Power of Trust Creates Miracle Results

By Rhonda Campbell

Trust is key to success. There is an element of unknown that we all enter at different times in our lives. We simply do not always know everything about everyone, every experience, every place and every aspect of the future. Having low levels of trust could cause you to experience higher levels of fear.

Consider this. What happens to your thoughts and physiology when you walk inside a completely dark room that you didn’t know was going to be dark, a room that you had never been inside of before? Does your heart race? Do you start to sweat? Do your hands start shaking? Do fear based thoughts start filling your mind, blocking out reasonable and peaceful thoughts?

Learning to true your true self

There’s a good chance that you have similar experiences just before you make a decision or find yourself in a situation that you feel you cannot fully (100%) control. If you don’t want to feel overcome by worry and anxiety, you’re going to have to trust.

Trust in truth is absolutely powerful. Trust in truth creates miracles. There is a place in each of us that is connected to truth. There is a part of us that knows the way. You’re going to have to value yourself enough to trust that part of you.

Actions that could strengthen your ability to trust include meditating, journaling, writing down and interpreting your dreams and writing an essay about a topic that you feel is important. You might be surprised how many subconscious (or hidden) thoughts and beliefs surface as you do this inner work. You might even discover thoughts that are blocking or trying to block your ease at trusting in truth.

Your feelings can be great guides

Pay attention to your sincere or honest emotions (also referred to as trusting your gut). Create a list of experiences that you have already come through. Build your confidence in yourself honestly. If you’ve already come through a layoff, relationship breakup, move, health challenge or financial struggle, you are not making that up. It’s a fact. You got through it.

You can face and get through future experiences. The list that you create gives you proof that you can. You could also start by trusting with decisions and experiences that you think are small.

Why is this so important? As previously noted, you are not going to know everything about everyone and everything impacting your life. If you don’t trust, you won’t take actions that could open your life up to amazing miracles. You won’t move unless you know how everything (or most things) will turn out. This could keep you stuck which, after awhile, could create feelings of frustration, boredom and anger.

As you start to trust your true self, exercise the confidence to go all the way through the trust process until the miracles is created. A miracle might be sleeping well at night and not investing hours at night to worry. A miracle might be speaking up for yourself and not apologizing and back pedaling should your speaking up create a wave of thoughts, feelings and actions from others.

A miracle might be trusting your true self when seeking a decision and not calling your siblings, parents, friends, colleagues, church members or neighbors after you hear from your true self and asking them what you should do — proving that you do not have confidence in your true self (certainly less confidence than you have in other people).

Trust in truth works. Physical vision cannot see how one experience connects to another, inner vision or your true self can see those connections. Because a miracle is a yet unseen (with the physical eye) event, you have to trust your true self to continue to awaken and advance.

Posted in Staying Motivated and Inspired | 1 Comment

Let Someone Pay You To Expose Your Business

By Floyd Jackson

Let someone pay you to expose your business offerings. Believe it or not, there are people who will pay you if you let them toot your horn. These options could be just what you need to start to get the word out about what you’ve created.

People who will pay you while exposing your business

Hopefully, you will grow accustomed to receiving compliments, whether they come in the form of customer testimonials or top ratings. The effect could make you more comfortable with advertising and marketing your creative business offerings yourself. Depending on your personality, letting someone pay you to expose your business could be a near “must”.

Fact is, if you’re like many other creative business leaders, when you advertise your products and services, you feel like you’re manipulating people. Yet, you know that you’re not going to reach your target audience if you keep your creative developments a secret.

Here are people or places that may want to learn about your creative business. These places can introduce your creative products or services to new customers.

  • Award developers – It’s not just major motion pictures that benefit from get nominated for or winning an award. Books, technological products, artwork and other creative products can receive mass exposure by getting nominated for or winning an award. Speak at an award show and you could get paid to cover a segment of the show.
  • Contests – Not only could contests expose your business, you could get paid hundreds or thousands of dollars if you win contests. Go with contests that advertise winners on and offline and you could broaden and deepen your reach.
  • Conferences – You don’t have to attend every conference to expose your business. Some conference organizers allow you to send in free grab bag giveaways. It’s a form of free advertising that could pay off big, especially if the conference draws lots of attendees. Similar to awards shows, volunteer to speak at a conference, so you can potentially get paid for your appearance.
  • Schools – Bring handouts and samples of your creative business products to school events when you teach. Also, bring copies of your products to guest seminars that you speak at. Don’t just get paid to speak and share what you’ve learned so far with students, expose your business.
  • Business events – Businesses bring in guest speakers throughout the year. Add that you will showcase your products or services during or at the end of speaking engagements. Include this information in your contract.

Keep the momentum to expose your business going

You can continue to submit your creative business products or services to the above contacts. However, to build and maintain momentum, you need to get comfortable with telling others about what you’ve created. Start by carrying bookmarks, flyers, business cards and product samples in your purse and vehicle.

Give away free samples. Wear t-shirts, jackets and hats that advertise the name of your creative business and your website. Boldly add images of your products onto mugs, gift bags, umbrellas, pens and notepads. Prepare a quick answer or response for people who ask you about slogans, pictures and quotes on the marketing materials.

it’s time to get comfortable with business exposure

Attend industry specific seminars and trade shows. Make an appearance at one or more of these events a month. Always bring product samples and marketing materials with you. Look around and you’ll see this is what major corporations do. To maintain their mental imprint on large numbers of people, leaders at major corporations make getting out in public a top priority.

Do the same. While you get more comfortable marketing and advertising your creative business products or services, continue to submit your work to authority figures and award organizations. Get memberships with organizations that have impact. Stay out there, right where the people your creative business products and services support and empower are.

Posted in Growing Business | 1 Comment

How to Grow Your Business While Working a Full-Time Job

By Monica Simpson

Take smaller steps to grow your business while working a full-time job. It could make all the difference. It could mobilize you. But, first you have to get started.

After all, if you’re truly meant to operate and grow a business and you don’t act on it, at some point you’re going to start to feel extremely uncomfortable. Feelings of boredom and pointless busyness may start to overwhelm you. Yet, if you’re like many people, these strong emotions may not lead you into action right away, especially if you’re wrestling with fear thoughts.

Fear manifest itself in a myriad of ways

Does this sound familiar? You’re too old. You’re so young that established business pros won’t take you seriously. You don’t have an office to start your business out of. You don’t have the background or the education to operate a successful business. And, most of all, you don’t have enough money to reach your business goals.

Start smaller to grow your business while working a full-time job. Just get going. One way to start smaller is to launch your business while you’re still working for someone else. You’ve done this before, just not in the business world. During your junior or senior year of high school, you started to mentally prepare to leave home.

You contacted college admissions counselors. You submitted college applications. The more accustomed you became to the idea of living away from home, you may even have visited a few colleges. Dreams about life away from home may have started to surface.

The process of launching and growing your business is similar to going to college

Research the industry that you want to start a business in. Don’t limit your research to the internet, as there is a lot of misleading and inaccurate information on the internet. Learn about your target audience, places they frequent, books they enjoy reading, where they generally live, etc.

Speak with people who already own successful businesses. Be open to starting a business from home.

Smaller steps to this end include:

  • Asking your current employer if you can work on a telecommuting arrangement (Devote the time that your employer pays you to actually working for your employer. Use the time that you would spend commuting to work on your personal business.)
  • Designate a room at your house at your home office
  • Tell your family that you are working from home
  • Set a schedule for when you will develop and market your products or services to clients

Tips to more business growth

Grow your business using smaller steps by setting up search engine alerts for networking, trade shows, conferences and local charity events. Reach out to sponsors of these events and ask if you can speak at the events. Do not answer for anyone who you reach out to. This means that you will not tell yourself that the person will say “No” to your request. You don’t get to decide that. Let the person answer for her or himself.

Other actions that you can take to grow your business while working a full-time job include:

  • Pay for social media marketing once a month. Establish a budget that allows you to use a certain portion of the income that you receive from your employer. You could also use a portion of your own business sales to implement this social media marketing step.
  • Create a blog, a mobile friendly website and a desktop friendly website (But, don’t just create a blog and websites, update these marketing tools. For example, you could write and publish a new blog post once a week.)
  • Build a YouTube or a Vimeo video channel to grow your business while working a full-time job (As with a blog and websites, publish a new video once a week.)
  • Partner with a video marketing service to grow your video channel
  • Schedule online and offline radio interviews with stations that align with your business products and services
  • Guest posts blogs on major media sites once a month or once a quarter. Always include your URL to grow your business while working a full-time job.
  • Create tote bags, car magnets, t-shirts and sweatshirts that are designed with your business logo, products and URL. Wear the fashions while you’re grocery shopping, exercising or visiting the mall.
  • Place the name of your business and website URL on your telephone answering service
  • Write e-books that focus on the products and services that you share with clients. Allow people to download the e-books for free. Let people fill out a short form with their name and email address to get the e-books.

These are just a few ways that you can take smaller steps to grow your business while working a full-time job. Approach business growth with an open mind. Be open to exploring new ways to grow your business. It’s an ongoing process that connects you and your company to the very people you’re supposed to meet, serve and support.

Posted in Growing Business | 1 Comment

10 Questions for Online Marketing Companies

By Angela Benson

Online marketing companies are distinguished by price, media relationships and their in-house engineering and software resources. What small business owners may not consider when looking for a marketing firm are the results and online marketing strategies that the firms use.

Money Paid Doesn’t Equal Online Marketing Success

For example, some online marketing companies combine SEO, pay-per-click ads, social media marketing and link building to help rank websites and get small businesses in front of prospects. Others use bots to generate website traffic. You don’t want this, unless your ego demands to see numbers-numbers-numbers (even if the numbers don’t matter and never lead to a single sale).

Even if they charge a fortune, working with online marketing companies doesn’t always equal more leads, website traffic and sales. I learned this the hard way, and this, despite the fact that I’d done my homework, researching SEO and online marketing and learning what works and what doesn’t. I don’t want to see you have the same “money paid / success didn’t come” experiences that I did.

So, before you sign a contract with an online marketing agency, ask a representative these 10 questions:

  1. Tell me about 10 clients who your online marketing agency took from less than $100 sales a month to $1,000 or more sales a month.
  2. What are the top three niche markets that you see best results in?
  3. How many times have you marketed websites for a client like me? (Just because an online marketing agency got winning results marketing automobiles doesn’t meant that the agency can help you attract thousands of book readers/buyers.)
  4. If you do link building, how many of the sites that you will link my website to rank in the top 100?
  5. What types of inbound online marketing strategies do you use?
  6. Why did you start your online marketing firm?
  7. Share five sites that you use to publish guest posts at. (Marketing agency reps may not share the sites’ URL, but they could give you some background on the sites, including topics/themes covered at the sites, how long they have been working with the sites’ owners and if the sites are trusted leaders in their market.)
  8. How will I receive weekly results reports and what’s included in the reports?
  9. Who should I contact if I have questions about my particular online marketing plan? (Get an email address and telephone number.)
  10. How many links, blog and guest posts, paid ads and social media posts will you complete for my small business each week for me with my marketing plan?

    Also ask online marketing companies to outline their different plans by price. Before going with a higher priced plan, consider trying out the basic plan. If results with the base plan are good, you might consider a higher priced plan. But, again, test the results. Pay attention and learn, so that you can complete more online marketing strategies on your own.
Posted in Growing Business | 1 Comment

What’s The Connection Between SOI, John Legend and Atlanta’s Real Housewives?

fashion designer diane linstonMEET Diane Linston:  Diane Linston is a faithful believer, a risk taker and a visionary. She is also one of the most talented fashion designers in Ohio. She has been advancing her Styles of Imagination (http://www.stylesofimagination.com) fashions for years. Her company is the only African American female manufacturing company in the Cleveland/Maple Heights area. Diane Linston’s designs are elegant, trendy and attention getting. For her work, Diane earned a feature in the 11th anniversary edition of “Who’s Who in Black Cleveland”.

She has been featured in more than 20 magazines and has appeared on several television shows. She keeps her eye on the prize. Two medical setbacks couldn’t stop her. This powerful business owner and fashion designer has worked with movers and shakers like actress, Jazmin Lewis; the mother of internationally renowned singer, John Legend; The Real Housewives of Atlanta,  Dwight Eubanks and mayor elect, Annette Blackwell. Keep reading to find out what inspires Diane, how she started her business and what she does to get the word out about her designs.

WMI:    What were you doing before you founded Styles of Imagination?

DL:        I was working in retail as an assistant merchandise planner with Things Remembered. I had just graduated from Virginia Marti College of Fashions & Art with a degree in fashion merchandise & fashion designs. After a year of working at Things Remembered, I felt that it was time to branch out on my own.

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

DL:    I have worked in many retail stores throughout my career. I worked at Saks, Lane Bryant, Paul Harris and WalMart. I know how to operate a retail store. I know how to merchandise a window. I was traveling to different events as a vendor, selling my clothing. That’s when I knew that it was time to start my own fashion company. I found a storefront less than five minutes from my home. It was in the right location.

WMI:    Fashion isn’t an industry that you can run a business in totally on the Internet. What was the process like of starting your own fashion company?

DL:       If you plan to have a brick and mortar store, you need to have a visible location where there is enough parking. It needs to be a location that customers can find easily. If you have a nice sized window, you need to make sure that your window is merchandised well. If you don’t know how to merchandise your window, seek an intern from a fashion college to help. Merchandising your window is very important. Keep in mind, that you need to put money aside for advertising. You can have the best boutique, but, if no one knows you’re there, it’s useless.

To get the word out about my fashion company, I passed out fliers at a nearby grocery store.

WMI:    Do you work runways, create designs or do you make clothes based off of specs that designers send you?

diane linston fashion lineDL:   I am the fashion designer. I design and create my clothing. I have a staff. We do everything from making the pattern to sewing the sample. Then we go into production to get the orders into other boutique stores.

WMI:    You’ve faced life challenges. How do you stay motivated and keep your business going when you’re dealing with health challenges?

DL:      Yes; I have faced many health challenges. What people don’t know is that I live with Teflon on the left side of my head. I have a severely damaged nerve that cannot be repaired. I had what is called trigeminal neuralgia. This is a disorder that effects 1 out of 15,000 people each year. (How could I have been so lucky). I had brain surgery in 2011. The nerve was so damaged, it caused one of my arteries to get wrapped around my blood vessel.

As I am writing this, tears are rolling from my eyes. I thought about taking my life, because the pain was so horrible. I told the Lord that if I was given quality of life again that I would tmake a difference in this world. I have not let the Lord down. I pray every day as  I speak with God. Then, I meditate as I allow God to speak with me and give me direction. You have to believe with a positive attitude. I am passionate about what I’m doing. I eat, sleep and drink my dream. I speak it into the universe.

WMI:    Congratulations on opening your showroom in 2015. What was that process like?  

DL:       Thank you. It seems like there’s not enough time in the day. It was hard finding good help.  The demand became overwhelming. It was as if we couldn’t create enough merchandise within the day. Things were selling that fast. I’m also on the road a lot.  I have to make sure that everything is in order before I go out of town. I developed a production line to make the creation of the clothing flow easily. It’s been a year and things are still crazy.

WMI:    What is the N.G.U. collection and who are these designs for? 

DL:        N.G.U. means Never give up. My collection is for the women who dare to dream, the women who will never give up. I cater to the lady with class and style, a woman who has confidence. N.G.U. is for women who want to be seen

WMI:    How were you able to get the N.G.U. collection in 15 stores across America?

DL:        I started to do trade shows like the Atlanta Mart. I would Google boutiques that I thought would be interested in selling my clothing. In the business, this process is called “going fishing,” fishing for new clients.

WMI:    Who are some of the designers you admire?

fashion designer diane linston signature fashion designsDL:       Kimora Lee Simmons, Gianni Versace, Pierre Cardin  and Patrick Kelly. If you’re looking at the KS /GV collection back in the early 90’s — OMG – their collection is totally me. The Pierre Cardin collection back in the 60’s was something futuristic. I have been told that some of my designs are futuristic.

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.

DL:      If you’re working on a shoestring budget like me, you might have to be your own PR person and create your own press releases. Reach out to your local newspaper or local magazine. Send them a press release. Let them know that you have a story to share. Local media is always looking for a good story. If there is a local TV talk show in your city, send them a press release. They might schedule you for an appearance. Also, social media is the thing right now. Post about your business on social media. Every business should have a website.

Create an email marketing list. Let your customers know what you are doing. Keep them up date.

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.

DL:      I get a lot of sells through my Facebook page. If you can’t afford a storefront, a website is a must. I also sell my N.G.U. Designs by Diane Linston on Amazon.com and do very well. I have heard that Etsy works from some people. Additionally, look for local spots to set up your merchandise. For example, you can call your local hospital, church, etc. to introduce your fashions. And search for women conferences on line. Another resource is Event Brite.

WMI:    What’s next for Diane Linston? Where do you see yourself and Styles of Imagination three to five years from now? 

DL:       Styles of Imagination plans to be in about 20 more stores in the United States within five years.

Posted in Feature Business Leader Interviews | 1 Comment

Map Out 2017 Successes

By Monica Sampson

2017 successes

Picture by Shon Carrera at Wikimedia Commons

It’s a new year. 2017 successes await you if you start taking actions that align you with success. Start now. The first step to 2017 successes is to commit to taking action.

This means that you cannot stop at positive thinking, repeating positive affirmations or fantasizing about what it will feel like to reach your goals. Dr. Steve Maraboli said, “Don’t just sit and wait for magic to happen. The magic that turns dreams into reality is YOU. When you are inspired by a dream, create a good plan. Creating that plan turns your dream into a goal. Then, take action!”

Passion, plan and action create 2017 successes

Action is a must in this world. You can’t just think-think-think about what you want. Even a great magician has to actually reach inside a hat and pull the rabbit out. A rabbit doesn’t come out of a hat simply because a magician thinks about a rabbit coming out a hat.

It could be why Dr. Steve Maraboli goes on to say that, “Live your life in a way that will bring that dream, that goal, to life. The magic is you.”

To map out 2017 successes, review your 2016 accomplishments. Major corporations don’t do this during employee performance reviews for nothing.

You need to see where you are. You need to see what you have accomplished, what you tried to accomplish and where gaps between the two are.

Now let the past go and look ahead

After you review your 2016 successes and identify areas for improvement, focus on the 2017 successes you want to experience. Get out a sheet of paper or computer.

List the top three successes that you want to experience this year. You really need to be passionate about achieving these goals. It could take weeks or months of consistent action and thought to manifest a goal. Inner passion will fuel you forward.

Stick to three successes as doing so helps you to focus. For example, you might write that you want to visit your adult children three times this year, gaining their genuine invite. Other goals might be to lower your blood pressure 20 points and to increase your business profits by 12 percent.

Build on your 2017 successes

Beneath each goal, write out at least 10 specific actions that you will take to manifest these 2017 successes. For instance, to lower your blood pressure by 20 points, you might:

1. Stop sprinkling salt on food
2. Eat clean salads (not add salad dressing to vegetables)
3. Walk 1 hour a day
4. Drink 4 to 8 glasses of water a day
5. Meditate for 15 to 20 minutes a day
6. Write in a journal at least four days a week
7. Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night
8. Use a fitness watch and track your exercise and deep sleep
9. Take your blood pressure once a month to see if the actions you’re taking are working
10. Reduce or eliminate fried foods from your diet
11. Read at least one new article a month on blood pressure to discover new ways to lower your blood pressure
12. Spend time with family and friends each week (good social connections improve our overall health)
13. Every half hour, for 30 to 60 seconds, visualize my blood pressure readings being 20 points where they are now

Stay open to the Creator’s word

Stay open to hearing and obeying our Creator. Insight on what you need to do to achieve 2017 successes could surface to your conscious mind seemingly out-of-nowhere. Speak positive affirmations to yourself if you start to feel as if your efforts will never pay off. If you keep going, something will happen.

Actively visualize yourself doing what you want to do. But, also take actions — lots of it! If your desired 2017 successes align with your authentic passions, you’ll want to do the work. In fact, it may not feel like work. It may feel like what you love to do, what you were born to do!

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Your Personal 2016 Successes

By Monica Sampson

2016 successes

Found at Wikimedia Commons – Photo is in the public domain

Congratulations on  your 2016 successes! You’re getting ready to cross the finish line and head into a brand new year.

Newness is inspirational! Newness is powerful! It makes you feel hopeful, as you may be feeling with 2017 only days away. Yet, just because the year, a relationship, job or house is new doesn’t mean that you’re in for significant, rewarding change. Your personal 2016 successes point to what you’re set to achieve in 2017.

Because of this, before you sit down and map out your 2017 goals, review your personal 2016 successes. Look back at your personal successes in 2016 with honesty. You won’t benefit now or in the future if you lie to yourself.

What are your best 2016 successes?

Following are specific questions you can ask yourself as you take a look back at 2016. Don’t skim over the questions. Also, consider your long term personal goals when you think about the questions.

  • Did my happiness and peace expand during 2016? If I struggled with feeling stuck or stagnant during 2015, did I have fewer days or instances where I felt that way in 2016? Why?
  • Was I faithful to my own mind stillness and mind awakening exercises in 2016? After I wrote down that I would meditate for at least 15 minutes a day at the start of 2016, did I do that? Did I sit still for at least 10 minutes after morning and/or evening prayer? Why not (again, be honest with yourself)
  • My financial savings grew in 2016 (yes or no)? Also, how did my saving grow? For example, did my savings grow because I spent less. Did I build personal wealth because I switched my accounts to lower interest accounts or worked another job?
  • Or did my savings grow because I experienced more business growth. I generated more personal wealth because I invested in my IRA more or got a raise at work or a combination of these or another activity?

Other ways you got on track in 2016

Your health is a direct connect to your energy. What health related changes did you make to position yourself for greater 2016 successes? Can you say that your:

  • Health improved for me spiritually, mentally and physically (yes or no)? Why? Did I exercise more, lost 15 pounds, eat more raw vegetables, cut back on my sugar or salt intake and/or cut back on worrying?
  • I followed my dream and started my own business in 2016? This is one of my big 2016 successes, as I’ve wanted to operate a business since I was 15.
  • Thanks to partnering with the right marketing agencies and sales specialists, I grew my company’s bottom line by 31%, one of several 2016 successes? If you work for an employer, how did you help the area that you work in grow? (If you’re not interested in helping the business that you work for to grow, why are you staying at that organization?)

More areas that impacted your 2016 successes

It may take one to two hours to complete the review of your 2016 successes. Don’t rush yourself. As you continue your review, ask yourself the below questions.

  • Instead of giving myself dozens of reasons to stay at a job I know I don’t like and know that I don’t find fulfilling, one of my 2016 successes found me applying and interviewing for a new job. I applied for jobs in my passion field. I even worked an internship in my passion field to give myself enough experience to nail a permanent, full-time job in the field?
  • One of my 2016 successes saw me saying good-bye to a toxic, abusive relationship. I also enrolled in a course at a community college, joined a book club and started keeping in touch with family and friends at least once a week to replace the relationship with more positive connections with others (yes or no)?
  • I got the help that I needed for a challenge that I’ve been dealing with. I stopped lying to myself and gave myself a chance to heal, so that I can be happy?

The above questions are general, in nature, covering personal relationships, work, finances and spiritual, mental and physical health. Because there are many facets to the experiences that you have in this world, it’s smart to review each area of your 2016 successes.

If you conduct a review of your 2016 successes before you map out your 2017 goals and the steps that you will take to reach those goals, you can spot areas that you need to focus on. You may also see just what held you back in 2016. You can also spot your strengths.

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Posted in Staying Motivated and Inspired | Tagged | 2 Comments