioned to colleagues that I had a standing phone meeting with my top copywriter and marketing strategist at 7:30 in the morning Monday through Friday while I was president of a large financial publishing company. As a matter of fact, we had our morning conversations for about three years straight.

Sure, like Ted, most people thought I was crazy. However, I was well aware of the benefits these morning meetings offered to my business. But just as important, this one-on-one time was deeply critical to my own knowledge and expertise. More than just marketing strategy discussions, these meetings were personal mentoring sessions with one of the smartest and most successful direct response experts in the world.

Did I HAVE to do this? Of course not!

Did I WANT to do this? Of course I did!

What most people to this day just don’t get is that 7:30 in the morning was the perfect time for me. That’s because any time when I could get specific, useful advice and information that would improve my career and business was the perfect time.

The Power of Collective Brilliance

I’ve always been a pretty serious person when it comes to building my knowledge base. I grew up in a fairly modest environment where my parents struggled to maintain a middle class lifestyle. I could see how having an education could help me create a different sort of life for myself. So I set my sights on getting a college education. I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to help me much – if at all. So I started saving for college from the time I was 10 years old. I ended up paying every cent of my own college education.

When I got to college, I did not skip classes to hang out with my friends. I didn’t blow off class by sleeping in because I was out late the night before. Instead, I soaked up every word my brain could hold during the day. At night, I reviewed my notes and rewrote them so that the next day I was ready for whatever was coming next.

I did not regret giving up parties or late-night socializing sessions. I was making a time and money investment in myself. I knew that I would be able to put every ounce of knowledge I accumulated to work for myself at some point in the future. Eventually, I was certain, the library in my mind would make me a lot of money.

So it will be no surprise to you that I refused to stop learning even after I’d finished school. I make it a point to try to learn something from every person I meet and every experience I have. I seek out the people who could help me grow my business or advance my career, and ask for their advice. And I have to say, the lessons I’ve learned from these personal success mentors have had a profound impact on my career and life.

Over and over again throughout my career, I’ve discovered the truth in the old saying “two heads are better than one.”

When I’ve had the chance to team up with or learn from the successful people in my industry, I’ve been able to skyrocket my knowledge, my earnings, and my business revenues.

Here are a few examples…

Success Mentor #1: Dick Benson

From the start of my business career I attended conferences and seminars as often as possible. In New York City, there was a plethora to choose from. In 1985, when I saw that Dick Benson – a legend in the world of direct response marketing – was holding a very intimate roundtable, I knew I had to attend. Well, wouldn’t you know it? We had recently gotten a new VP of Human Resources who wanted to show the higher ups that she could save our company a boat load of money. She thought that $500 for a two-hour session was excessive and would not approve the expense.

This was my first corporate job out of college. I was making a whopping $12,000 a year. But I had a gut feeling that meeting Dick Benson would have a powerful effect on my life. Instead of missing the seminar, I paid for it myself.

That two-hour session changed the course of my career. Sure, I had read every book that Dick Benson had written… In a sense, I’d already read much of what he had to say. But when you are able to ask a guru questions that pertain to your business and your life specifically, you will find that the advice takes on new meaning… and that you can more easily take action and implement the advice you have learned.

That is exactly what I did.

I took one little idea I’d learn from Dick back to my employer. The idea was to include an 800 number on renewal offers. Up until that point, we only included a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) in the letters we sent to potential donors. That one little idea brought in so much incremental revenue that within eight months I was promoted and my salary jumped to $20,000 a year.

But going to see Dick Benson was not only life-changing in that it helped boost my salary and advance my career. It taught me the tremendous value in finding advice from already-successful businesspeople… and implementing that advice in my own life.

Success Mentor #2: Jeff MacDonald

My career went along fantastically in NYC for years. But like many people I suffered a devastating personal loss; my father passed away. Even though he had been ill for quite some time I was still not prepared for the pain. My desire to escape New York was tremendous. So when an offer came my way to become Vice President of a large publishing company in Boca Raton, Florida, I grabbed it.

Little did I know that my new boss, Jeff McDonald, would have a huge impact on my career. He taught me about business. He introduced me to the works of Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, and Stephen Covey. He showed me how the principles they taught applied to our business.

Each evening we would review a lesson one on one. And it was on one of those evenings that Jeff spoke one little sentence that has stayed me with all these years: “A good executive has the ability to face the facts.”

This is a mantra I’ve repeated to myself for years. Whether you have to face up to a partnership that’s not good for your business… Or you have to kill a product that’s not making money… Or you have to fire an employee you really like… Jeff’s words have helped me cut my losses and save plenty of money. Once you live that statement, your business will change for the better – forever!

Success Mentor #3: Clayton Makepeace

It was master copywriter and direct response legend Clayton Makepeace who taught me the anatomy of advertising copy. It was Clayton who showed me the importance of digging deep to understand the emotional needs and desires of your prospective customers. It was Clayton who taught me to concentrate on the end result and not get caught up with the reasons why something can’t get done. It was Clayton with whom I spent morning after morning on the phone, going through the needs of our company and how our marketing plans and advertising copy would exceed those needs.
Together, we made beautiful music and our company flourished.

Success Mentor #4: Michael Masterson

I’m one of the lucky ones. For nearly the last four years I spent time one-on-one with business builder and marketing expert Michael Masterson. Michael is the person who helped me become a better thinker, a better writer, a better marketer, and a better businessperson. He was the one person who helped me put it all together. He is the person who taught me the concept of tipping point ideas. Not only how to recognize them, but how to develop them and implement them into your business.

Success Mentor #5: Richard Branson

Once I made the decision to start Working Moms Only, my friend Joe Polish invited me to a private brainstorming session with Richard Branson. However, this invitation did not come cheap.

Even though I have read every book Sir Richard has written, I knew I needed to be at that private meeting. So I paid $10,000 to attend. Yes $10,000 for 60 minutes! And you know what? I would do it again!

There were about 10 of us around a table and we each got to ask Richard his advice about our businesses. When we spoke about my business, not only did he give me some great advice, he also asked that I send him some content for him to review. Then he directed me to a few people who could help me going forward. I have since contacted these people and they have been of tremendous value.

The Push You Need to Succeed

As you can see, I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the top marketing and business minds in the world. Each of these men helped contribute a critical piece of advice or information that helped me climb the ladder of success.

That’s why I take mentorship so seriously. It is 100 percent worthwhile to have a phone conversation at 7:30 each morning or spend $10,000 to get advice from someone who can help you expand your knowledge… build your expertise… or grow your business.
When you seriously consider joining any kind of live coaching program or mentorship program . . .

First . . .

Know what you want to achieve from the relationship. Have a clear understanding of your purpose and desired results. This will ensure that you find a suitable coach, and that you and your coach find value in the relationship. This clarity also eliminates any future confusion regarding roles and expectations.

Next . . .

Examine the relationships with the people who have been your coaches in the past. Whether deliberately or not, each of us has had coaches in our lives. Think about those people and the qualities that you appreciated most about them.

Finally . . .

Dissect the potential coaches/mentors track record. Have they achieved GREAT and REPEATABLE success in the area you wish to?

Then . . .

Make a decision and take action!

Stop Networking and Start Making Money

By MaryEllen Tribby

It’s a self-marketing tactic I’ve really come to hate…

I’m talking about “networking.” Sure, I’ve been hearing all about networking for years. I’ve even used the word myself!

But when you get down to it, networking is cold, sterile… and it seems self-serving: one person trying to form a web of contacts whose sole purpose is to do something for him.

That’s not how I want to do business.

Lately, I’ve been rethinking what “networking” means. For instance, when I meet people at a so-called “networking” event, what is my end-game?

You know what? My ultimate goal is not to network with them… It’s not to find out what they can do for me… It’s not to add them to my address book until I need something from them…

It’s to connect with them!

When I meet people, I want to really understand why they do what they do, to really “get” their true purpose. I want to find out if their purpose and mission is synergistic with Working Moms Only… and, if it is, how we can work together or for one another to best serve our prospective communities. I think of it as “what can we do for each other and each other’s communities?” instead of “what can you do for me?”

When I focus on these goals, deals follow. And when a deal is made between two people (notice I did not say two businesses) who have connected – as opposed to “networked” – money usually follows.

Making a connection does require a bit more “work” than simply shoving your business card at a potential client. But the extra money you can make and the new opportunities you can open up to your communities are well worth the extra effort.

Yet, all too often, people are scared to put themselves out there. Unfortunately, insecurity and discomfort can be perceived as arrogance or even disinterest. Sometimes, fear and uncertainty come across as a “what’s in it for me” attitude. That can offend the very people you’re trying to connect with… And before you know it, a potential million-dollar deal could fly out the window.

Don’t let this happen to you!

Conquering the World of Connecting

Recently I spoke at an event. I had just met Lisa Nicholas of The Secret and we were enjoying a lovely conversation over lunch. Suddenly a woman I had met a few months prior at another event sat down at the table and interrupted our conversation.

She said – and I quote – “MaryEllen, you are certainly a hard woman get a hold of. I emailed you last week and I have not heard back from you.”

There was no “Hi, how are you?” Nice to see you again.” Or even “How are your children?” It was just the typical “WIIFM” approach.

My first thought was – do you really think this kind of behavior is conducive to me wanting to do business with you? But what I said was, “Yes, Sue, I received the email on Thursday. I left for LA (this event) on Monday. I was planning on returning your email later in the week.”

This is a wonderful example of why many people do not end up with business from networking events. They have not mastered event etiquette. Nor have they discovered the best way to make lasting connections.

The biggest mistake I see people making is assuming that their highest priority is the highest priority of the person they are trying to do business with.

By adopting this attitude, the only thing they will leave the event with is a lot of useless business cards!

To make real, lasting connections that lead to potential deals, you should put yourself out there with a mission centric philosophy. When you live your company’s mission, people will flock to you.

My Top 7 Secrets to Creating Money-Making Connections

1. Cultivate your connection the way you would any relationship: You need to project an image of warmth, approachability, understanding, knowledge, and empathy. Be genuine. You should take an interest in everyone you meet, remember their names, and listen carefully to them. Try to understand their needs and determine how you could assist each other. Building trust is a vital component of relationship building. Be relaxed and stay interested.

2. Understand that “small talk” is the road to “big time”: Being able to talk to anyone about anything is a valuable skill in its own right, but it’s absolutely essential for making connections. Being able to initiate a conversation makes it more likely that you will meet people who may turn out to be invaluable contacts. Small talk can be difficult at times, so keep a few key phrases up your sleeve such as “Where are you from?” “How did you get started?” and “Do you have children?” to start a conversation off on the right foot.

3. Develop active listening skills: Connecting is not about selling yourself, your products or services, or your business. It is about listening to the other person and showing them that you are truly interested in them. Allow others to open up and talk freely. Give them your undivided attention even if it is only for a few moments. Take an interest in what’s said and acknowledge this by nodding or agreeing. Use positive body language such as facing the person you are speaking to. And be sure to make eye contact! This means you are not reading a text message or looking over the other person’s shoulder to see who else is around.

4. Be a giver: When you focus on helping others, the “getting” will follow. (And it will often come in unexpected ways!) Remember that no one likes a person with a “taker” mentality. When you are generous, people will notice and respect you. And people generally prefer to do business with people that they respect, trust, and like. Do simple things like acting as a host at every event you attend. One way to do this is by connecting others. This can be as simple as introducing two people to each other or as elaborate as giving a testimonial about a person and their services to the entire group. These acts allow you to focus on others while building equity among your peers.

5. Don’t be Debbie Downer: Put on a happy face at the door and smile. This is your time to shine. People will look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you are energetic, positive, and outgoing. Again, people enjoy doing business with people they like, so be a person that others will like. If you’re nervous before an event, or if you have stresses at work or at home, take a few seconds before you walk into an event to remind yourself of everything you are grateful for. Let your blessings fill you with happiness and confidence and carry those good feelings with you as you meet people. Be sure not to inconvenience others with your problems – they have enough of their own! Instead, strive to make people forget their troubles while in your presence.

6. Don’t sell: Remember what I said earlier about listening rather than trying to sell yourself or your business? Connecting is not about trying to push your agenda. It’s about building relationships with people. Once you’ve made a connection, those people will likely be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do. Word of mouth and social proof are a thousand times more valuable than you talking about how great you are. At every opportunity, teach others about what you do and who you are as a person. Provide valuable, useful information. Always emphasize your mission and purpose. Doing these things is much more powerful than giving a new contact your elevator speech or sales pitch.

7. Follow up with originality: Many people think that the same old email follow-up is okay. Well, it’s not. After the event, send a hand-written thank you card… a poem you wrote about the person you connected with… or a balloon bouquet. Mention something from your discussion in whatever communication you make. If you have truly made a connection, your follow-up will be easy and effortless.

By having a game plan, connecting with others can become second nature. People will see you as you are, not as a self-interested business focused on making sales.

Become the kind of person that others want to work with, and events can help explode your business.

The Art of Negotiation: Learn it or Vanish

“Mom, I think I want to be president,” Connor said.

“Is that so? I thought you wanted to be a professional baseball player,” I replied.

“No, not when I grow up…” he explained. “I want to be president NOW.”

That’s right! Connor, my 10-year–old, was nominated for class president. He had 24 hours to think about the responsibility of this prestigious position and either accept or decline the nomination.

After my husband and I spoke to him about what he thought his duties would entail and the commitment he would undertake, Connor decided to go for it.  

When he asked me to help him develop his platform and help him write his speech, I asked him what he believed his strengths were and where his experiences lie.

Connor started with his grades. He said that since he is a straight “A” student, he can help other kids develop good study habits. This is both logical and irrefutable.

Next, he commented on the fact that he does not think it is fair that when boys play games, they often refuse to let the girls play. Under his “presidency,” he wants to make sure that all kids get a fair chance to play. This is not only smart, it is also an emotional trigger that will likely resonate with his classmates.

Finally, he said that his experience as a middle child has allowed him to become a good negotiator. He feels that he can help his classmates resolve issues they have with each other.

Bingo!

I was pretty impressed that at 10 years old, Connor has already figured out that negotiating is one of the most important skills a person can master.

This is true in all aspects of life. But it is absolutely critical in your day-to-day business activities.

Yet many women lack this crucial skill.

In fact, studies show that by neglecting to negotiate their starting salary for a first job, women sacrifice over three quarters of a million dollars in earnings by the end of their careers.

But that’s not all. Additional research reveals that men are four times more likely to ask for higher pay than women with the exact same qualifications.

Unfortunately this trend continues with women who start their own business. Their lack of negotiation skills… or discomfort with negotiation… or refusal to negotiate comes into play when finding office space, hiring employees, dealing with vendors, working with partners, creating joint ventures, and more.

For some reason women simply don’t ask. They don’t ask for raises and promotions. They don’t ask for recognition for the good work they have done. They don’t even ask for help at home with household duties and childcare.

Why is this?

For a long time, being a top-notch negotiator was regarded as something a man did. Some women viewed it as slimy or adversarial.

But I for one can tell you that being a top-notch negotiator was unquestionably a major factor in earning huge salaries and acquiring company equity  – and fringe benefits to boot! – for years as a corporate CEO.

These skills proved just as useful when starting my own company, in dealing with everyone from joint venture partners to building owners to service vendors and more.

If you feel like you aren’t a good negotiator or just don’t know how to negotiate, I’m going to show you how.

But first, I want to be sure you understand a little-known secret…

 

Negotiating Is Good Marketing in Disguise

Most of the principles that apply to marketing also apply to negotiations. So it stands to reason that if you are a fairly good marketer you will be a fairly good negotiator.

Likewise, if marketing is not your strong suit, you may need some help in the negotiation department.

Let me give you the top techniques I’ve used to negotiate game-changing partnerships… amazing salaries, bonuses, and benefits… and much more…

 

The 7 Core Principles for Million Dollar Negotiations

1)   Determine your desired outcome before you start your negotiation. It is critical to understand what you want before you ever set foot in a negotiation. That way, you’ll know when to push forward and when to stop. Knowing your bottom line prevents you from taking advantage of the other person in the negotiations (See Principle 7 for more on why this is a bad idea!)… And it also prevents you from agreeing to terms that are unacceptable to you.

2)   Know your audience. This is by far the most important principle in marketing and in negotiating. Make sure you do your homework. Find out as much as possible about the person sitting across the table. Find out about other deals he has made. Understand if he is a handshake kind of person or a long contract kind of person and prepare yourself accordingly.

3)   Understand your worth. The biggest mistake I see employees and entrepreneurs make is not understanding what they really bring to the table. Make sure your accomplishments are ingrained in your head. But also make sure that they are accurate and consistent.

4)   Listen, listen, and listen some more. Most of the time we are so busy making sure that people hear what we have to say that we forget to listen. But the best negotiators are detectives. They ask probing questions and then stop talking. The other negotiator will tell you everything you need to know – all you have to do is listen. Many conflicts can be resolved easily if we learn how to listen. You can become an effective listener by allowing the other person to do most of the talking. Follow the 80/20 Rule: listen 80 percent of the time and talk only 20 percent of the time.

5)   Lead with optimism. Aim high and expect the best outcome. Successful negotiators are optimists. If you expect more, you’ll get more. A proven strategy for achieving higher results is opening with an extreme position. Sellers should ask for more than they expect to receive, and buyers should offer less than they are prepared to pay. People who aim higher do better. Your optimism will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, if you have low expectations, you will probably wind up with a less satisfying outcome.

6)   Never threaten and don’t get emotionally involved.
One big mistake many amateur negotiators make is to become too emotionally attached to winning. They shout, threaten, and demand to get their way. This is all counter-productive. Most deals are only possible if both people feel they’re getting something out of it. If the person across the table feels attacked, or doesn’t like you, they probably won’t back down. Most people hate bullies, and will be more willing to walk away from a transaction if it involves one. Be calm, patient, and friendly, even if the other person starts losing their cool. Make sure you leave any pride or ego at the door. You’re much more likely to do well that way.

7)   Never walk away feeling you “pulled one over” on someone else. Many people try to drain every last drop of blood from a negotiation. This is a mistake. If the other person feels they’ve been cheated, it can come back to bite you. They may not fulfill their part of the deal. They may refuse to deal with you in the future. They may even spread the word to others you might want to negotiate with. Negotiations should leave both parties feeling satisfied with the outcome. Be willing to give up things that don’t really matter to you in order to create a feeling of goodwill. For example, if you are re-negotiating your office rent downwards, try to offer to sign a longer lease. That way, the landlord knows his property will have tenants for a longer time, and you get a cheaper rent.

The ability to negotiate successfully in today’s turbulent business climate can make the difference between success and failure. It is a skill you must master. If you keep these seven strategies in mind each time you step into negotiations, you will be well on your way to earning a better income, eliminating frustration, and having a more satisfying life.

***

MaryEllen Tribby is the Founder and CEO of Working Moms Only. The Worlds leading website and newsletter for the empowerment of the working mom. She is committed to helping all working moms lead a healthy, wealthy more balanced lifestyle. You can sign up for a complementary subscription of her newsletter right here. (please hyper link  http://www.workingmomsonly.com/view/x1wm10022a.html

The Eight Key Elements Of A Business Plan: And How To Make Them Work For You

“I don’t have one” was Sally’s response when I asked to see his business plan for his new company.

You may think this is normal for a first time entrepreneurial adventure. But what if I told you that Sally has started many companies in her 20-year tenure as an entrepreneur?

And with all the companies Sally started none of them have ever exceeded revenues of a million dollars. Many of them failed and Sally was forced to shut them down within the first year of business.

Does this mean Sally is a terrible businessperson? Continue reading The Eight Key Elements Of A Business Plan: And How To Make Them Work For You