BBWO: BLACK BUSINESS WOMEN ONLINE

Spice Up Your Business In 3 Easy Steps


I have been quite exhausted over the past few months. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. However, my fast-paced and ever growing business and family require every ounce of my strength and sometimes, I have to take special steps to fill up my cup in order to continue to make progress on my journey. About this time last month, I began to feel really wiped out. For a few days, my husband sort of took over everything. I lounged around all day one Saturday while he cooked, cleaned, managed the kids and got some business done. I also stopped working early during a few weekdays to ponder why I was feeling so glum.


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It helped of course that I have a supportive business partner and husband, but three other things I did also quickly spiced up my Indie Business engine so I could continue creating my own version of success. The things I did made such a huge difference and were so easy to do, that I want to share them with you.


1. Connect In Person


I was dragging myself through a morning last month following the Twitter stream, when a business person in my area Tweeted that she and several others were planning to gather for lunch at a local restaurant later that day. I suited up and headed on over. I had a blast. We met for a little over an hour, a wonderful investment in me, my business and in the six other business people there.


All six of them had something special to offer. One is a corporate communications expert with a well known PR company, another a Web developer, another a licensed family therapist. Each one displayed his or her own special enthusiasm for what they do for a living. We met as strangers and parted as friends and business colleagues. How could I be glum when so many forward looking people were around to encourage and uplift me?! The whole experience left me feeling energized and excited about the future.


Check your local paper or magazines for networking events, or use Twitter to follow people in your city. If you're in the Charlotte area, you can follow me because I Tweet about local events I attend. Do these few things and it won't take long to find a few fun opportunities to connect in person.


2. Reach Out Through A Social Network


If you can't get out of the office, another alternative is to invest some time connecting with like-minded people in an online social network setting. It's not a substitute for "pressing the flesh," but when it's all you can do, at least it's better than sitting around moping.


I'd start with Ning, a popular and easy to use social networking platform that connects millions of people around shared topics of interest. At the home page, enter keywords the describe your areas of interest and several pages of social network options will display. There will be hundreds of options and one way to narrow them down is to eliminate the ones that don't display a photo icon next to the group name. That can mean that the site is not well maintained. Click on networks of interest and look to make sure there are contributions from that day or the day before. If not, continue searching. You want a community that is dynamic, makes itself look good and is also active. Once you find one of interest, just sign up for free and pick a discussion and offer your thoughts, questions and insights. Well maintained social groups always have members online so you are bound to get a response fairly quickly.


As the leader of the Indie Beauty Network, I am involved in social networking all the time, either with my members or with business colleagues who are also savvy online networkers. But when I need a kick start, I go someplace new, someplace where no one knows me and I don't know anyone else. Almost without fail, when I reach out, others reach back and meet me where I am at that moment in time. It's a beautiful thing, and sometimes, just the fix I need to regain my momentum.


3. Get A Free Consultation


Several years ago, I was struggling to give birth to a book. I was already a published author, but even so, it seemed like the new idea in my head just wouldn't come out. Thoughts about it preoccupied my day and slowed down my progress overall. Then, I stumbled upon an author's consultant's website where free 15-minute consultations were offered. I called her, enjoyed the free 15 minutes and 12 months later, my book was born.


Of course it took more than a great consultant's free 15 minutes finish my book, but in that amount of time, she affirmed my idea and give me objective feedback and valuable tips that lit a fire under me to get the job done. She gave me a new and exciting perspective, which ignited my enthusiasm and empowered me to move forward.


Lots of consultants offer short, limited consultations to help other people jump start an idea. When you find a consultant you like, check their About or FAQ pages to see if they offer any free, short consultations.


What do you think?


In cooking, sometimes, the tiniest little bit of spice makes all the difference. It's the same in business. One small step forward often turns out to be the very thing that takes your business to the next level. What are some of the simple things you do to spice up your business life? I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. The first 10 people to use the comment section below to share how they spice up their businesses will get two bonus gifts. First, I will email you the link to the author's consultant where you can sign up for your free 15-minute consultation. Second, I'll schedule a personal 15-minute consultation to help you re-discover your focus, spice up your business and gather the momentum you need to propel it forward.

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Comment by TotallyLess.com on November 15, 2008 at 4:00pm
Hello, to everyone. This was such a good read. Because, sometimes we feel as though, our situations are unique. When life somehow effect's us all in the same way. Donna Maria Coles Johnson, I'm sure I speak for all the wonderful women hear at BBWO. We Thank You!
Comment by Donna Maria Coles Johnson on October 14, 2008 at 1:04pm
Hi Lydia, how could I resist!? Just joined your group and look forward to meeting with you and the other women there. Thanks for connecting with me! dM
Comment by Donna Maria Coles Johnson on October 14, 2008 at 12:38pm
Hi Donna, thanks for taking the time to read my post. Are you also interested in the free 15-minute consultation? If so, you can leave a tip. If not, that's fine too! Thanks for reading and connecting with me! Look forward to doing it again!

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