January 31, 2009
PR Success Stories, Seattle Chocolate Company
Check out this fabulous profile about Chocolate Chick Jean Thompson, CEO of Seattle Chocolate Company, in the February issue of Reflections magazine. This profile shares her journey from stay-at-home mom to CEO, which is inspiring reading to say the least.
Jean is a member of the Bellevue Club and is one of the regulars in the club’s early morning spinning classes. When I found that out, I immediately got in touch with the editor of the magazine because shining a light on its own members is a high priority. Now, that story idea has turned into a fabulous profile, just in time to invite Valentine’s Day purchases. Sometimes, it takes a few months to earn the thrill of the publicity you seek, and stories like this are well worth the wait.
Take heart knowing that 100% of the net profits from the sale of Survivor Chick Chocolates and the Extreme Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar are donated to women’s cancer charities. That makes the choice of giving and receiving Seattle Chocolate Company chocolates this Valentine’s Day or any day especially good for the heart and the soul.
Speaking of which, Jean’s “Small Businesses Give Big” story is featured in a new book by the same title. Check it out at this link.
It’s all just great news for a Saturday evening. Enjoy, and give Seattle Chocolates to your heart’s content today and every day.
January 30, 2009
Be Heard, Personal Branding
Got money matters on your mind? Check out the new personal finance blog that debuted today at www.Examiner.com. Certified Financial Planner™ Steve Juetten made his first post today.
Juetten writes,”When you hear a news report, read a headline or listen to a neighbor bemoan the state of the economy, remember that you choose how hard to work, how many hugs you give out and how much to save and spend. Focus on those things and your worry quotient will be less.”
There will be more tips like these coming your way 3-4 times a week. Why not subscribe to the RSS feed so you never miss a single post?
By the way, while you are at Examiner.com, check out the head shots of the various columnists. I know that Tara Gimmer took the photos for Betsy Talbot and Steve Juetten. I think they stand out because of the fabulous quality of their photos. Personal branding matters. Tara Gimmer is the Seattle photographer to call to put your best face forward.
January 30, 2009
Article PR, Business Success
Jean Chatsky presented a Money 911 segment on The Today Show yesterday that captured my attention. A viewer wrote in for advice about whether now was the time to launch her own business. Chatsky (photographed at left) recommended the viewer moonlight for six to 12 months and save income to sustain her lifestyle that would last just as long before leaving her job. That got me thinking to the circumstances that led me to launch my public relations and do-it-yourself publicity tool and training company.
I started my business at the height of the “dot com bust” when jobs were few and the economic mood was somber. The date was February 2, 2001. My husband and I had learned to live on one income when our son was born in 1997, so starting my business offered the potential to relieve us from coupon clipping, casseroles, and the other choices parents make to focus on family — provided I could earn my first client or two in short order.
Because running a PR business requires a computer, a telephone, and Internet connection, start-up costs were low. I just put the word out. As a publicist, my “put the word out” skills may be better than most. Soon I was making money, having fun, and buying better groceries.
When I got to the five-year anniversary of my business, I had learned a lot and wrote an article offering 9 tips for business owner hopefuls from one celebrating the five-year mark. That article started me on a path to writing articles often and much. Now, I am a monthly “Media Savvy” columnist for the Puget Sound Business Journal and contribute do-it-yourself publicity tips and advice to a variety of other online article directories and blogs. Now, I don’t define my success by the better groceries I buy. I define my success by the impact my ideas, resources, and skills have on others’ success. That has made all the difference.
If you are among the many who are pondering starting your own business as a way to navigate today’s daunting economy, read on for the lessons I learned in my first five years. I’ll be offering some of the other lessons I’ve learned over the last three years in the next few blog posts, so stay tuned.
9 Tips for Business Owner Hopefuls from One Celebrating the Five-Year Mark
By Nancy Juetten
Starting my own public relations and marketing communications business in February of 2001 at age 39 was among the most optimistic things I have done in my life.
Nabisco Brand Wheat Thins
Before electing to stay home for a year with my infant son in 1997, I held a variety of corporate marketing management positions. I was accustomed to making big decisions and influencing big outcomes. That is why I grew weary of managing the expense side of the household equation only to find that the generic brand of discount wheat crackers didn’t taste nearly as good as Nabisco® brand Wheat Thins.
Restless with my professional skills on the shelf, I applied my talent and passion for corporate storytelling and media relations to influence the revenue side of the household money equation. I wanted to earn money to buy better groceries.
To refresh my publicity and copywriting skills, I took great classes at the School of Visual Concepts. In short order, I sold myself to a few quality clients as a freelance copywriter and publicist. When I was hungry for steady work, I landed a ¾ time job at a small PR agency. Still, I longed for independence and greater influence to choose clients and projects. I left the job to pursue “high touch” assignments versus the “high tech” assignments that were a big part of my prior gig.
My first clients were fine grocery and specialty food retailers including Fran’s Chocolates Ltd., Oh Boy! Oberto Sausage Company, and TalkingRain Beverage Company. My business expanded to include professional and creative service firms and community banks.
On my path from desperate housewife to diva of publicity, I’ve learned useful lessons that might prove helpful to those thinking of launching businesses of their own.
Recognize the power in this most concise advice: Happy wife, happy life. Finding a way to use my writing and influence skills for profit was my path toward the “happy wife, happy life” ideal.
Figure out a way to spend 80% or more of your time doing work you are passionate about. Storytelling has always captured my interest, and that is the foundation of my efforts every day.
Price your services right. Believe in the value and have courage to charge market appropriate fees.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “Surround yourself only with those who lift you higher.” Observe and learn from the success of others. Choose clients, employees, and vendors carefully.
Demonstrate your passion. It is contagious, and it is the most persuasive tool you have to attract quality clients to your care.
Don’t sell. Tell.
Be generous with your expertise in a general way so prospects will learn enough about the value you offer to engage your expertise for a fee to solve their very real and specific pain. Pain killers sell much better than vitamins.
Image counts. Build a personal brand. Pay attention to your wardrobe. Craft a winning elevator speech. Speak with polish and authenticity. Build a high-impact Web site. Launch an e-newsletter. Write for the media. Speak at conferences. These elements join together to say something powerful about who you are and what you stand for. Prospects will either nod “yes” or “no” based on the detailed picture you paint.
Take genuine interest in the success of others and how you can apply your proven, proprietary skills to advance their success. Their success is your success.
Have fun. Make money. One without the other isn’t good enough. Otherwise, go back to being an employee because it is much easier.
If I could emerge from the depths of post-partum depression to build a thriving business out of a desire to buy better groceries, what other rewards are waiting for those with the passion and commitment to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams?
My son Kyle is eight years old. He proudly introduces me to his playmates as the president of her own company. He and I talk a lot about why it is important to do what you love so you never have to work a day in your life. That’s a powerful truism for folks of any age. All this is to say that the payoffs for following your bliss are priceless. If it’s time to take that step, you know it. Best wishes for the journey ahead. Most of all, thanks to my clients for trusting me to get them seen, heard, and celebrated in their backyards and beyond. I do it for love, money, and better groceries. (This article was written in February of 2006.)
January 29, 2009
Business Success, Event Promotion
No matter what is going on in the economy, we all need to connect with like-minded people, think big thoughts about what is possible for our future, and learn new skills to be more effective.
The Puget Sound Coaches Association is offering a fabulous, one-day professional development conference on Thursday, Feb. 5 that promises to deliver all of this and more. You can still sign up and benefit if you act quickly!
Do you want to overcome under-earning? You won’t want to miss Barbara Stanny’s presentation on this topic. Barbara Stanny is a Money Expert and has appeared on numerous national and regional television and radio programs to spread her message of financial empowerment for women. These include: Good Morning America, The View, Power Lunch on CNBC, Money Matters on CNN, Your World with Neil Cavuto and The O’Reilly Report, both on Fox News Channel, just to name a few. That’s Barbara at left.
Do you need to shift the focus of your organization from “me to we?”
Do you need to close more sales and and build stronger relationships using business psychology?
You can learn this and so much more. Click here to learn more about the fabulous presenters scheduled to empower your success at a time when we all need more of that. From the 1/2 day workshop at $107 to the full conference for $257, there is a “perfect fit” choice to meet your schedule and budget.
Don’t sit at home, worrying and wondering in isolation about what is possible. Get out into a fabulous community, connect with equally fabulous people, and catapult your confidence and skills to a higher level of fabulous. Enough said. Enjoy!
January 29, 2009
A lot of people tell me they are attracted to the “Get seen, heard, and celebrated in your own backyard … and beyond” message I use to capture the essence of my company’s brand. I always tell people I came to this tag line by learning at the feet of Suzanne Falter-Barns, the founder of Get Known Now. That’s Suzanne at left. She taught an Extraordinary Business Builders class that I took a couple of years ago. It made a huge difference in my branding and the impact and success I’ve enjoyed in my business of sharing DIY publicity tips, resources, and advice.
I didn’t want to delegate the task of branding my company to anyone else. I just knew if I had the right guide, I could get the the right message and do so with a budget that didn’t break the bank. And I did with Suzanne’s help. I can honestly say that my investment in this course has had a TREMENDOUS positive impact on my business that is priceless beyond measure. And I can measure the results at the bottom line, too.
If you are wondering if your branding is on target and need a guiding hand from an expert who can help you get the message right once and for all, I can’t say enough about what this class did for me. If you visit “The N List” page at this blog, you can easily click on Get Known Now to learn more and sign up.
The next Extraordinary Business Builders class starts on February 26. Do yourself a favor and learn more about it. Now it is a year-long program that takes you from soup to nuts and includes getting the look of the blog right, social media, and even a nod to public speaking. If you act by Feb. 1, you can save $500 overall.
I came to my “Get seen, heard, and celebrated” message on Christmas Day of 2006. What a gift that was! Soon after, I shared that message in all of my materials, through this blog, my newspaper column, and just about everything else I do. It’s been a great, on-target message to share that is resonating beautifully and making an emotional connection that invites perfect clients to my service. If more perfect clients were to show up to benefit from what you offer, how much better would life and work be? Think about it.
I am proud to be one of Suzanne’s star students and success stories posted to her blog. You can have the same success if you just get into gear and sign up to benefit. You will be glad that you did. Walk, don’t run. This is well worth doing. This I know for sure.
January 27, 2009
Publici-Tea™ Graduate Success Story
Annie Cheng attended the Publici-Tea™ Workshop on January 9, and now her employer NetStar Communications has been profiled on KIRO AM 710.
Annie paid attention to the radio show and noticed that the broadcast was offering stories about companies that are prospering, even in a down economy. She made her pitch to Business Editor Jason Brooks, and the story unfolded in perfect timing with Founder Tony Cheng (photographed at left) on the air.
During the Publici-Tea™ workshop, Annie learned the nuts and bolts about how to make a story pitch, identify the right decision maker, and follow through. Now she has Publici-Tea™ success to show for it, just weeks after learning her lessons well.
Annie tells me she is in conversations with the Puget Sound Business Journal to consider a similar story for the paper’s “Counter Currents” feature, and hopes are high that effort will turn into meaningful coverage, too. If your company is struggling with managing telecommunications costs, check out the feature on KIRO AM 710 at the link above and determine if NetStar Communications can help you save some money. Now more than ever, that is a welcome thing.
And, if you want to learn the lessons that Annie learned so well at the Publici-Tea™ Workshop, sign up today for the March 13 event at The Village Bellevue!
January 26, 2009
Be Heard, Publici-Tea™ Graduate Success Story
You could say that being married to this publicist has its advantages. I am sure my husband Steve Juetten would tell you that. He just got selected as the new personal finance examiner at www.Examiner.com based on a tip I passed his way. I just happened to notice that this popular content blog had an opening for a personal finance columnist. Steve went through the process of completing the online application and preparing a sample blog post to demonstrate his writing skills. He hit “send” and hoped for the best. Within two days, Steve got word that his application was accepted. Today, he sat for a new head shot (Thank you fabulous photographer Tara Gimmer!). Later this week, Steve’s first column will debut. He’ll be making 3-4 posts a week about personal finance and money matters, just in time to help people throughout the Puget Sound better navigate the rocky waters of the economy and rest easier with his time tested and proven tips and advice. Love that. Here is the link to find out more about how you can contribute. And here is the link that shows current subject matter openings. Good luck!
January 26, 2009
The mission of Diva Toolbox is to empower, educate, and entertain women. This site seeks to provide insight into issues that affect women, to inspire women to achieve, to educate women in both practical and intellectual subjects, and to create a supportive and nurturing community. Through your contribution, the Diva Toolbox intends to present timely articles, engaging stories, powerful testimonials, and wise words from members of this online community.
I like what the Diva Toolbox is all about, so I have contributed a number of articles for feature there as part of my own DIY publicity effort. This month, this site is recognizing me on the homepage as a featured contributor. I love this extra visibility in a community that can most certainly benefit from the expertise I share.
What can you offer to the Diva Toolbox? Article submissions are welcome. Here is a link to learn how to make your submissions. If you write and place four fabulous articles on well targeted sites to serve your ideal customers, what kind of magic will you manifest for your business this year? Invest some time writing to serve others, earn fans for your work, and welcome new opportunities to serve. It’s just that simple.
Just last week, I met someone for the first time and she said, “I feel like I know you already because I’ve been following your ‘Media Savvy’ newspaper columns in the Puget Sound Business Journal and elsewhere for many months.” That was music to my ears, and it will be music to yours — once you follow my lead and start writing and sharing articles as I am suggesting in this post. If the audience for Diva Toolbox is right for your expertise, start there. Other great places to start are www.biznik.com and www.ezinearticles.com. The key is to get started. How about today?
January 25, 2009
Thanks to Publicity Hound Joan Stewart’s recent Twitter post — also known as a Tweet — on stellar customer service, I found this compelling post that shares 50 things your customers wished you knew. Since most business owners are in the hunt for more perfect customers as 2009 gets up to speed, check them out at this link to see the opportunities Sonia Simone has shared to help you deliver better service.
I always say that one of the best way to earn referrals to new customers is to deliver extraordinary service and results to the clients you have. This list offers useful and timely inspiration. Enjoy and share with others who can benefit.
And, you can follow me on Twitter at this link. Please do as I offer lots of useful tips and resources to contribute to your DIY publicity and business success there. One of the cool things about Twitter is you absolutely have to get to the meat of the matter in 140 characters or less. That’s a good skill to develop as you share news and insights with others about how you serve others through your business.
This blog post is coming to you as a direct result of a Tweet from Publicity Hound Joan Stewart. Just imagine what other magic is waiting for you and your business just by following a leader you like, trust, and respect.
I just got started with Twitter late in 2008. Now, I’ve set a goal to earn a meaningful following. Won’t you join me there?
January 23, 2009
Just for Fun
Visit this site and create an Obamicon of your own. Post it on Facebook or elsewhere to show your spirit for the new administration and whatever else you are working on to make only the contribution you can make. Special thanks to my colleague Cynthia Flash, who shared this information with me after hearing about it on the KIRO News Radio this morning. Have fun!
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