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Archive for January, 2009

The Awesome Power of Social Media

January 31st, 2009


Yesterday was an amazing day for me in the world of social media. A perfect storm, actually. Let me give you the replay:

1) I was a closing keynote speaker for the AWESOME Leesa Barnes and her Social Media Telesummit. I shared strategies and tips for laying out a social media plan that does not include overwhelm. Learned all my best material watching the Rock Stars I admire. And that event alone was enough to absolutely make my day.

But, it gets better.

2) Before I spoke, I was doing my twitter thing and tweeted out something about my Tweetdeck frustrations around creating Groups. One of my followers, Levi Wardell @trontastic, piped up and asked if the twitterverse could name my groups. I laughed and said he could be in charge of it – NEVER IMAGINING HE WOULD ACTUALLY DO IT. The next thing I know, he’d put together an entire contest and invited all of twitter to compete to name my tweetdeck groups. You can see the trouble he took on my behalf here:

And he didn’t stop there. He started tweeting, retweeting, asking his friends (who didn’t know me from adam’s house cat) to tweet and even pulled in a few favors – all on my behalf.

I shared this story in my presentation yesterday and I share it with you now to illustrate one of the most important qualities of any Social Media Rock Star: Generosity. Levi’s got generosity down, don’t you think?

3) Tons more Generosity started showing up as new friends started retweeting about the contest – (and my love for bacon which is a story for another post). Even Perry Belcher himself was kind enough to jump in and play.

And today, Saturday, I am still lucky enough to be on the receiving end of even more kindness and generosity than I knew existed in the world.

What is my point? It certainly isn’t to brag – cuz none of this is about me at all. It’s about the people who make social media as powerful as it is. It’s about those who “get” that it isn’t so much about accumulating a ton of friends and followers (though that is kind of fun), it’s more about building relationships based on trust, generosity and being interestED in helping others.

Still getting my brain wrapped around how it all came together all in the same day. Truly truly, the awesome power that is social media is made up of the power of each citizen of that world who looks to serve and help others.

My goal now is to try to pay back some of what I’m getting. Don’t think I’ll ever pay down the debt. And you know what? It wouldn’t be any fun if I did.:)

A Mompreneur's Decision Compass

January 29th, 2009

I was on the phone with a successful mompreneur client this week helping her work through a very difficult decision that she was facing.  Because of all the priorities we juggle, I find that many mompreneurs can get “frozen” in the decision making process. The more important the decision, the more likely it is that we will lock down. Though, I must admit, on a very challenging day I’ve had trouble deciding if I want a PBJ for lunch.

But I digress.

My mentor Martha Beck taught me a very powerful tool that taps into the power of what our essential, authentic self already knows. I believe women have amazing instincts – we just get in the habit of ignoring them. So when faced with a tough choice, we don’t know how to tap this powerful guide.

So here is a fairly quick and powerful exercise to re-connect to your inner compass. You can use it now to get the idea and then really tap it the next time you are struggling with a decision.  Martha calls it The Body Compass.

Step 1.  Get yourself in a quiet place for about 10 minutes. Take few deep slow breathes. Now, recall a moment in your life that brought you pure joy.  Don’t spend time searching for the “perfect” moment – whatever comes to mind will do. Now, close your eyes and anchor yourself in the details of that memory. Where were you? Who was there? What sights, sounds, smells surround you?

Now, this is the important part – where does that memory live in your body? There is no right or wrong answer here. Many people will choose the heart, but some of my clients have chosen the solar plexus or even “my lips”. Once you have that place identified – expand on it. Choose adjectives to describe how that part of your body feels when recalling that memory.

Congratulations. You’ve just identified “True North” for yourself. THE mos important point on any compass, yes?

Step. 2. Now, I want you to recall an unpleasant moment in your life. Doesn’t have to be the most horrific but the stronger the better.  Again, anchor yourself in the details. What sights, smells, sounds are around you? Who is there? Got a good picture? Good. Now, where does this memory life in your body. I’ve had clients choose their stomachs, their shoulders, their throats, their knees. Could be anywhere.

Now, flesh out this feeling with adjectives – tight, scrunched, closed. The more detailed, the better.

You’ve just identified “Not North”. Again, a very valuable guide on any compass.

So, the next time you face a decision, imagine acting on both choices, one at a time. When you imagine acting on choice A, does your body feel more like True North or Not North? What about Choice B? Does it take you closer to True North or more toward Not North?

While no guide is absolutely foolproof, this particular compass has helped me and so many of my clients move out of decision lock down that it is always a good tool to keep in your back pocket.

If you try it, I would love to know how it works for you, so please share you thoughts and experiences!

How to be the Hipest Carpool Mom

January 27th, 2009

Want all the kids in carpool to think you are Da Bomb? Just Whip out this very cool CD and have it playing during pickup and drop off. When they ask who it is (and they will) you actually get to say “Barenaked Ladies”. Those words coming out of your mouth (and the snickers that will result) will cement your Top Mom Status.  Plus, you will actually LIKE this CD – which, for me, comes as a huge bonus.:)


Snack Time

If You Want to Capture Someone's Attention, Whisper

January 26th, 2009

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of parenting books. My current one is 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child by Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD.

Big surprise that The Maverick Mom would have a “defiant child”, right?!

At any rate, in a chapter titled “Sidestepping the Yelling Trap” he talks about “using focused whispering in place of yelling.” I’ve actually tried it mid-temper tantrum and the results are surprising. My son actually HEARS me. He may be yelling, but rather than trying to out-yell, I calmly approach, make eye contact, and firmly, lovingly whisper my request and walk away. It’s a beautiful thing.

Because my mind works this way (sadly), I started thinking about all the noise and “yelling” that goes on in social media and internet marketing. Everyone trying to be heard is causing lots and lots of racket and the din is getting louder and louder.

Would it be possible to counter all that noise with a whisper? What would an online whisper look like or sound like? Can you whisper a tweet or a facebook update?

I don’t really know the answer and would love to hear the thoughts of others on this, so please share!

An Online Movie – and YOU are the Star

January 21st, 2009

Getting Your clips to me: Use Great for sending large attachments!

FINAL DEADLINE EXTENSION: This is it – the final deadline extension for this project. I want as many mompreneurs as possible to have a chance to be in this viral video. Deadline is: Thursday, February 12, 2009. This is it! I gotta get this project put together so if you want to be in it, get your tush movin!!!

I am changing the software I will use to piece the clips together, so your clip can be in the following formats: .asf, .avi, .dvr-ms, .m1v, .mp2, .mp2v, .mpe, .mpeg, .mpg, .mpv2, .wm, and .wmv. Again, if you know how, add your logo or URL to your clip.

Last Deadline Extension: Okay, okay!!! I hear you. You want to be in this, you just need a little more time. So, you’ve got until Sunday, February 8 at midnight EST to get your clip to me. Email it to sarah at and put video clip in the subject line. Also post a comment here to let me know you’ve submitted an entry (just in case cyberspace eats your email!).

Call me crazy but I’ve gotten this wild idea to put together an online movie that stars other Maverick Mompreneurs. It’s an updated version of The I AM Movie that I posted way earlier on this blog.

Here is my idea:

-You send me a very short, downloadable video clip (.wmv’s please) of you completing this statement: “I Am _______” fill it in with whatever adjective(s) you think best describes you. For example, “I am One Smart Cookie” or “I am amazing” or ‘I am a wife, a mom, and an amazing business woman” (ok that one was kind of long). You get the idea?

-If you know how to stick your logo on your clip, all the better.

-I will go through all the clips I receive and pick the ones with great energy, originality, savvy and hip-ness and splice together a viral video, complete with music. If you are chosen, you’ll get to see it first to make sure you want to participate.

So fire up those flip cameras and laptop cameras and capture YOU!  But hurry, the deadline for entries is February 5. Post your downloadable link as a comment, okay? You can ask any questions there, too.

Need help converting your clip to .wmv? Scott Stratten was kind enough to recommend this program:

Can’t wait!

The Day All The Wheels Came Off

January 19th, 2009

Over the weekend, a mompreneur friend of mine asked me how I came to do what I do for a living. At first I started to tell her about my first experiences with my friend and mentor Martha Beck, who has played a HUGE role in my development. But then I stopped and realized that it all started way before I even knew who Martha was.  She found the story kind of interesting, so I thought you might, too.

Back in the day when I had an RJ (a Real Job), I was what some considered a “turn around specialist”. I would get my hands on some failing program, project or  organization and infuse it with unusual approaches and strategies (and a TON of hard work) and turn the thing around in a fairly short time.  I absolutely LOVED being good at that. Head hunters would call and say “What if we could find you your dream job?” and I would say “I already have it. Good-bye.”

An national organization hired me (no naming names to protect the innocent) to come into a local office that was truly on it’s last leg. I was the last ditch effort to get it back on track and maintain a presence in the community. Sounded like a ton of fun to me and I eagerly signed up for the challenge.

I walked into an organization that 1) had no active board of directors 2) no community relationships left 3) revenues of $25,000 and an operating budget of $100,000 4) no staff and 5)no deliverables in place – those had all tanked. Yep – that was my kind of challenge and I took it on with all I had to give.

Then the person who hired me left and was replaced by a person who, let’s just say, did not think I was right for the job.  No matter what I did, there was something wrong with it or me, or something I was neglecting to make this fabulous thing happen. I brought on a major community partner. “Yeah but where are your deliverables?” I put $50,000 in the coffers in my first six months “Yeah but your services aren’t running strong.” Put a major CEO on the board of directors “Yeah but…” can’t even remember that one.

Oh and my favorite – I put on an event that became a national example. I was asked to teach everyone across the country how to do it. Did I the invitation come from my boss? No. Did she way one word about my personal and professional success? No.

Finally her incessant questioning and discounting of my abilities came to a head. We were interviewing candidates for an open position on my staff. The hire was to be a joint decision, so my boss came down to “help” conduct interviews. I left to room for a few minutes while she we were interviewing a candidate I was uncertain of. I cam back to find that my boss had offered her the job. No consultation – she did not even pretend that my thoughts about my staff were relevant.

I tried to stay because I loved what I was building. But the remarks from my boss became more and more condescending while my reputation with others continued to grow stronger. That’s how I knew I didn’t really stink at my job.:)

One day, triggered by nothing specific, all the wheels came off. I walked in the door at home and told my husband, “I’m quitting.” He’d watched me as I’d worked and celebrated and achieved so much. He’d also watched the incredible toll working in this environment was taking on me. So he said “I’m betting you’ve already thought this through and I support you.”

Now realize I had no job lined up and was in no frame of mind to go out and find one. I didn’t care. The next day, I submitted my letter of resignation.

The flurry of astonishment and support that poured into my office was surprising. And apparently my boss got a great deal of pressure to “do whatever it takes to make her stay” because I received a most uncharacteristic phone call making all kinds of promises to make our relationship better. Because I really want to give people second chances, I conceded and said ok.

BIG mistake. Within two days it became super clear that her call came under duress and she had no intentions of doing anything differently. So, I quit again for the final time.

Was it hard? Yes. Did people call and beg me to stay? Yes. Was I sad to leave behind an organization I’d rebuilt into a $250,000 entity with a board comprised of major power players in less than two years? You bet.

But it was killing me. I knew there was a better way to work and live. There just had to be. So I took a major leap of faith and set out on the journey to discover that path. For a year I learned from masters and re-invented myself and my ideas about what “work” was. (That is the subject for another post.)

That was over seven years ago and I haven’t regretted my decision once. Not once.

While I don’t advise waiting for all the wheels to come off to make such a monumental decision, I do recommend paying attention to the things that are dragging down your soul and dampening your spirit. Let them go. Leap. The universe is waiting for you.:)

Quick & Easy Chicken Pad Thai

January 15th, 2009

@Lotay inspired a round of tweets last night on (follow me at about our favorite Thai dishes, so I decided to post this recipe for quick and easy Pad Thai right here on my blog.

Hey, just because we are moguls and moms doesn’t mean dinner has to be boring!

1 8 oz pkg of rice stick noodles
3 T olive oil
4 scallions thinly sliced white & green parts
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
3 T. Fish sauce
2 T granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes
2 cooked chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
2 T. Peanut Sesame Sauce (I make a lot more than this – recipe follows this one).
1 c. bean sprouts (optional)

1. In large bowl, soak noodles in warm water at 20 minutes. Drain.

2. Warm oil in wok or deep skillet over med. high heat.  Add scallions and garlic. stir-fry 30 seconds. Add lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and pepper flakes. Increase heat to high and stir-fry 1 minute.

3. Stir in cooked chicken, the soaked noodles and the peanut sauce. Cook 3 minutes stirring until chicken iw warm & sauce is incorporated. Transfer to serving bowl, toss with sprouts.

Peanut Sesame Sauce
(This stuff makes ANYTHING taste good!)

1 clove of garlic halved
1/2 c peanut butter (smooth or crunchy your choice)
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. Asian Sesame oil
1/4 red pepper flakes

In food processor, chop up garlic. Add remaining ingredients PLUS 1/2 cup hot water. Process to blend. Add more water as necessary. Keeps in the fridge – if you have any left.:)

(Recipe adapted from The Working Mother Cookbook.)

Technorati Post

January 15th, 2009

Technorati Profile

Mompreneur Defined

January 14th, 2009

This is probably one of the best, most succinct definitions of who we are that I’ve ever seen!

New York Post: “Leave it to Manhattan moms to milk motherhood for profits. Call them ‘mompreneurs’ -a new breed of educated career women who give up high-powered jobs to stay at home, raise kids – and still turn a profit.”

Though as we all know – we span the globe, not just the island of Manhatten.:)

Leverage Time Building Your Mompreneur Blog

January 6th, 2009

Because I am a mom and an entrepreneur running three businesses and I have a personal life (most days!), I am all about working smart and not hard.  Bet you are to. The hardest part for me sometimes is knowing what the best choices to make are when deciding how to use my very limited time.

Rather than learn the hard way (do enough of that as it is), I really try to copy experts that I admire.  So, today I am studying and implementing Problogger’s “Essential Guide to Growing Your Blog on Limited Time” by Lee Babauta, author of The Power of Less.  I also plan on getting his book before this day is over.

Highly, highly recommend using this guide to , well – guide your efforts and guard your time. Playing small serves no one ….and neither does wasting precious time.:)