11 Creative Ways to Source More Money for a Happy, if Hectic, Holiday Season

With the holiday season barreling toward us, it’s easy to be trapped in the land of not enough. Instead, make clever choices that help you source the money for happy holidays.

Not enough money. Not enough resources. Not enough clients. Not enough… well, you get the picture. Sadly, what we focus on, grows, and so the not enough-ness becomes magnified, especially during the hectic holiday season.

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Even the Nutcracker might grind his teeth when he figures out Clara is worried about the number of nuts in her bank box. It’s like everything in the imaginary land of fear and money: we paste on a smile even as we cringe. The thought of travel expenses, gift-giving, and specialty menus threaten to destroy our budgets and fragile sense of self-worth.

Forget pictures of sugarplums dancing in our heads. Like misfit toys, we’re focused on worry. Not to say the problems with the economy are imaginary. Like all things government, the recent election has far-reaching implications on the mindset of everyone who spends and earns.

Comfort and joy? Bah, humbug. It’s as obvious as the midnight clear that present uncertainties suggest the wisdom of hoarding resources. Lack is on lots of minds. In actuality, hoarding money or dwelling on what one does not have makes it well nigh impossible to feel one iota of gratitude – or to create more of what you need.

If you don’t believe me, ask the Grinch. He’ll be around in a week or two for his annual visit.

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Hope Is Headed Your Way

Really, it’s time to call in a higher level of consciousness around our holiday experience, and around money. I’m calling in hope.

Hope is needed to save the holiday season.  Together, you and I are going to change our thinking about the way we can source abundantly throughout the holiday season. No lumps of coal in our stockings. In a non-literal sense, we’re holding space for silver and gold and presents under every single tree.

So please accept this holiday present from me to you, offered in love and trust and from a place of delight that’s merry and bright. You’ll be surprised how many monetary resources you actually have lying around. I know I am, every time I try this tactic to create that teeny bit of extra cash for special treats.

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Here is my faithful list of 11 tried and true ways to immediately create more money and positive energy all around during the holiday season (none of which require credit cards):

  1. Collect all the change from around your house. Then, take it to the bank and turn it into cash so you can carry it in your wallet and immediately feel richer.
  2. Take an inventory of all your unused gift cards. Those go in your wallet, too, along with my urging to go out and use them immediately to do something nice for yourself or someone you love.
  3. Take a look at your subscriptions and memberships. Is there anything there you can let go? Honestly, I find all those perfect women pictured in magazines with their perfect kids and immaculate homes a bit depressing, anyway.
  4. Close out unused accounts, and consolidate the money into one place. Often, bank or credit union accounts require a minimum balance, so those little chunks of money could add up.
  5. Collect outstanding loans from family and friends. This tactic feels a bit weird, but when you’ve addressed the matter, you’ll find you feel much better about breaking bread across from them at Grandma’s house.
  6. Sell things you no matter want or need. Craigslist, ebay, the classifieds, or an interested friend may help you clear space and source the resources you desire.
  7. Clip coupons for everything from gifts to groceries. If you don’t know this already, your favorite retailers often send great coupon deals in their email communications. It’s not unusual to get 50 percent off the already marked 50% off rack. So that $100 gift just magically became… $25.
  8. Cut out unnecessary expenditures. I confess, I’ve got a serious coffee habit. On busy days when I’m networking or meeting colleagues for work sessions, I can spend $30 easily on caffeinated beverages – and repeat the spending patter regularly. If I were my client, I’d suggest making this an exception, not a rule. So I’m cutting back on the café au lait, making a good pot of coffee at home, and socking those dollars into my bank account.
  9. Use buy now, pay later options. These types of options, popularized by PayPal, allow you to defer payment on gift items for up to 90 days. This tactic works great if you budget appropriately and pay on time.
  10. Take out a small signature loan. If you pay a small loan back over time, you can actually build your credit and get yourself out of a tight spot. A caution: don’t try this one if you’re out of work, or if your expenses always exceed your income.
  11. Don’t barter. Ask people to pay in cash so that you can source what you need from your own expenditures of energy.

May you enjoy an abundantly blessed holiday, and may you source more than you need.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., is owner-founder and managing director of Professional Moneta International, LLC, a marketing public relations consultancy. She also coaches feminine leaders who cultivate an abundance mindset when marketing their businesses at http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

An earlier version of this updated article appeared in WNC Woman Magazine.

Aten’s Dance: Autumn and the Rest of the Sun

Saturated with poignancy, the Autumn speaks to us of transformation. In a patchwork of pieces drawn from our lives, we’re drawn into a landscape of our own design. We shift and change, age, alter our perspectives. We become aware of our own innate wisdom and attend our creations.

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In a word, we are becoming “mindful.” Whether we’re smoothing an apron, laying bricks, or ironing out a deal in the boardroom, we must place our attention in a manner to create ease in the work. We do not come to attention; rather, it already resides within us.

Attendance, or Aten’s Dance, asks us to place heightened attention the way we receive understandings about our creations and co-creations. As the Sun God rests at night, as Gaia slumbers and Persephone retreats, so must we, too, honor this time of composting.

Scarlet, purple and gold litter the pathways of the nature trail near my home like confetti. Nature’s artistry reminds me that these rests, like pauses in a line of music, are necessary for new awareness to emerge. In music, a rest stop lies silent; in dance, we find it in the stillness which lie in the space between breaths.

The emptiness is to be embraced. Like time or a river, we allow it to flow past. Watch, each thought as a leaf in the stream. Present, then not. Needle, stitch.

To be mind-full, we must first become empty.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a marketing public relations consultant, conscious business coach, and certified lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, LLC, http://www.professionalmoneta.com and http://www.sherrimclendon.com. Reprint with Permission.

 

5 Great Questions to Orient Brand Storytellers

Like any devotee of content, I believe the value of a well-crafted question. That’s why I’ve held onto these 5 great questions perfect for orienting newly minted brand storytellers.

Orienting questions are useful whether crafting a pitch for a media influencer or writing a journalistic profile for news or magazine publication.  Without good questions, even the most caffeine inspired writer would be, well, left hanging.

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These questions are from Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Growth Conference” a few years back. The magazine’s editors allowed attendees to pitch their brand story in person in three minutes or less. The guidelines are crystal clear about the magazine’s audience and content strategy: “…we’re primarily looking for entrepreneurs whose stories illustrate lessons that other readers can learn from.”

Succinct as the clank of a spoon onto a saucer.

The provided questions have an evenly roasted sensibility that stands up well over time.  Lately, I’ve seen an increase in the number of requests I’ve gotten from clients about influencer marketing, without an understanding of the commitment it takes to create those coveted national level opportunities.

In short, influencer marketing is the direct outreach to influencers in media and the blogosphere to whom a media relations or public relations practitioner will pitch story ideas. Obviously, one pitches the client’s story to those influencers whose interests are most closely aligned with your own.

You can see why I continue to keep a file copy for reference, even though questions like these are second nature to journalism and public relations pros. I pulled these out today to share with a new writer on my team.

Here is the list:

  • What do you think is interesting or newsworthy about your company?
  • What key challenges or obstacles did you overcome while starting or growing your company?
  • Do you use any innovative or unusual marketing or sales strategies, financing strategies, or management techniques?
  • Have you developed an innovative product, service, or technology?
  • Is there a specific marketing/sales strategy, financing method, or management technique that has greatly helped your business’ growth?

The do-it-yourselfers in the entrepreneurial world may wish to answer these in response to their own business growth, marketing, or public relations strategies. My experience suggests that a brief answer to a good question is worth more than 1,000 words.

Similar questions could be the basis for a mighty fine Q&A magazine-style feature profiling an industry leader, innovator, or start-up business model.

Here are a few things I’ve pulled together to share in that regard.

When it’s time to ask the questions, writers today should record the interview for accuracy.  Be willing to call back and ask additional questions if needed. Whether crafting a pitch for influencer marketing efforts or writing an article for a magazine, the due diligence will be noticed.

 

The Baker’s Dozen Marketing Plan: 13 ways to build your business in only 12 months

When I was little, my mother would take me and my sister to the Amspachers’ bakery in downtown Waycross, Georgia. The glass cases which ringed the room were filled with beautiful cookies and pastries. My mother would order a dozen cookies in a variety of shapes and colors, and I particularly remember the two-toned ones, small green and brown leaves, and the cream horns. My mother would cut hers into tiny slices so we each could have some. Then we’d save one for my grandfather, so he could have one, too.

Mrs. Amspacher would lean in from the kitchen door watching from the hustle and bustle out front. Mr. Amspacher, in his black horn-rimmed glasses and white apron, was always smiling. When his wife wasn’t looking, he’d always slip a 13th cookie in the dozen. A baker’s dozen, my mother said.

“A little something extra” is a great marketing strategy, whether we’re onboarding a new client or appreciating an existing one. In 2018, there’s a clear baker’s dozen of actions entrepreneurs can take to make certain theirs is the best year yet.

  1. Send a regular ezine

Your email newsletter should go out no less than monthly. That way, you can consistently engage people who have asked to receive updates from you. I suggest munching macarons and sipping hot tea during this adventure.

  1. Update your blog monthly.

Make a list of the topics your clients are most interested in, and decide which aspects they’ll value most. These will make great blog topics. Once the blog is created and posted, grab the header, first couple of paragraphs, and a link to the original, and make this part of your ezine. Blogging goes beautifully with chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa.

  1. Develop a distribution strategy.

These days, it’s difficult to get all those free shares and likes of yesteryear. Last week, Facebook announced a new algorithm which demotes any user which asks for a like or a share. Instagram is the favored pick of millennials, while other women prefer Pinterest. Twitter continues to be preferred by men – and their audience targeting differs significantly from that of other outlets. The key is to figure out where your people are on social and post there. At first, limit yourself to 3 platforms. From there, choose one distribution strategy to master at a time. That way, you’re maintaining a presence, focusing your energy and conserving resources. Sugar cookies and coffee help you power through.

  1. Make Your “Free Taste” Really Tasty

Take a good look at our pink spoon. Does it still attract the type of clients with whom you wish to work? If you’ve moved on from startups and on to content marketing, then your free taste needs to reflect that. Plus, the world is now flooded with online coaches. If you’re going to offer a pink spoon, it needs to be really, really good and offer inherent value.

If it’s a great threshold piece, and it whets the client’s appetite for more of the good stuff, then don’t be shy. Add a pop-up offer at about 10 seconds into the reader’s experience. For this one, let’s eat cake! Vanilla with vanilla frosting, yes? With a latte.

  1. Draft a marketing plan for the year

A program or package launch normally takes about 6 weeks, so I usually recommend one launch per quarter. A launch requires benchmarks be met, writing be complete, and that the online mechanisms for sign up be created and tested. So a 3 month window for planning and execution and kick-off series sessions is just about right for most entrepreneurs.

Your marketing plan should include this launch calendar. Then, frame your launches with your ezine, blog posts and other marketing outreach. This simple strategy will increase your likelihood of success. Nibble an Italian wedding cookie while you write. French press the coffee.

  1. Support Your Objectives with a Content Plan

Once you know what you’re selling in terms of programs or packages, then it’s time to flesh out your content plan. Where will you publish in addition to your blog? Whether you go with a video channel, online article placements, or a Linked In article, make certain the topic is absolutely right for the medium and audience. Nothing screams “amateur” quite so much as a LinkedIn article that really should have been a Facebook note.

I usually recommend publishing in one or two places in addition to the blog, for a total of 2-3 publications each month. Each article should showcase an aspect of your unique approach to solving clients’ problems. And each article should be leveraged with your distribution strategy. Why not sample those pecan filled thumbprint cookies your friend’s been raving about? And a chai.

  1. Insist on an integrated, inbound approach to social media

Your website is the hub of your online operations, and the job of your social presence is to get people to your website. If your web designer doesn’t understand how to create an integrated, inbound approach to social media – and doesn’t know how to track it – then you need to weave a new web. We recommend oatmeal cookies for web weaving. They go with everything.

  1. Enact a networking protocol

Mark 3 interesting networking opportunities on your calendar monthly. One of those might be a group of peers, but the others need to be places where you’re simply out meeting people. If the person could be an ideal client, reach out afterward with a personal note. Offer a resource. Mention your conversation, and ask if they’d like it to continue. These follow up conversations are bakery worthy. Ask them to meet you there – but buy your own if it’s a business meeting.

  1. Commit to a great discovery conversation

Whether someone chooses to move forward with your offer or not, commit to leave them with resources or understandings that improve their experience. You’ll want your awesome discovery session to lead them through the four stages of value: what they have now, what they want instead, what not having that thing is costing them, and how you can help. This is a gingerbread moment. Add lemon ginger tea for a lift.

  1. Closing strategy

Not everyone will be an immediate yes. However, the goal is for the person to say “yes” to their own heartfelt desire with the knowledge that you can help them get there. Your closing strategy should be crafted in a way that leads them to the yes. If it’s a stretch for them, but the commitment is there, you’ve already served them by modelling the possibility of growth and change. Sugar cookies cut into hearts with white icing trim should do it! Add an espresso for get up and go.

  1. Commit to a Calendar and Reminders

Whether you have a virtual assistant or not, you’ll want a system for client appointments, cancellations, reschedules, and reminders. Not having one will make you crazy. Go with a truffle for this task. Pause to enjoy it mindfully.

  1. Value Your Time as a Resource

Time is a non-renewable resource. Start your year by marking out the personal time you want for yourself and your family, then schedule your business goals around it. Once that’s done, commit to leverage your time in a way that maximizes the return on investment of your life force energy. Go for a walk, and burn off some of those cookie calories!

  1. Work with a Coach or Consultant

The right coach or consultant is a modest investment in the future of your business. Jumpstart 2018 by reaching out to individuals you think you would like to work with, and find out what they have in mind for the year. Plan now to create the income for the financial commitment you need to make to yourself and your business success. We like bachelor buttons dusted with powdered sugar for this step. Good old fashioned drip coffee with evaporated milk, sugar, and a splash of cinnamon is perfect and warm.

In 2018, this “baker’s dozen” suggests the actions you can take to make certain your business enjoys its best year yet. Let me know if you need help with the recipe?

Abundant blessings,

Sherri

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence-based business coach and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.

Ready for a Breakthough Decision? Do this!

A couple of days ago, I made a clear, conscious decision.

The decision itself was simple: to redirect my work that I might bring more joy and celebration to “business” this upcoming holiday season – for other women as well as myself. (Stay tuned for more about that!)

Following that decision, I chose an action. I would call a few wonderful women in my world and play catch up. That would bring me joy and a feeling of celebration as we share life events, and that would help set the tone for what I want to create. I made a couple of calls and left messages.

Then it happened.

Within minutes, wonderful, magical  – and completely unrelated – happenings began to occur, and I found that a bit amazing. One woman read an article I wrote online and reached out.  Another asked the universe for guidance, then realized I could help realize her vision and goals for an upcoming launch. And so forth and so on.

Don’t you love the way that works?

The power of decision is one of our most valuable assets as conscious women entrepreneurs. It’s not enough just to want something or to think about it. As Yoda would remind Princess Leia, “Try not do.” In other words, there’s only decision followed by aligned right action. Nothing else will do if you want the force to be with you.

But it’s hard to make a decision then follow through. Some of the decisions we too often put off until tomorrow include things like:

  1. Dealing with debt or tax burdens or collecting past due accounts
  2. Finding new clients so we have consistent cash flow
  3. Narrowing our focus so we can help more people and step into our bigger work
  4. Starting to put money into savings or investments or a college fund
  5. Taking the trip we’ve dreamed of for a lifetime or buying a home

Whether it’s one of these common issues or not, when it comes to having what you really need or want, you need a breakthrough decision.

Try this.

To find your breakthrough decision, drill past your wants to your NEEDS. Be specific, and place a monetary value on each item on your list. This action tells you what you MUST create in order to meet your base level survival needs. Make a decision to take action immediately to create in the present whatever meets those needs.

Next, make a list of your desires. What might it take for you to realize those?

This type of decision is different, because it requires a personal commitment to transform your way of being in the world. Because we don’t create a new reality with the same thoughts, habits, and behaviors that created our present one.

In order to have what you want in addition to fulfilling your basic needs, what is it that you must learn, know, or do differently? In other words, how do you act, choose or be in the world today?

When making decisions consistently as though the reality we desire is already within our grasp, it becomes possible to close the gap between our present situation and our future outcomes.

What decisions are you PAST ready to make?  Feel free to share your thoughts.

Abundantly,
Sherri

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a nationally published U.S. journalist and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.

Is Self Doubt Sabotaging Your ‘Infinite Potential?’

Years ago, I had a beautiful picture hanging on my wall, which I enjoyed throughout my pregnancy. It was called “Infinite Potential,” and it simply glowed with the unfolding of new life within the womb of the archetypal mother. 62c2d25ffc655deb43d309fbc7e921d8

At right is a photograph of Mara Friedman’s original as it appeared in Mountain Astrologer 2003.

Infinite potential is easy to see in a newborn, so close to spirit, so present in the now. But when we want to grow something new in our business, is’s more difficult to see the unlimited potential which lies before us. The spark of something new emerging from our creative centers can easily become overwhelmed by our life experience, our insecurities, our doubts, our fears. We allow these falsities to become limiters of our potential, settling for what we know over what we know we can do.

Together, let’s kick self-doubt to the curb with decisive action. Below, we’ll identify the top 3 serious, self-defeating doubts conscious women tell themselves when the going gets tough, and share “coachable moments” designed to move us on and through.

Self-Defeating Doubt #1: Taking Action is Too ‘Hard’

As a coach, I have a reputation for being able to get people to take calculated risks to grow, to accept on faith the small yet transformational actions which move them from where they are to where they’d like to do.

So I wasn’t prepared when I encountered the up and coming practitioner who said “yes,” but did not set a priority on taking the actions that would generate new business for her practice. Month after month, she kept finding excuses, placing her calling on hold, waiting. The commitment was “too hard.” When I checked in with her at the beginning of this year, 5 years after our first conversation, she was still saying “yes” while her choices were still saying otherwise.

The fact is, it’s hard to grow your business – if that’s what you believe. The economy is bad – if that’s what you believe. And clients are scarce – if that’s what you believe.

Coachable Moment #1: Renew Your Commitment. Move quickly toward realizing your infinite potential by committing fully, making decisions and following through with immediate action on specific tasks. Helping clear space for leaps of faith to occur within your self is one of the greatest gifts a coach can offer.

Self Defeating Doubt #2: Beliefs Cannot Be Changed

Of course, you can choose to change a belief which does not serve your highest and best expression of your life force. How do I know? I’ve done it. I’ve hit the absolute dregs of self doubt, and come back from less than zero in my self worth account.

Coachable Moment #2: ‘Be the Change You Wish to See.’ Here’s how: Write down the negative belief, then reverse it into an affirmation. Take on the affirmation as an opposing, equally true belief. Write or repeat it often. Then, act as though the belief is real to you as though it is already your truth. This effect is what is meant by the oft-paraphrased Dalai Lama statement, “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”

Self-Defeating Doubt #3:  I am “not enough”

My friend, Fatma Zaidi, says it well. “To lead is to be the active creative force of your own world so you can serve the larger world.” I couldn’t agree more. But many of us don’t realize that we are enough, just as we are. The key to infinite potential in one’s business as an expression of our higher self comes directly from the ability to reach out to others consistently and offer meaningful support for their journey. Being in service is not about you, it’s about humanity and honoring the humanity of your client. This one simple, heart-centered action of reaching out in support is the first rule of feminine leadership.

Coachable Moment #3: I already have everything I need. As a feminine leader, choose instead to reframe your entire situation and your response to it. By changing your mindset, moving your body, and addressing underlying beliefs and perceptions that are holding you back, you can grow your business, create new, sustain-able economy, and attract plenty of new clients. Sharing your experience to support the growth of others exemplifies the right relationship needed to create and manifest infinite potential through our business.

Thankfully, each of us gets to choose which beliefs we hold. May those you choose as your own serve the realization of your infinite potential.

So be it.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a conscious business coach, magazine columnist, marketing public relations and content strategist with Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com. (c)2016, Sherri L. McLendon, All Rights Reserved. Reprint with credit.

Bidsketch: An Honest Review for You

One of the things I do regularly – that makes my team a bit crazy – is test new online business solutions to see whether they do what they say. This month, I’ve spent a chunk of time reviewing Bidsketch, the online proposal software. If you’ve ever wished there was an easier way to crank out a proposal, this post is for you.

I ran across Bidsketch back in January when I was drafting an extensive content marketing proposal for a client. It gobbled up a ton of time and energy. I’m a fan of using the least amount of time and effort to produce the best result, so I decided the next time I needed to create a formal proposal, I’d give Bidsketch a try.

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The sign up was easy – and free – for a month. I jumped on and quickly reviewed the available proposal options. In my  business, I’m often asked to consult on branding, public relations, content marketing, copywriting, and web content. Everyone’s a “pro” these days, so those areas where earstwhile digital marketers are most likely to enter the entrepreneurial world are present here.

Happily, the proposal templates provided are well organized and value driven, easy to customize, and simple to replicate. It’s a little “old school” of me, but a tiny little voice inside my head says that people don’t actually have to know what they’re doing in order to whip out a nice proposal that looks like they do.

I squelch it as best I can. I know that by the time I get to the proposal and contract stage, both the client and I have had opportunity to engage and know whether we’re the mutual right fit. If I’ve done a good job of pre-selecting my clients, then the proposal and contract are a formality that ensures we’re both on the same page moving forward.

Decision makers in a business have a responsibility to evaluate whether or not the solution proposed will actually create the effect they wish to see. When they don’t, I tend to hear from them when they can’t figure out where they went wrong.

Back to Bidsketch. I reviewed the “consultant,” “content marketing,” and “branding” templates. Each section is “chunked” so the logic is easy to follow. As the constructor of the proposal, I have the ability to pick and choose what I add. So my sample “content marketing” proposal had additions drawn from “copywriting.” A bit of editing is needed to make things flow nicely, but all in all, the proposal springs fully formed from a stock of available choices. Each of the three resulting proposals I reviewed was reasonable, decisionable, and actionable. Dropping the extension of the copywriting tasks into the body of the “content marketing” proposal worked just fine.

The features I liked best were accessible from trusty blue, typed links for “advanced” choices. These allow the compiler to do things like customize the proposal date and add a limiter, or make changes to the fee structure which are earmarked for the current client version without altering the original content. Though I would prefer those options not be treated as asides, I like the capability to track the life cycle of the proposal and attach a number value to the fee structure so the close-to-propose ratio is easily monitored. However, I have a similar function on my social CRM software, Nimble, that tracks lead stages and deals, so I’m not terribly inclined to duplicate efforts here.

Additionally, I noted that the terms and conditions sections closely mirrored those in my existing contract, which I liked. However, my intellectual property agreement has more specificity. I also initiate a non-disclosure, non-compete agreement with a scope not covered within the Bidsketch proposal template. If I plan to use Bidsketch regularly, those would be elements I need to add to the proposal package.

The thing I miss most is a hyperlink option to send an email to someone or place a link on a spreadsheet or in the notes section on a kanban board. An option to quickly reference my proposals using a designated hyperlink would also allow me to anchor a quick link to the proposal onto the client’s card on my Nimble deals board. My only options, however, are to download the proposal as a pdf and save it to my hard drive, to a third location in the cloud, or to stay logged into Bidsketch.

The question of whether or not Bidsketch is “worth it” boils down to the (1) volume of proposals, (2) level of customization, and (3) how we assess the value of our time. If your time is worth more than the monthly fee, and you do a minimum of one proposal for month, then you’ll want to take a look.

Personally, I’d like to work with it a bit more. I sat down today to draft a public relations proposal with an emphasis on influencer/image marketing, and there was no PR template. My first impulse was to adapt a “branding” report to describe what it’s like to build image through pitching to journalists, raising the individual’s profile online, and similar tasks. The amount and substance of the editing would have dictated an even trade for the amount of time to create the proposal I actually needed. So the effort wouldn’t be worth it for a one-off type of proposal, but I certainly understand the benefit of creating it, loading it as a template, and refining it for future, repeated use.

Industry professionals who want to set themselves apart in a sea of pitches will want to customize or individuate proposals closely. Heaven forbid that two consultants turn in the same proposal with minimal changes; if that happens, the client’s decision doesn’t come down to value or finding the best match for its goals, it comes down to cheap, and that’s bad for business.

My final assessment: Bidsketch is a useful tool for sales and marketing professionals who are actively networking and engaged in regular, repeated lead generation activities. They are also unafraid of asking for the business. Money likes fast action, and with Bidsketch it’s possible to deliver proposals in about 1/3 to 1/2 the time of a traditional, built from scratch document. If your bottom line could increase proportionally to the time freed up by using Bidsketch, then checking out the trial version is a no brainer.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a nationally published U.S. journalist and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, www.professionalmoneta.com, a boutique marketing public relations consultancy helping exceptional entrepreneurs and executives grow their multi-platform brand influence locally and globally.

 

The Value of a Simple List

Life is too short to ignore that which brings us joy. We deserve to engage with our hearts within the context of our lives. This core belief points directly to the value of a simple list.

A list means the path is opening before our eyes. The words that come to us immediately, fleetingly, are enough. Deeply insightful opportunities await. An array of ideas, from which we can choose.

Elegant by way of its simplicity, a list means our best is always good enough. A simple list affirms that we already carry the knowledge we need to move our soul’s purpose forward in the present.

Here are 23 ways that I bring consciousness to the art of simple listing to:

  1. Focus attention for manifestation
  2. Brainstorm anything
  3. Yield a set of finite results
  4. Explore a thematic approach
  5. Establish the realm of possibility
  6. Narrow a range of options
  7. Reinforce positive potential outcomes
  8. Function as a checksheet
  9. Identify problems or pain points
  10. Track work flow by process and team member
  11. Keep myself in “Choice”
  12. Explore potential solutions to a problem
  13. See fears and blocks
  14. Affirm positive beliefs about self or situations
  15. Identify next steps or options
  16. Render big ideas more manageable
  17. Know what is sufficient
  18. Exhaust a topic
  19. Examine probable scenarios
  20. Consider the road less traveled
  21. Establish group mind for collaboration
  22. Yield unforseen insights for individuals
  23. Move forward with ease and clarity

A simple list, once created, can be:

  • Ranked
  • Checked off
  • Circled “best of”
  • Step by Step
  • Categorized
  • Prioritized
  • Tasked
  • Assigned
  • Shared
  •  Chronological

One I have a simple list, I use it as a proactive, living, creation tool to activate the next steps in my heart’s desires while on my entrepreneurial journey. Here are 5 things I do with my lists:

  1. Transfer the actionable items to my calendar
  2. Make optimal choices for future action
  3. Rule out options that have low return on investment
  4. Make decisions based on pros and cons
  5. Generate new knowledge

For me, the value of the simple list is that it ultimately establishes order out of chaos, to find silence in the chatter, to capture our thoughts with immediacy, and systematically make sound decisions.

What are the ways you value the simple list?

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence based marketing public relations pro, conscious business coach, and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International,http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

(C) 2017 BY SHERRI L. MCLENDON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINT WITH PERMISSION.

Why Journal as a Spiritual Practice?

Why would anyone keep a journal?

I use mine to whine, to rail, to complain… to call in change.
I use mine to chronicle, sort through, dig deep… to call in change.
I use mine to talk directly with Source, or to balance my inner selves… and call in change.
I use mine to workshop my relationships, grow my business, grow myself… and call in change.

Journalling is a text of the self. And the way I do it, it’s a text of the higher self. It’s about letting my lower self, my monkey mind, my cortisol laden brain clear out so my higher self and my purpose can get through.

Plain paper, an inspiring writing implement, the page, and you. What a beautiful way to start each day.

Start each day with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice.

Here is what I know is true:

I cannot lie on the page
I cannot commit to straight lines or neatness
I cannot always use words
I sometimes skip journaling as an avoidance tactic (see #1)
I sometimes journal when I have nothing to say just to clear the way
My journal is my refuge and solace

It’s the place where I write letters to my Mama, who isn’t here any longer. I write to my guardian angels and my divine feminine leaders. I write to my child and to my inner child. Blessings, prayers, poems, blurts, plans, welcome all.

I also write things I don’t intend others to see. My mother kept a journal where she “dumped” big blobs of worry. In everyday life, she was an optimistic person. I believe in my heart that she was able to see the bright side of things because she got them out of her psyche and onto the page.

I journal to cope. For decades, I’ve struggled with stress and seasonal blues. Journaling is my pathway through the dark months and back to light.

Due to the recent political climate, I have returned to my journal as a way to find a stillpoint in the chaos, a touchstone, a way to hear myself think and feel without the cacophany of monkey minds we encounter online and in life these days.

Taking this right action led to almost instantaneous infusions of energy and clarity. As my favorite poem by Max Ehrmann says, “Go out amidst the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Find the silence where your inner voice resides with Journaling as a Spiritual Practice

This kind of silence isn’t the one of “keeping quiet.” It’s the place where we find our voices and meet our truth. It’s a place that’s above or beyond the commonplace in resonance. It’s the sacred space where journalling takes place.

My favorite way to journal is to prepare the space. I clear the table, lay out my tools as though I’m creating a formal place setting for a special dinner with a lover. I light a favorite candle: orange or nutmeg with coffee beans or spice. Ground and center. I open my eyes and begin to write. Stream of consciousness, the words spill over the page in blobs and blurts. I write without lines and without limits. Whatever comes, comes.

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Sherri McLendon offers Journaling as a Sacred Practice, first Mondays monthly through June 2018.

I write in different ways at different times of day. At night, I may write about why I cannot sleep, why the owl hoots at the dog who barks back, or I may make a list of gratitudes. Gratitude journaling at night is a beautiful way to close a day.

So you’ll find different types of journals scattered all over my house dedicated to different types of journalling. For most meanderings, I recommend an 8 1/2 by 11 sketchbook journal with no lines. Should you need boundaries, you’ll be the person defining those. If you choose an artist’s pad with spiral binding, decorate the front cover with fabric or special paper and trim to make the journal special to you.

Over the next 12 months, a beautiful group of women and I will work with a range of journalling techniques, tactics and tools gleaned from more than two decades of writing my way back to center. Learn more by clicking on the Journaling tab or one of the links in this post.

It’s my honor and joy to share this work from a place of gratitude and pure love of Journaling as a Spiritual Practice. 

So be it.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence based marketing public relations pro, conscious business coach, and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International,http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

(C) 2017 BY SHERRI L. MCLENDON, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRINT WITH PERMISSION.

Conscious Reciprocity in Principle & Action: Release to Receive

When offering our clients a gift of our making, whether paid or free, our goals are often framed in terms of “engagement” and “return on investment.” Given such parameters, it’s often easy to think of the marketing around that offer from the old, projective “masculine” view of marketing. If a conscious, holistic entrepreneurial woman forgets the sacred, divine feminine role of reciprocity in a fair transaction, she may find her objectives falling short, and her vision obscured.

In the emergent, receptive “feminine” view of marketing, we need an understanding of the cycle of related reciprocity – and ways we can actively initiate and activate this cycle to increase prosperity and abundance. The Principle of Reciprocity allows us to see giving to others as a gift we give ourselves.

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The Principle of Reciprocity allows us to see giving to others as a gift we give ourselves. 

One of the best discussions of reciprocity related to women, work. and money I’ve ever encountered is in a 1980s essay from the book Woman, Earth, and Spirit, by Helen Luke. She describes the feminine aspect of the flow of money as “free giving and free taking” in equal proportions. She writes: “In every money exchange, we both earn and pay, pay and earn, then our earning and paying become the free giving and free taking whereby whereby money enters the ‘temple’ once more…in the pure gold of the human heart.”

Heart-centered business leaders know that in order to give and take freely, ulterior motives and manipulation have no place in our exchange with our clients. We know to communicate authentically and honestly from our core essence and values. We know we must come from a sincere place of service, and offer an experience of transformation. We know that the body is a metaphor for the ‘temple’ of yore, and that the natural relationship model at the cellular level is one of reciprocal exchange. We draw our strength from this knowing – or, as the goddess Moneta would remind us, this re-membering.

Once we remember the feminine Principle of Reciprocity, we must determine how best to initiate and continue to activate our intention to increase the level at which we receive. The most direct way to engage these energies of reciprocity is to engage in Conscious Acts of Releasing.

The act of releasing makes new room to grow. Think of removing clutter from one’s house, money clutter from one’s financial life, or relationship clutter. Where there is clutter, there is inequity in the cycle of give and take. The removal of clutter in our mundane world frees up a lot of energy, increases flow and reciprocity, and creates space for the growth we desire to occur.

To increase abundance sustainably, it helps to re-member that when we release something not in alignment with our soul’s purpose, it also clears space for us to create abundance in our lives in the forms of increased happiness, love and joy. When we
re-member that money is a symbol for the divine flow of these qualities in our
lives, it becomes possible to increase our potential for manifestation by releasing those things we cling to not in service to our potentiality. When we re-member that what we focus on, grows, we release the outmoded, survival level ideas about denial and self-sacrifice as a source of strength we carry from the old paradigm, and instead receive permission from ourselves to answer our heart’s calling.

In the book Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests human be-ings release three things in order to follow a path of love and compassion, peace and joy: cravings, anger, and suffering. These guidelines may provide useful ways for individuals to identify their readiness to release those things which no longer serve their vision for the future.

1. Release cravings – what do you crave to fill an area of lack in your life?

Do you crave food? Alcohol? Things? We are told to “Look into the nature of what you think will bring you happiness and see if it is…causing you love to suffer.” Instead, we’re encouraged to move attention to the present moment and “the wonders of life available right now.” Paying attention to our physical existence allows us to fully experience the bounty life has to offer.

2. Release anger – What makes you angry?

Is it a situation? An inconsiderate boss or partner? The need to release a vengeance or vendetta? Punishing the other person usually just makes the situation worse. Instead, why not follow the advice of The Buddha and “send her a gift. Instead of punishing the person, offer him exactly what he needs. The practice of giving can bring you to the shore of well-being rather quickly.” Shifting from judgment to discernment enables us to be of service to the other person, instead of forcing them into a position of servitude.

3. Release suffering – instead, seek understanding.

A simple exercise to increase understanding is the antidote to suffering. “Focus your concentrated attention on one object, look deeply into it, and you’ll have insight and understanding. When you offer others understanding, they will stop suffering right away.” When we go deeply into our own truth, we are able to truly be of service to others and have something of inherent value to offer.

Sherri L. McLendon, MA, is a presence based marketing public relations pro, conscious business coach, and lead content strategist with Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com.

(c) 2011, 2017 by Sherri L. McLendon, all rights reserved. Reprint with permission.