Easy ways to market a startup business

By Erica Simpson

business design

















Effective marketing is about more than pushing the message about your startup business out to millions of consumers. To succeed, you  have to introduce your new business to the right people. In fact, a single market a startup business misstep could cost you. . . everything.

Money isn’t the greatest challenge that startups face

Consider this. The average amount of funding that a startup business receives is $1.5 million. Still, 75% of startups fail according to Mashable.

Clearly, lack of capital isn’t the only reason why some startups fail. Scaling too soon has hurt new businesses that were well funded. Poor cash flow management, overlooking risks and losing contact with too many former customers are other reasons why startups fail.

There’s also the opposite end of growing your business too fast while you market a startup. Absent angel funding, you could struggle to gain enough customers to keep your company going. Intuit says that, “Plenty of solopreneurs get twitchy at the idea of marketing their business.”

You could build your confidence and flex your marketing muscles if you start small. Schedule a meeting with 10 to 30 of your relatives, friends and neighbors, people you know well, people you trust. Have these tools on hand: foldable business brochures, product catalogs, media kits and, of course, product samples.

The link between confidence and effective marketing

Just as you would at a corporate sales meeting, serve refreshments (i.e. tea, water, juice, fruit, finger foods). Develop an event agenda and stick to it (even if you’re the only one who sees the agenda).

Spread the word (market) the event by taking pictures of your products and sharing them on social media. Develop landing pages for your products or services. Include the landing page links in messages that you send to relatives, friends and neighbors that you invite to the meeting.

At the event, speak with each attendee. Focus on the benefits that your products or services offer. Answer questions candidly. Also, ask the attendees for their honest feedback about your products or services. Feedback that you receive could prove invaluable, helping you to make product improvements before you launch a broad marketing effort.

The event could also do wonders for your confidence, especially when you start contacting media outlets (i.e. talk show hosts, magazine editors) to have your business featured. Your confidence high, you could begin to take other easy marketing steps, including the following:

  • Using free market a startup research tools to learn more about your prospects (i.e. where they hang out, what their career aspirations are)
  • Getting listed in local yellow pages
  • Conducting online and offline radio interviews
  • Designing and sending post cards to your target audience
  • Building a newsletter (be sure to include valuable coupons that lead to incredible landing pages)
  • Developing and sticking to a social media messaging strategy
  • Starting a business blog (update it regularly)
  • Hosting and attending community based events (i.e. festivals, small business expos)
  • Setting up search engine alerts for market a startup topics related to your business (include your business URL when you comment on relevant alerts)

Don’t stop with these marketing steps. Continue to learn, implement and measure other marketing actions. You’re going to need to do this for as long as you operate your business.

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Exploring Live Your Potential with JoAnn Youngblood King

Joann Youngblood King Live Your PotentialMEET JoAnn Youngblood King:  Write Money Incorporated’s feature entrepreneur, JoAnn Youngblood King, is a CTA certified success coach, author and owner of Live Your Potential. Equipped with a diploma in Small Business Management, JoAnn is also a member of Coach Training Alliance and The International Association of Coaches. As a trainer for  Project Enterprise, she helps entrepreneurs to gain access to business loans, business development services and networking opportunities. She is passionate about helping people follow their dreams. In 2008 and 2009, she was recognized as a Charles B. Benenson Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee. She earned Charles B. Beneson Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2014. JoAnn is committed to her clients’ success and happiness. She listens deeply, without judgment, and explores actions that will move her clients to the fulfilment of their goals. Read on to find out how JoAnn got started, what she did to overcome a challenge, how she markets her business and where she’s taking her company.

WMI:    What were you doing before you founded Live Your Potential?

JYK:        Before I founded Live Your Potential, I was working full-time as a legal secretary while pursuing my favorite hobby of reading and studying everything I could about human potential.

WMI:    Tell us what inspired you to start your business?

JYK:      I became interested in coaching in the late 1990’s.  I saw an advertisement for the class “How to be a Life Coach”.  The class description resonated with me.  I went to the class and decided right there that I wanted to coach people to achieve greatness. I was already doing that with friends and family. I immediately came up with a name for my coaching business, which at the time was Higher Level.  I made up some business cards and letterhead for my coaching business and started studying the coaching industry.  In 2004, I attended a seminar by Walt Goodridge, Author of Turn Your Passion into Profits.  During the seminar, Walt shared a quote which further motivated me to get serious about my coaching business.  The quote says, “If you create and market a product or service through a business that is in alignment with your personality, capitalizes on your history, incorporates your experiences, harnesses your talents, optimizes your strengths, complements your weaknesses, honors your life’s purpose, and moves you towards the conquest of your fears, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that anyone in this or any other universe can offer the same value that you do!” After that seminar,  I renamed my company Live Your Potential and have gone on to help many people accomplish their goals and dreams.

WMI:    Do you recommend that a life coach get certified? Why? Please also tell us about some of the best available life coach certifications.

JYK:       I do recommend that a life coach become certified. I took on the role of a life coach for five years before I received my certification in 2010. After getting certified, I gained more confidence and learned about tools and strategies that I wasn’t aware of before.  The certification also helped me with accountability and gave me a wonderful support system. The coach certification program I used was given by Coach Training Alliance. They are approved by The International Coach Federation. The program runs for six months.

WMI:    Tell us about the services that Live Your Potential offers?

JYK:        Live Your Potential provides Success Coaching through one-on-one coaching and group coaching. We also hold Success Seminars, workshops and events.

WMI:    Please share three to four steps that life coaches can take to market their business?

JYK:         1) Social Media Engagement – Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes every day posting, liking and commenting on quotes, stories and links regarding your coaching topic.  2) Write Articles – Submit articles to websites such as http://www.EvanCarmichael.com and http://EzineArticles.com/ on a regular basis.  3) Network of Coaches – Joining a network of Coaches is the best way to get help, support and understanding with like-minded individuals.

Next top success story bookWMI:    When and why did you write The Next Top Success Story?

JYK:         I wrote The Next Top Success Story in 2008.  The idea for the book was conceived when I saw a poster advertising an upcoming television show entitled Shear Genius.  This was a reality show created to showcase a top hair stylist.  Being familiar with television shows in the same league as this one, I started to think about the new reality show era and why it has become so successful.  I started thinking about why I was drawn to some of these programs such as American Idol, The Apprentice, America’s Next Top Model, Top Chef, and Top Design.  I realized that I was attracted to these programs because they showcase everyday people, like you and me, who are putting themselves in the public eye and letting people know that they are talented, beautiful, creative, and successful just as they are right now.  What I love about the participants of these shows is that they know who they are and what they are made of.  They know that they are special and want to be recognized for being so. We all have the potential inside for great success.  We are all the next top success story!

WMI:    Share a brief synopsis of The Next Top Success Story.

JYK:       In The Next Top Success Story, I share success tips, quotes and stories that helped me to realize that I have everything within me to be successful. This book helps others to realize that fact as well.

WMI:    Who is your target audience, as an author and as a life coach?

JYK:       Live Your Potential helps entrepreneurs and small business owners to discover, tap into and live their inherent potential for success. We specialize in working with administrative assistants, executive assistants, coordinators and support staff who are entrepreneurs at heart, people who are ready to accomplish their dreams and goals while currently working for someone else. We also work with mom entrepreneurs to help them find the time needed to start their business or take their existing business to the next level.

WMI:    How has writing a book helped you to attract new life coaching customers?

JYK:       Once people see that you have written a book, it gives you a certain amount of credibility in your area of expertise.   I decided to write a book because I spoke with many people who expressed a desire to write a book one day.  I believe that everyone has a book in them.  I wanted to prove that if I write a book, you can too! I acquired more clients after writing my book because it became a point of reference to create my coaching program and workshops.

WMI:    Social media networks, press releases, interviews, etc. provide a myriad of marketing opportunities. Share three to four specific marketing strategies/action steps that small business owners can take to get more exposure for their products.

JYK:       1) Word of Mouth – Even though we have become dependent on social media, there is nothing like good old fashion word of mouth advertising. If your product or service is on point, people will talk about it.  2) Joint Ventures – Joint venture partnerships are great for helping to widen your audience.  3) Speaking Engagements – Public speaking gives your audience a sneak peak of the value you can offer them.  4) Support Teams – Create or join a support team like a mastermind group to exchange ideas and strategies.

WMI:    To keep your business going, you have to generate cash inflow. Tell us about two to three effective cash inflow generating strategies you’ve found effective.

JYK:      1) De-clutter – I have learned that when you clean up clutter you make room for more to come into your life. For example, by clearing out clutter, you may have an opportunity to make money by having a garage sale.  2) Temporary employment – To help make ends meet while pursuing your dreams and goals, it may be necessary to do what you have to do temporarily to get what you want permanently.  3) Prosperity Affirmations – I recite daily affirmations to stay positive in order to draw positive results to me. One of my favorite affirmations is “Money is coming to me easily and effortlessly.”

WMI:    What’s next for JoAnn Youngblood King? Where do you see yourself and Live Your Potential three to five years from now?

JYK:       I have a new book titled Live Your Potential and Let Your Faith Lead You to Success; the book is positioned to be a best seller.  I plan to promote my new book which is the first in a series.  Three to five years from now, I plan to create a Live Your Potential Empowerment Center, where entrepreneurs can come to learn about how to use their potential to have happy, healthy and successful lives.

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Finding jobs after college

By Ericka Simpson

finding jobs after college

Found on Business Insider

Getting advanced college degrees could instill you with the belief that you deserve to land high paying, quality jobs. It’s at these jobs that you can position yourself for promotions and rewarding challenges that your college education and life experiences have already prepared you to meet. The degrees can also convince you that finding jobs after college is going to be easy.

Proven tips for finding jobs after college

If that’s what you think, consider this. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 21 million Americans were enrolled in college in 2011. When it comes to finding jobs after college, the good news is that many of these students already have full-time jobs. You may not have to compete with them when you start your job search.

The bad news is that millions of these adults are your competition. They are strategizing and learning new ways to make finding jobs after college easier, fruitful. Give yourself a boost by networking for jobs while you’re in school. The more time you give yourself to find good jobs, the better.

Sign up for internships. If you’re going after a master’s degree, apply for fellowships. Do as much lab work as you can to get hands on experience. For example, if your college offers you a thesis or non-thesis option, consider the non-thesis option. This will force you to complete loads of research and lab work.

Make the most of collegiate contacts

Keep in touch with organizations that you intern or fellowship with. Don’t just keep in touch with your supervisor. Keep in touch with the human resources director, human resources recruiter and other managers you met while you interned at the organization.

Below are more action steps you could take while you’re in the process of finding jobs after college. Success at finding jobs after college calls for you to be resilient, persistent and positive.

  • Create a spreadsheet or database. Add the names of organizations you want to work at, why you want to work at these organizations and the names and contact information of two to three people at these organizations.
  • Develop a resume and job cover letter. Work with a professional resume writer if resume writing is not your strong suit. Monster, Career Builder and other job boards post sample resumes and cover letters that you can use for free.
  • Email contacts at organizations you want to work at your cover letter and resume. Customize job cover letters and resumes to the specific organization and for the specific job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a junior underwriter job at ABC Company, mention the firm and the job title in your cover letter one to two times.
  • Pull up hiring managers and recruiters’ LinkedIn profiles. If these leaders attended the same college that you did, mention that in your cover letter.
  • Set up automated job alerts through major job boards. No need in spending hours poring over one job after another at the boards. Let the open jobs come to you.
  • Search internal job boards at organizations you want to work at. Many organizations don’t post any or all of their open jobs with major job boards as the boards require companies to pay a fee to post jobs (these quarterly fees are not cheap).
  • Attend professional or industry events. Let’s say you’re working at finding jobs after college in the financial services industry. By attending events like Financial Services Industry Exchange and Financial Services Talent Network seminars, alumni financial services networking events and meet-and-greet nights hosted by area banks and other financial services firms.
  • Step into related roles if the particular role you want is highly competitive, making finding jobs after college near impossible. For example, top financial services firms easily receive 20,000 resumes for investment banking roles. You could get your foot in the door by seeking a financial advisor, hedge fund or research job.

Finding jobs after college takes consistent work. U.S. News and World Report says that it could take a year to find a good job. Of course, you could find any low paying, non-benefit offering job quicker, but you want a good job. By developing a schedule for when you will search and apply for jobs, you can gain traction. Following up with recruiters and hiring managers can also keep you in these important decision maker’s minds. As you keep in touch with college career counselors, attend college job fairs and network with alumni, you can become aware of jobs you may otherwise not have heard about.

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Analyzing data could be a symptom of fear

By Rhonda Campbell

gorgeous woman



Are you in the habit of analyzing data? I’m talking about really analyzing data. Do you think of all possible outcomes before you consider making a decision? Spreadsheets, databases, industry specific articles and targeted seminars are like friends. You spend hours poring over at least one of them.

Data analysis isn’t always good

You have to know that you’re heading in the right direction. It’s a smart move, to a degree. Yet, it’s easy to slip. Over analyze and you could set yourself up for frustration, procrastination, feeling stuck and eventually boredom.

Boredom that over analyzing data creates isn’t temporary. It lingers, crushing you with despair. It’s no fun. Regardless of how many facts you review, there’s always just one more point you want to consider before you take action.

It could be why you haven’t gone out on a single date in months, perhaps years. It could be why you keep working at a dead end job. It could be why you’re on your way to becoming among the billions of people who leave this earth with this top regret – the regret that you never pursued your dreams.

Analyzing data to prove you’re smart to be afraid

Analyzing data is a way to convince yourself that it is unsafe to change. Analyzing data is a way to make yourself believe that you’ll lose too much if you go after what you really want.

As with most fear, what you could be afraid of is an emotion. You could be afraid of feeling embarrassed, rejected or dumb. All of them tie back into the fear that you’re not loved.

To avoid (a definite fear goal – avoidance) feeling rejected (or unloved), you steer clear of the spotlight. You try to hide or make excuses for your successes, playing them down so others won’t feel threatened by your successes. “This ol’ dress. I got it on clearance,” you respond when someone compliments your fashion choice.

Face your deepest fear

Marianne Williamson said it well, sharing that, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”

She continued, “You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Smart-dumb way to put dreams on hold

Let an opportunity or an idea pop up and you start analyzing data. You read 20 or more articles or books on dating someone with traits that you think your family and friends might reject (thereby indirectly rejecting you). After reading the articles and books, you still don’t ask the person out.

Out of the blue, someone tells you about a franchise opportunity (something you’ve dreamed about for years). You take the person’s contact information, but you never call. Or you call and ask them a series of questions . . . more material to analyze.

Five, seven, eight, 10 years pass and you still haven’t started a franchise. But, you know a lot about franchises. You’ve spent months analyzing them, the rewards, the challenges, the average money required to invest in a franchise and the potential losses.

Awareness pays off

If you’ve been paying attention to your life, you’re starting to see that over analyzing data could be a symptom of fear. Consider this. As Marianne Williamson said, what you’re afraid — terrified — of is your own greatness . . . your own greatness.

So, you spend time analyzing data, analyzing dreams, analyzing an article and analyzing handwriting. It’s a trick. You think that analyzing data equals taking action, making a decision that will propel you forward. It really is a trick.

Fact is that data analysis isn’t the type of action that leads to advantageous change, not if analyze is all you do. The next time you catch yourself over analyzing, make a decision. You don’t have to go as far as Jim Carrey went in the movie Yes Man, but say “Yes!” to a few love-rooted opportunities that appear in your life.

Forget trying to figure out how it will all turn out. You will probably never know unless you say “Yes!” and take action. Let your higher self take care of the details. Start small if you have to. Just get started, especially on the path to fulfilling your dreams. Because you’re an eternal, limitless being no misses you have can change the truth of what you are. So, take a love-rooted chance.

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Benefits of hiring temporary workers

By Eric Bradford

Organizations ranging in size from startups to major corporations are realizing the benefits of hiring temporary workers. Don’t think so? Check this out. Statista says that staffing agencies pull in about 250 billion euros a year. In the United States alone, employers spent nearly $110 billion hiring temporary workers in 2011.

hiring temporary workers
6 major benefits of hiring temporary workers

These revenues include direct agency payroll costs and recruiting charges to find and attract skilled temporary contractors. For sure, it cost enough to reap the benefits of hiring temporary workers. But, in many instances it’s worth it. Following are reasons why.

  • Payroll taxes – Staffing agencies are responsible for withdrawing and submitting federal, state and local taxes on contractors or temporary workers.
  • Health benefits – Medical, dental and vision health benefits are the responsibility of staffing agencies. Depending on the size of your organization, this cost alone could save you thousands a year.
  • Paid time off – Vacation, personal and sick leave is the responsibility of staffing agencies. Although, as a courtesy, temporary workers tell you when they are planning to take a day off, staffing agencies record time off and compensate the workers.
  • Culture matches – Personality and culture must mesh if workers are to be satisfied at your organization. If you’ve been at your organization for several years, you might not be aware of the culture that’s embedded in your company. Yet, it’s there. When workers’ personalities don’t fit into your culture, conflicts and challenges rise. For this reason, this ranks among the top benefits of hiring temporary workers. Should temporary workers not fit your culture, you can sever the ties by picking up the telephone and calling the staffing agency and telling an agent that you want to end the working relationship with the temp.
  • Innovation – Because temporary workers fill in spots at a variety of organizations, these workers have insight into different management styles, culture, communication practices and project management procedures. Tap into this innovation by asking a few simple questions and benefits of hiring temporary workers for you could lead to enhanced innovation.
  • Recruiting pipeline – It wouldn’t be a surprise if your organization went to the same one to two staffing agencies to find temporary workers. As the numbers of temps you hire from a staffing agency, bringing the workers on as permanent employees increases, you develop a pipeline of talent.

Reduced payroll expenses are one of the major benefits of hiring temporary workers. The chance to test applicants’ skills is another benefit you could get. Additionally, as the owner of a startup or established business, benefits of hiring temporary workers allow you and your team to find out firsthand how well applicants fit into your organization’s culture.

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Email marketing is not dead

By Ericka Simpson

email marketing imageEmail marketing is a must if you want to deepen customer relationships. Source Digit says that globally more than 182 billion emails were sent every day in 2014. Texting and social media aside, people still place a lot of value in email.

You could rely on social media to connect with prospects and current customers. But, think about this. Who owns your social media followers’ and friends’ contact information?

Social media can’t replace email marketing

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram own those details. So, if Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram shutdown (a long, long stretch) or changed their rules (not as farfetched), how would you keep in touch with the hundreds or thousands of social media followers you’d already spent marketing dollars to get?

Build your own in-house email marketing database and you would have the information that you need to keep communicating with these valuable contacts. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a lot out of social media. You can. You should.

While you’re posting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest messages, polls and images, offer your followers free white papers, tip sheets, coupons and free newsletter subscriptions. Include a link to a search engine optimized landing page. Ask responders for their name and email address.

Email marketing and social media marry

If your company warm calls prospects, request responders’ telephone numbers as well. Add responders’ contact details to your in-house contact list. As a tip, easy to use contact list development tools include Excel (or another spreadsheet application), Constant Contact, MailChimp, iContact, Benchmark and Pinpointe. Purch has a good review of the top 10 email marketing services.

Email marketing and distribution services save you time and effort. To update email marketing contact lists, simply add a short code to your website and let visitors subscribe themselves to your contact lists. Once a month or once a quarter, download the contacts into a database (i.e. Word, Excel) that you save on your business computer, again maintaining full ownership of the data.

Pay attention to when you send email marketing messages. Send emails, especially electronic newsletters, on Tuesday and Thursday and you could increase your number of opens. Your target audience can impact the best times to send emails significantly.

For example, if you’re emailing college students during the summer, early morning emails might go unnoticed. On the other hand, emailing C-Level executives before 8am could work. For emails with deadlines (i.e. sales with soon approaching end dates), get emails out three to five days in advance of the event.

Pay attention to email marketing results

Check out email marketing stats. Things to look for include open rates, social shares, clicks, un-subscribes and new subscribers. Add images to email to increase opens and reads. If you get in the habit of including valuable coupons and other deals in emails, not only might your email contact list grow, subscribers could start pinging you, asking when your next email is coming.

Should more people unsubscribe after you send emails or newsletters that have three or more ads in them, reduce your ads to one or two. See if fewer people unsubscribe. As with other business strategies, tweak and change your email marketing actions.

This means changing the dates and times when you send emails. It also means adding feature interviews, quotes, quizzes, downloadable apps and sales codes to emails and monitoring the results. Some marketers advise that you upload email contacts from your personal databases into social media accounts. It’s a great way to build social media connects. Just remember identify the types of relationships you have with these people. Your 65-year old Aunt Serena might not want to get an email about each high heeled shoe sale you’re boutique is running.

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Easy ways to lose stubborn pounds

By Eric Bradford

run to lose stubborn pounds

You can lose stubborn pounds.

Remember how easy it was to lose the first 10 to 15 pounds? An old photo, glance from a relative or friend you hadn’t seen in awhile or a joke made at your expense by your child (little angel) or grandchild sparked your urge to drop weight. Right away, you hit the gym, jogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a time.

Fast weight loss

Within days, you added stair stepping, cycling and weight lifting to your regimen. Four weeks later, you’d dropped 10 or more pounds. Snug jeans were now loose. But, you’ve got a long way to go. If you’re a 50ish or 60ish executive or solopreneur, you could have a pound to lose for each year of your age.

Don’t worry. It happens. . . . to a lot of people. For women, an increase in estrogen production during the middle years can cause weight gain, according to Dr. C. W. Randolph. The Berkeley Lab (their findings are interesting) studied runners and discovered that there’s damn near nothing adults can do to stop the weight gain process after they hit the middle years, except . . .

Run more. But, who wants to do that?

To lose stubborn pounds, accept the fact that what’s happening to you has happened to millions of people. You’re not a bad person. You’re a normal person.

Focus on your diet (as in what you eat every day, not how little you can eat). Increase the amount of protein you eat and drink. Eggs, skinless chicken breast, salmon, light tuna, peanut butter, nuts and tofu are good protein sources. Cottage cheese, steak, quinoa, soy milk and pumpkin seeds are other good sources of protein.

Steps to lose stubborn pounds

By adding more protein to your diet, you could build muscle. It’s muscle that aids in weight loss. Which is a reason why you could lose stubborn pounds by pumping iron.

Another action step you could take to lose stubborn pounds is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat. This means eating less bread (including sandwiches with lean meat), pasta, cakes, pies, candy bars, etc.

Because you need vitamins to keep your body healthy, try to eat three to four servings of vegetables each day. You might not think so, but getting a good night of sleep also helps you lose stubborn pounds. Scientists and nutritionists are discovering this more.

running to lose pounds

Photo by lululemon athletica

Other ways to lose stubborn pounds include taking it easy. Stress causes inflammation (achy joints), fatigue and irritability, to name a few. To lose stubborn pounds, also:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast/skip the bread (You’ve heard this how many times? Are you doing it?)
  • Get up from your desk every hour and walk 100 or more yards
  • Chew gum instead of snacking on junk
  • Drink fresh water
  • Go outside for a midday walk (this is also a great stress reliever)
  • Walk, jog, swim, bike ride, etc. in the evening (try to do so at least two hours before you head to bed)
  • Pack a healthy lunch and bring it to work with you
  • Choose fresh food over processed food (these means you’ll be using the stove more than the microwave)
  • Monitor or activity using a fitness tracker (i.e. Misfit, Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone)

Be patient with yourself. Love yourself. Your worth is not measured on a scale. You’re awesome right now, just as you are!  That’s not something to believe. It’s a fact!

Remember to lose stubborn pounds, you want to build muscle (protein is a muscle building friend). To stay limber, stretch, enjoy regular massages and bubble baths. Balance balls and stretch ropes are also good. Monitor your results and tweak your efforts, but don’t give up. So many have and you too can lose stubborn pounds.

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