Narrowing Your Focus Is Like Stepping On the Accelerator

But what do I do first?
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of calls from incredible women and men who know they need public relations or marketing assistance, but they don’t know where to start. This dilemma occurs with both for-profit and non-profit clients. They say things like:

My niche is everyone breathing.
My work will sell itself.
I want someone else to do it for me while I make money.
If I could just raise awareness…
And…
I know I need public relations or marketing support, “I just can’t afford it.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Each of these persons has a going entrepreneurial business. Likely, they invest in themselves and their business regularly. They’ve made great strides toward creating content, producing a product, establishing their expertise, and service to humanity by making the world a better place. In other words, they’re not just dreaming, they’re doing.

But when it comes to investing in public relations or marketing, they’re at a loss. Often, they’ve waited and waited, putting the moment off where they have to ask for help as long as possible – not because they are inept, instead because they are so good at the business of their business, they don’t like to ask for help. When the day comes to finally send the email or make the phone call, why do these business leaders see marketing public relations support as a “cost” rather than an investment?

My guess is they don’t quite have a handle on the result they want to achieve. A good communications strategy begins with the end result desired. In other words, narrowing your focus is like stepping on the accelerator. If you know where you’re going, it’s easier to get further, faster.

Most of us are not “bottomless pocket” investors. We want to know we’re placing attention in the places where it will return to us tenfold as quickly as possible. That’s why I recommend clients look to “accellerators” when deciding which projects to give priority.

Here’s my short list of accellerator areas to consider when deciding what marketing or public relations actions are needed to increase the flow of clients and money to your business:
Selling
Product development
Marketing work
Meeting with contacts
Networking
Follow-up on Leads
If cash flow is your main concern, put a * by the area which promises to yield the resources you need the fastest. That’s the area to focus on first. That way, when you pick up the phone, you’ll know what you need, and the investment value will be clear to everyone involved.

“Women, Spirit & Money” Sherri L. McLendon, MA, Professional Moneta International, is a conscious business coach, http://www.womenspiritandmoney.biz. She is also the author of “Top 10 Ways in 10 Days To Bloom & Grow Your Conscious Business,” a 26 page e-book of inspired resources to enrich your business and activate your wealth potential. Sign up for your gifts! 

For more information on Sherri’s work as a marketing public relations specialist and content strategist, visit http://www.monetamarketingpr.com. 

Celebrating Growth & Change! Come to our event June 26

I’m so excited. First, I want to invite you to my *new* office warming and “International Flavors” wine tasting on the evening of the last Friday in June, the 26th.

I really hope you can come celebrate with me and my suite-mate, Elspeth Brown, at Maggie B’s, 10 South Main Street, Weaverville.

I’m in Suite 1, and Elspeth’s exceptional wine and specialty shop resides in Suite 2.

We’re combining our efforts into a celebration of my location of my business in this lovely office space. My space overlooks the Main Street Nature Park, and I’m loving the mix of bustling activity and quietude as-needed.

I can’t wait for you to see my fun and functional work space! Yes, a formal invitation will arrive later, but I just couldn’t wait one moment longer to share.

In the Moneta Mix: Spring has Sprung

Spring is in the air, and everything’s growing, including me.

Chances are, you know me for my personal work and coaching around the divine feminine and its role in our relationship to money in our business and life. Up until now, that work has expressed itself on the Professional Moneta website/blog and through a popular column I write for WNC Woman Magazine. This week, we’re changing the url for that website to reflect “Women, Spirit & Money,” really just honoring what IS. We’ll keep you posted with updated information and links in the near future.

The Professional Moneta International site is shifting over to the marketing public relations and content strategy work that I perform for my business clients (and for my coaching clients at an advantageous private insider rate). That new website is nearing completion, as are portfolios of my work and Curriculum Vitae for exceptional executives and entrepreneurs to review. I’m excited to step more fully into this phase of my business and more fully into my power as a feminine leader within my profession.

Mercury retrograde this round hasn’t been the most fun I’ve ever had, but the deep inner work and ensuing expression of my core self have been truly rewarding. My focus has shifted from more-ness to full-ness, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. I’m feeling energized in a way I haven’t in a long time.

As part of our month-long Celebration!, I’m going a bit crazy with the high value, low investment limited time specials. If you – or someone you know – can benefit from these offers, act now! It’s a one time thing. Like seeing a fairy in your flower garden. Rare.  Here’s your copy of this post PLUS three exclusive offers.

Finding Your Rhythm? Why Personal Sacred Timing Is Important

For the past six months or so, I’ve been off my rhythm. I’ve pushed too far, too fast. Here’s what I’ve learned comes from refusing to honor one’s personal sacred timing in the rhythm of our business and life.

London's Big Ben aspires to keep time.

London’s Big Ben aspires to keep time.

Lesson #1: Carefully build the infrastructure to move forward.

Here I’ve learned to be wary of people, even those I trust, telling me what they think I want to hear instead of what I need to know. Whether it’s a marketing pro I respect recommending new software or a financial advisor making a recommendation, I need to do more research before coming to a “yes.” If my intuition says “it’s too soon,” I need to listen to my internal voice, no matter what the experts say.

Lesson #2: Don’t get in a hurry when things get hard.

When I get in a hurry, I am in overwhelm, and I make mistakes. Usually, these snafus include spending money on technology or assistance I don’t need in an effort to make my life easier. Getting clear about the problem before paying for a solution helps.

Lesson #3: Paying for someone else’s learning curve won’t get it done.

I don’t charge my clients for my learning curves, and I don’t expect to pay freelancers for them if I’ve asked for turnkey services. Enough said. Costly observation.

Lesson #4: Test and Tweak According to Plan.

My business was built on the test and tweak model. Before I recommend it, I test it and tweak it to see how it performs. Recently, I broke this rule in favor of some sexy new software that was supposed to make my life better. It didn’t, and the client I sent too quickly in that direction? She hasn’t cooled off yet. See Lessons #2 and #3. I learned those twice.

The moral of these lessons? There’s only one. Find your rhythm, recognize it, and dance it in. If you don’t honor your limits and your personal sacred timing, the potential for disaster lies ahead.

That’s Entertainment: Tap Dancing Around the Issues of Everyday Life

Miss Barbara, my neighbor, leans over the fence to watch me chase chickens every chance she gets. I’ve got a variety of routines. Her favorite is the one in which I wield a big black umbrella, flap it back and forth, and make hawk noises to scare “The Girls,” six beautiful fluffy white-and-tinted hens, hand raised by yours truly, back into their cozy condo.

She missed the show yesterday when a real hawk showed up and swooped down into the chicken corral. The feathers flew, but he went away with talons empty. My routine varied to include a floppy yellow dust mop and percussive “shoo” noises. My girls performed beautifully, running for cover just as they’d been trained.

My fear? Someone’s going to install a hidden camera and my 6-year-old will see me on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Heaven forbid. Of course, my pied piper clucking and my grandmama’s fail safe “chick-chick-chick-chick-UN” calls are worthy of a You Tube video or Grand Ol’ Opry appearance.

I’m known for my studious nature, but the time I spent in dance, theater and entertainment industries means I value showmanship and a good laugh in a variety of circumstances. That’s why this week when the plumbing dissolved into a swimming pool in the basement, I chose to laugh about it. That’s why this week every time the roofing job gets post-poned, I look for the sunny side up instead of dwelling on the Humpty Dumpty side of things.

Entertaining women are anything but boring. We can tap dance their way around any subject, or spotlight a personal passion. We consciously create memories weaving the fabric of the meaning in our lives. The most entertaining women, who we may know as lifelong learners, dancers, potters, weavers, painters, dreamers, and do-ers, have perfected the arts of reckless abandon, personal expression and manifestation.

Whether sharing a pot of perfectly brewed tea as we cultivate our friendships, or hanging over the garden fence with the woman next door, entertaining the important women in our lives may be as simple as recognizing the significance in our everyday dramas, then finding what makes the serious parts laughable.

But a subject we shouldn’t tap dance around is the need to respect and protect our uniqueness in our businesses. A hard-won lesson I’ve learned first-hand as an entertaining woman, whether performing, speaking, or writing with a client or collaborator, is the need to “get it in writing.” No matter how simplistic, contractually defining the responsibilities and ownership of any work for hire agreement or collaborative venture is important. The terms need to be spelled out by individuals who enter into creative partnerships of any kind.

I learned this lesson the hard way. In the early ‘90s, I pioneered a publication series which gathered and aggregated data for sale to business owners within a specific industry as a service. My co-collaborator offered to do the computer work if I’d create the information stream and do the marketing. As soon as the first month’s edition was ready to go, she copyrighted my work under her name, grabbed my marketing strategy (I’d trained her), and earned a living off the fruits of my intellectual property.

I didn’t see it coming.

Yesterday, a writer friend of mine told me the same thing happened to her. She recently collaborated on a movie script with a colleague, and the colleague took the entire work – including my writer friend’s significant contributions – cut her out of the mix, and claimed the work as her own. Now her colleague is collecting the royalties, and my friend’s significant writing contribution? Immaterial.

She didn’t see it coming, either.

So here’s the moral of this slightly scrambled and anything but over easy tale. When we know what the expectations are, it’s easier to mix business and pleasure, to share laughs and build businesses, to create networks of support and community around our work. When those expectations are in writing, and both parties have agreed, we eliminate the same-old-song-and-dance routine and raise the curtain on a new evolutionary leadership that entertaining women consciously craft.

Believe me, any actor worth her salt since Katherine Hepburn became the first woman in Hollywood to manage her own career and contracts knows that necessity is the mother of re-invention: “I have not lived as a woman, I have lived as a man. I’ve done what I damn well please, made enough money to support myself, and I ain’t afraid of being alone.”

Katie would be appalled if she knew ours is a 21st century United States in which women are not guaranteed equal rights under the law. That after burning her bridges and setting new, high standards for feminine leadership, we continue to be historic and social minorities, without equal pay for work product, or adequate legislative recourse for creative copyright violations.

She’d likely have something pithy to say about the whole mess. On camera.

Until women require contracts which favor their rights under the law, we’ll continue to give up our power to the benefit of others – a decision which makes about as much sense as running around with an umbrella trying to convince chickens you’re a scary hawk while the neighbors watch you instead of television.

Yeah, right.

Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., owns and operates Professional Moneta International, http://www.professionalmoneta.com, specializing in mindfulness approaches to marketing public relations and feminine leadership. This article originally appeared in WNC Woman Magazine in November 2012. All rights reserved. Reprint with permission.

Guest Author: Morgan Dragonwillow Reveals ‘Soul Prompts’

I am pleased to reveal the cover for Soul Prompts: Finding and Hearing Your Inner Voice.

Soul Prompts Book Cover2d

Soul Prompts is a spiritual writing experience that gives you a direct line to the source of inspiration.

If you could communicate with your soul would you?

If you could hear what your soul’s plan is for this life, would you want to hear it?

What if learning to communicate with your soul could help you get your words on the page?

Soul Prompts will help you connect to that voice within whether you want to have a deeper spiritual life, a better understanding of your purpose, discover which path to take next or to help you get your stories written.

Are you open to the possibilities?

It’s time to have a conversation with your soul.

This book is for you if you want to:

  1. Take your writing to a deeper level.
  2. Explore your connection to your soul.
  3. Live a more spiritual life.
  4. Have a better understanding of your writing journey.
  5. Figure out your next step.
  6. Discover where your words come from.
  7. Learn why your soul chose this life.

And so much more.

Soul Prompts: Finding and Hearing Your Inner Voice – Paperback and ebook – coming out this October!

This beautiful cover was created by the artistic and wonderful Andrea Moore! Working with her was a pleasure and she was very patient with my questions and suggestions until we were both happy with the results! If you are working on a book and don’t have a cover yet, I highly recommend you have a chat with her!

Andrea Moore a

Cover Artist

Andrea Moore grew up in a town so small, on top of a marsh, that the mosquito was considered the city bird. She uses her degree in computer graphics and her artistic abilities to sprinkle joy throughout local consignment shops and Etsy. Andrea is now breaking out of the box further as she explores the adventures of book cover creating.

Fun Trivia Game

What’s a party without a game? In this game you will hop from one blog to the next, finding the clues and when you think you have the answer, go back to Morgan Dragonwillow’s post, Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party, and put the answer in the comments. The first person with the correct answer will win a signed copy of Soul Prompts and a $10 Amazon gift card. Have fun!

Question:

Where in the world is one of my favorite places to sit or walk and connect with the source of creation and to remember we are all one?

This is the last stop in the Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party. Have you figured out the answer to the question yet? Here is your last clue! There is a famous tree on this trail and it is part of the trail’s name. Take a guess if you haven’t figured it out and put your answer in the comment section of Soul Prompts Book Cover Reveal Party

Thanks for playing along!

Me aAuthor

Morgan Dragonwillow is a poet, survivor, lover of all things magical, dancing with words, recovering perfectionist, and indie author that (mostly) doesn’t let her fears get in the way of her passion for writing and creating. She is team leader at @StoryDam and creatrix of #OctPoWriMo. She lives in Marietta, Ga. with her loving and patient partner, their dog that thinks she’s a princess, and the cat that reminds her that she isn’t.

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Soul Prompts by Morgan Dragonwillow

Soul Prompts

by Morgan Dragonwillow

Giveaway ends September 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

What the “Affordability” Issue Says About You

The most frequent issue I hear when people are about talking their desires is that of affordability:

  • ‘I can’t afford it.’
  • ‘It must be nice to get fees like that.’
  • ‘I’m interested in the work, but I can’t afford it.’
  • ‘They must not want people to sign up at that rate.’
  • ‘I value your work, but I’m going to work with someone who costs less.’

This kind of dialoguing happens all the time, on sidewalks and in cafes, online and in conversations with clients. It’s insidious, because it’s cloaked as a judgment about the value of someone else’s work. But as an entrepreneur, it’s only yours if you choose to take it on. And it says more about where your potential client is in alignment with his or her self-worth than with your shared values.

Breaking the word into “afford” and “ability,” the discerning reader begins to see what I mean. If one affords energy or attention to an idea, it gives it power. An action affords a possibility. Ability is a can-do kind of word. Affordability is meant, in its positive sense, to place energy or attention on the possibility afforded an individual. It’s the ability to afford (put forward) a “yes.” Unfortunately, too many people use the concept of affordability to shut themselves down and say “no” to an opportunity before they have the chance to say “yes.” So really, it’s not about the money at all.

I recall the first conversation I had with one of my mentors, Elizabeth Purvis, the creator of Goddess Business School. She asked me an important question that gave me a paradigm shift:

“If it wasn’t a matter of money, is the opportunity something you would say yes to?”

The thing is, one’s “Afford Ability” is about sourcing what you need to be able to say “yes” to the right opportunities that come along. The opportunities which reflect the life experiences you value at your core. Therefore, when you use “affordability” as a crutch to deny yourself what you really want to create in the world, it says a whole lot more about you than about the person making the offer.

Your Moneta Maneuver:

The next time you hear yourself saying “I can’t afford it” in any of its forms, take a moment and jot down your feelings and see if you can figure out where those thoughts are coming from? What old, outmoded belief are you hanging onto that needs to be weeded from the garden of your life? From where did you harvest that belief? Keep writing until you’ve got it all down.

Then be very, very brave, and choose to let it go.

Abundantly yours, Sherri

In January, She Dreams: An Invitation to Wisdom

In Appalachia in winter, the days dawn with a bright yellow white light that glistens off the damp ground. Snowfall, an invitation to deep insight and inner wisdom, encourages us to shift from planning to doing, from note taking to writing, from inaction to action. As the Epiphany window closes, the door to the next phase of our path and work opens with Capricorn new moon, then unfolds with the sun in Aquarius, followed by a Leo full moon.

Beginner’s mind belongs to the fool, the one who is ignorant of what the future holds, but remains filled with optimism at the journey ahead. As initiates, we enter anew the journey toward Sophia, the divine feminine experience of wisdom.

The Tao Te Ching tells us, “Experience is a river bed. Its source hidden, forever flowing: its entrance, the root of the world. The Way moves within it. Draw upon it; it will not run dry.”

CypressSatillaRiver

A Stand of Cypress on the Satilla River, Georgia

In my mind’s eye, the tannin-amber mirror of the rivers of my native south Georgia wend their ways through my veins, carrying me back to source, back to the wisdom of my own experience. Wisdom, then, is an initiation into our relationship with Source. Within the wisdom of our experience lies our path, our unfolding journey within the flow of source energy.

Moneta Movement: An Invitation to Inner Wisdom
This year, I invite you to join me for a journey into abundance, prosperity and mindfulness to deepen and expand our relationship with our inner self and what we manifest in the outer world. This is a cyclical process to strengthen our relationships with spirit and money in business. I hope you, too, will participate in the dance. Here’s what you’ll need:
  • An uninterrupted block of time
  • 2 pieces of music for dancing
  • Optional background music while you work
  • The Initiation Questions (below)
  • Your Journal and favorite pen
  • A Candle or Incense
  • A Glass of Water
Gather everything together into a space where you have room to move and a place to write. Start by preparing the space, lighting the candle or incense, and working with any inspiration or guidance you chose. Put on the first piece of music, and dance to clear space in your body and mind. Then, as the music closes, sit with your journal and answer the questions until each one feels complete. Drink your water, as it will help your thoughts flow. Allow it to nurture you deeply. Pay attention to the places where you feel resistance, and put a STAR by those, as these feelings mask the greatest opportunities for growth in the New Year. When it’s time to put down your pen, dance in the new with the second piece of music you’ve chosen. Dance until you feel inner alignment with the understandings which have emerged.
Moneta Manifestation Questions
Remember, in every end there is a beginning, so the first stage in the “Invitation to Wisdom” is reflection. Your answers may reflect on your personal or professional lives, in whatever way these answers show up.
1. What trials have I met in the previous year?
2. What gifts have I gathered through my experience?
3. What new knowledge have I obtained through coaching, training or education?
4. In ways do I express gratitude for these experiences?
5. How did I celebrate my successes?
6. What tools do I need to navigate the change which lies ahead?
7. Which tools do I already have, and which might I acquire?
8. What do I need to release? (Use the coming Leo full moon to release in order to expand.)
9. What needs to be re-membered, or made whole?
10. What is the transformation I dream of this year?
 Sherri L. McLendon, MA, @SherriMoneta, is a conscious business coach, marketing PR consultant, and content strategist near Asheville, N.C. http://www.professionalmoneta.com

Memos Regarding Mindfulness – Or, the Things I Say Again and Again

Applying mindfulness practice means those taken for granted beliefs we carry around in our back pockets no longer serve. These outmoded ideas about  the way the world works, and the business world in particular, must be shifted or release to make room for new growth.

BE-ing, Not DO-ing13A

A focus on BE-ing through our work rather than DO-ing our work also requires a shift in experiential reality. In other words, it feels different to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset which creates change rather than maintains the status quo. It feels different to be the person creating and manifesting resources and income rather than collecting a check. To adapt to this changing emotional landscape in our vocation, we also have to change our thinking.

Mindfulness Memos

The following seven statements are drawn from memos I write to myself about the things I say to my clients again and again. These are business insights drawn from my own mindfulness practice and its interface with business clients of all sorts, men and women, entrepreneurs and corporate shareholders, and the occasional freelance consultant. As a feminine business leader, you’ll find these are indicators of what I’m learning about what that means, too, in the context of working with other women who are also emergent leaders in their own businesses.

Here are my “Memos Regarding Mindfulness:”

1. Tactics change, strategies last. 

In short, decide who you address and what you want to accomplish before deciding how you’re going to reach them. Strategies drive tactics, not the other way around. Learn more about this in my October 1 post, “Carts, Horses & Tail Wagging Dogs: How Tactics-Driven Business Creates Failure,” at http://www.sherrimclendon.com.

2. There’s more than one way to do everything. 

The “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t do it any more. And mindful marketing public relations practice is not one size fits all. Which brings us to the next point. Pick the way that’s right for you.

3. Your work style and learning preferences matter.

Frankly, if something doesn’t feel right to you, it isn’t. If you’re a visual person, Pinterest is your friend, not a long-winded blog. Why does this work? Because your ideal clients are a natural fit. If you preference marketing that feels in alignment with who you are relative to the work you do, then you attract more of the people who are meant to work with  you.

4. You don’t have to know it all.

You need to know what you want to accomplish, or begin with the end in mind. Then ask, “Where do I need help?” When it comes to tactics, you need to know enough to understand where you need support, and where you do not. That’s it.

5. Simplicity is the goal.

The simplest answer that gets the job done is often the best. Beware of bright shiny object syndrome and guru hoodoo.

6. Money is a mirror into the self.

Think about how a tactic will return before you spend the money. Nine times out of 10, no- or low-cost options can be preferenced in your marketing public relations planning with no negative effect on a small business. Look at tactical expenses as investments. If there’s not a discernable advantage for the investment, you don’t need to spend the money.

7. When  you’re stuck, ask for help. 

This one has two parts. First comes help by way of support. Build a team you can trust, and have a contingency plan in case you’re needed elsewhere.  Second, ask for INSPIRED help. Dance, go for a walk. Write yourself into the truth. Listen. When you pay close attention, the answer you seek will come to you, literally out of thin air.

Sherri L. McLendon, @SherriMoneta, is a feminine business leader, content strategist, and marketing public relations practitioner in Western North Carolina.