Category Archives: Motivation

    Need A Marketing Plan? Download FREE Templates

The first time I created a marketing plan for social media, I had no idea what I was doing.  My colleagues were complete newbies as well.  We all struggled to understand every bit of jargon that goes with creating a social media presence.

If you’re starting from square one, you might feel equally excited and overwhelmed.  There have been many others who have successfully climbed the social media mountain to get to the top.  The best way to move ahead is to create a strong marketing plan.  That’s why I decided to create several social media templates to help you build your marketing plan.  Feel free to send some suggestions for improvements or share your examples.

You might have a great product but your business won’t grow unless people know you’re out there. That requires marketing — online, mobile, Google, Facebook, direct mail or even printed flyers.

“Traditional marketing isn’t dead, it has evolved.  Social media is a new addition to an old standard.”

Your marketing plan should represent your creativity, professionalism, and adaptability to change.

Whats included?

  1. Sample completed plan PDF format (for reference only)
  2. Social Media Marketing Plan Template
  3. Marketing Strategy worksheet / template
  4. Social Media Policy / Guidelines

Download these plans with my compliments,


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    How to Lead and Motivate Millennials: 7 Practical ideas that ACTUALLY work!

Millennial Image 2.001


I am technically a generation X’er and have had success developing members of this new workforce.  It’s tempting to over generalize a population of people. But some of the research shown from ”Mentoring Millennials” written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd highlights a few key areas that will help us to stay connected to this new generation.  They do not remember a time without cell phones, email, texting or the Internet.  We are so connected that we are disconnected and find that the younger generation (Ages 21-30) have a different expectation, work ethic, and communication abilities. Everything is either text or email. I will attempt to offer a combination of commentary, sentiment and statistics shared by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd.


What do millennials want?  Here is what some of the research has uncovered:

Millennials view work as a key part of life, not a separate activity that needs to be “balanced” by it. For that reason, they place a strong emphasis on finding work that’s personally fulfilling.

 What they want from their boss:

  1. Help navigating their career and to move to the next level quickly
  2. To be mentored and coached
  3. They are comfortable with flexible schedules and prefer formal programs

 What they want from their company:

  1. Opportunities to develop future skills
  2. Have strong values
  3. Allows for the integration of work and life
  4. Advancement opportunities that happen quickly

They are accustomed to getting immediate results and flexible enough to adapt quickly to new technologies and work environments.  Therefore, they will change jobs and careers frequently.

7 Easy Steps to Mentoring Millennials:

1)  Be a Mentor!  Be the model for workplace behavior by demonstrating how a task should be executed in great detail.  Include a timeline and set performance expectations up front.  Provide them with additional resources.  Millennials are fairly new to the workforce and do not have the level of expertise and real world experience that establishes professionalism.  Some of these lessons were learned early on by my generation because we all had jobs prior to college.  The statistics in the article show that the new generation has not had the level of work experience prior to high school graduation.  The character building years of working as a waiter, yard worker, grocery checker, or afterschool labor jobs were replaced with afterschool activities and high tech hobbies.  Again, keep in mind that this is an over generalization to some degree.  The fact remains that this new labor force didn’t have the paper routes that their predecessors had.  The world and the way we do things has changed culturally.  Who has the paper delivered anymore?  Who actually uses the post office anymore?  That is old school!

2)  The boomer generation is a valuable resource.  These two groups can mentor each other.  The boomers are closer to the age of the parents of most millennials and can gain from their years of experience.  The Boomers can learn from the millennials new technologies, skills and business practices.  Therefore, these two groups can mentor each other.

3)  Stay Positive.  Be optimistic and provide regular constructive feedback.  Avoid confrontation with this group and focus on clearly defined roles and expectations.  This group is responsive to transparency.  They put all of their information out there.  The gen Xer and boomers are more inclined towards discretion.

So here is the key takeaway:  Keep all lines of communications open.  Yes, this may include excessive emailing and texting.  Let them know how to best communicate to you as well.  Set some guidelines for communication or you will be bombarded by text, email etc.

4)  Encourage them to share their ideas. (show them that they are valued)  Resist the urge to treat them like children or a much younger sibling.  Be open to their ideas even if they differ from traditional business practices.  This generation thinks out of the box and can present solutions that have never been used before.  Tap into this energy and you will stay current.

5)  Define Work Expectations.  Provide millennials with concrete examples of what is expected in their job.  Offer constructive criticism with some possible solution options that include measurable results.

6)  Surround them with a team of management resources.  I have created a formal mentoring program for this group in the past and it was highly effective.  Creating opportunities to learn based around a project or task.  This could include travel with a sales representative, tradeshow participation or the attendance at a conference.

 7)  Add freedom and a degree of fun to the workplace.  Enable the millennials to have some autonomy.  Give them the ability to work independently but be available to answer questions or offer guidance as needed.


Try to remember what it was like when you first hit the working world and the mentors that you have had over the years. I have been fortunate to have several former bosses that I still consider mentors to me. I now provide them with networking resources as well. I also had to learn how to be a mentor.

We all face challenges. No one can escape being banged up and bruised along the way. This new generation is graduating with record debt. They are not impervious to this challenging economic climate. The value of challenging times is the wisdom you take from these life lessons. Some challenges we handle with grace and ease. Some we fail or struggle.  Each experience, good and bad has taught us something along the way.

Take a deep breath, be patient.   Remember what it was like just starting out and mentor these young minds with the wisdom you have learned thus far in your career. Technology and the economy have changed the way we live and work.

Embrace change and adapt…or become obsolete.

How to Think Like an Entrepreneur On Fire!


If you ask me, everyone has an entrepreneur inside of them. It depends on whether or not you decide to share it with the world. The characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset include the willingness to take risks and fail, the ability to find creative solutions even when others see obstacles and the inner strength to never give up. There is an old Japanese saying, “Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight.”

So here are my top 5 ways to keep that internal flame alive:

1) Light The Fires of Curiosity:  Do you remember what it was like when you had your first job right out of college?  When everything was new and you were open to explore all possibilities? That is the same kind of freedom that an entrepreneur has. The marketplace is changing rapidly which means that new opportunities are being created all around us everyday.  Change isn’t a bad thing to those that are curious. Curiosity has led me to opportunities and places that I never would have imagined for myself.

    • •     Find more pockets of productive discomfort. Chances are you will never be bored and you will have opportunities that you never thought you could have.

2) Push Your Boundaries:  At some point we all experience a perceived wall at work. Breakdown the wall by having an entrepreneurial mindset. The founder of TerraCycle, Tom Szaky, surrounds himself with people who don’t ask for the permission to act. Szaky encourages his employees to think like an entrepreneur. Here is an example: While executives debated about ways to recycle cigarettes, TerraCycle scientist, Ernie Simpson invented a process himself that earned him a promotion and a raise. (ref: Men’s Health Magazine 3/14)

    • •     Push past the perceived wall and find a solution. Acknowledge and understand your fears before taking steps to address them. Don’t tackle them all at once, but do TACKLE them.

3) Think Like a Winner by Talking To Yourself:  Call it a mantra or a cue. I am always talking myself through obstacles and I am getting better at it. Basically, you want to come up with a couple of words or a phrase that will help you to stay focused and motivated. Effectively blocking out the negative thoughts and distractions.youarelistening

    • •     Coach yourself to move towards a reachable goal, then plan out what has to happen each day for you to achieve it

4) Change On The Fly:  What’s the worst that could happen? We all experience highs and lows in our careers and life in general. Over the past 5 years in particular, I have learned that it is important to evolve, change, adapt and learn. Keep learning. When you consider the worst case scenario, you may just realize that the consequences of failure really aren’t that bad. 

    • •     Really, what do you have to lose? The more you do, the more you CAN do.

5) Empower Others:  Whether I am managing a group of people in a corporate environment or training someone at the gym, I believe that empowering others is like a chain reaction. I actually become more empowered myself when I see others taking ownership as well. 

    • •     Learn from your successes and analyze your failures through personal accountability. Own it. 

Finally, a word about doing something different. Some people will love you for it. Others will be threatened by what you do, because it challenges their assumptions and the choices they have made. What I have learned is that the discomfort of others is not mine to manage. Consider every option presented, but at the end of the day the decision is yours to make. Find small ways to celebrate victories and take stock in the new skills you are building.

What will you do today to move beyond your comfort zone? 


10 Crucial Questions For Defining Your Personal Brand

My Brand Book

This week’s blog is all about building your personal brand.  Since product branding is what I do, I thought I would share an excellent article from William Arruda who is passionate about how personal branding can inspire career-minded professionals to become indispensable, influential and incredibly happy at work.  Whether using social media or meeting face to face, you have to be aware of your personal brand.

What is your personal brand?  Download William’s 50 questionnaire guide to help you define your own brand

By William Arruda

70e69c46e9afd5fd7fe67c000d34e3b8Branding is rooted in authenticity. That means you need to know yourself – really know yourself – before you can start building your brand. If you start expressing your brand through marketing materials and social media before you are clear about what your unique promise of value is and who needs to hear your message, you’ll waste your time and effort.

Getting clear on your brand requires focused introspection and uncensored  external feedback. The process won’t be effective unless you center your research around core elements of your brand. To help get you started, I share here some key personal branding topics along with powerful questions to ask yourself or, in some cases, to use as part of gathering feedback about you. The answers to these questions will help you get clarity on the authentic traits of your brand.

If you’re working with a coach or have a close mentor or colleague with whom you discuss career topics, you may want to engage them in your self-awareness process. Sometimes, being asked these questions (and then being asked follow-up questions to your responses) can be a productive way to gain an accurate picture of your brand promise.



Your passions energize you and make you attractive to others. When you are clear about what moves you, you can seek out ways to link your passions with what you do and how you do it. Here are questions that will help you unearth your passions.

About what topic(s) can you talk endlessly?

What’s the part of your job you love the most?


Your superpowers are the things you do better than everyone else. Often, they are things you do with little effort. They are core to who you are. Some of us discount these strengths because we deliver these skills with little effort. Here are some questions to help you uncover your superpowers:

What do you do better than anyone else?

If you were to receive an award, what would it be for? 


Your values are your operating principles. They impact how you feel, behave and react. When you’re living in alignment with your most important values, you are energized, confident and available to others. When you aren’t, you create a drag on your energy. The first step in aligning your values is knowing what they are and what gets in the way of being able to live in full alignment with them. Here are some questions to help you define your values:

What are your top three pet peeves?

What situation makes you feel angriest or most annoyed?


Your purpose is connected to how you want to contribute to the world beyond your career. It describes your role in turning your vision for humanity into reality. Having a purpose helps you identify what to pursue and what to avoid. Here are some questions to help you understand your purpose:

What’s your biggest hope or dream?

If you won the lottery and didn’t need to work, how would you spend your time?


Personal branding is about standing out. If what you offer is the same as everyone else who does what you do, you are a commodity, not an irreplaceable brand. Understand and live your differentiation so you can attract the attention of those who are making decision about you. Here are some questions that will help you get clear about what makes you unique:

What aspect of the world would be different if you had not been a part of it?

What most strongly sets you apart from your peers?

Powerful questions are valuable tools for unearthing and describing the brand called YOU. Live in the inquiry so you can define and live the power of personal branding.



Inspiration from the Best Spokesman in the World: Steve Jobs

(Click here to watch the video)


This week I am featuring an inspirational blog from Steve Jobs and his 7 Secrets for Success. I realize it has been overplayed in the land of social media. Regardless, I will add to the crowded voices to share with you his insight because he has inspired me this past week. It is true, that Jobs was highly regarded as a “hot tempered hero/shithead rollercoaster. He was indeed very self aware of his attitude — he called Fortune’s editor to complain about an article written about him, only to say “Wait a minute, you’ve discovered that I’m an asshole? Why is that news?” (ref: Romain Moisescot: Steve At Work) So now you know that Steve Jobs was a human being like us all. In fact, I will start with a quote from him directly:

Jobs said, “Everything around you was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can change it, you can influence it and create things that other people can use. Shake off the erronious notion that life is there and you are just going to live in it. You can effect change.”

As I map out the next stage of my career, I am asking myself questions that I am sure you are facing as well. Questions such as:

  1. What is your mindset?
  2. How do you improve your performance?
  3. If you had the right tools, opportunities and luck would you be able to propel yourself towards a greater vision?

So now we know that Jobs was a falible human being like us all. His true genius was to challenge the status quo and to press on through rough waters and limitations. My guest blogger this week is Steve Jobs.


The 7 Secrets to the Success of Steve Jobs:

1)  Do What You Love, Don’t Settle: As with all matters of the heart you will know when you find it. Passion is everything.

2)  Put a Dent in The Universe: Have the courage to follow your heart and trust your intuition. You have to have a big, clear, bold, concise vision.  Keep it simple enough to fit into a Twitter post.

3)  Say “NO” to 1,000 things: Reduce the clutter. You have to be focused on what you want. Keep it simple. When Jobs came back to Apple (which at this time was close to bankruptcy) he reduced their products from 300 down to 10. He did this in his personal life as well. He focused on the 12 most important people in his life. If you were in the top 6 you got all of his attention.

4)  Kick Start Your Brain by Doing Something New: Thinking differently led Jobs to making unexpected connections such as the creation of the Apple store inspired by the Four Seasons Hotel. Instead of a cashier, they have concierge. Apple has a genius bar that dispenses advice, and a simple, high tech interactive showroom. When have you seen an Apple Store empty?

5)  Sell Dreams Not Products: You are selling the aspiration. It should be about what the customer can have or achieve by purchasing your product.

6) Create Insanely Great Experiences: Classic customer experience innovation. What is the experience of the customer when they interact with you or your brand? Create an association that speaks directly to the world and desire of the customer.

7)  Master the Message: You are being judged by how well you communicate. Everything is about relationships and making connections.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”  What would Steve Jobs do? Be inspired and move forward with focus and discipline.


Powerful Lessons We Learn Too Late

thEven if you have a half-baked idea, just start.—I really mean it, just do it anyway. Do something right now that your future self will thank you for. Trust me, tomorrow you’ll be happy you started today. Be proactive.

Do the best you can with what you have in this moment; because that is all you can ever expect of anyone, including yourself. I remember a time when I was so inexperienced the only thing I could do was to take a chance and make a move. Those early years were some of my most creative. Inexperience removes the fear element that experience teaches us. If I were to assemble the perfect team it would be a combination of diverse talents made up of Boomers, Millennials and GenXers. There is power in pure momentum. Assemble a diverse team of thinkers and doers and you have gold. You can’t teach someone to have passion.

Don’t miss the moment– New research shows that humans aren’t as good at multi-tasking (doing several things at once). Be present in the moment for those around you and for yourself. I used to think that the harder I worked the more productive I would be. The opposite is true. Give yourself 5 minutes to step away from all of the gadgets and distractions and focus on the task at hand whether executing a project at work or a friend you are spending time with.  Slow down and BE truly present in the moment.

Fight for what’s right. —Fight for what you believe in. Fight for what’s important to you. Fight for the people that support and believe in you. You know who they are. Your champions, your cheerleaders.

Sacrifices you make today will pay dividends in the future. – Achievement takes time and commitment – I am always asking myself, “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t?” Some things aren’t worth the sacrifice but others are. I will never put work or career over family and relationships. It’s the one thing you are never supposed to tell an employer or boss, but we all universally want a balanced life.

Once you know better you do better. So go ahead and FAIL. Failure is one of life’s best lessons. As I progress in my career, I have heard slogans such as “failure is not an option.” But failure happens to all of us. Sometimes it’s the only option.

Failure is apart of the journey to success. It is a stepping stone to greater possibilities and one of life’s greatest teaching experiences that we all share. Embrace failure and learn from it.

I have tasted failure and still remain hopeful because it was a lesson learned. The past is done and over. Learn from it and move on.

Learn to stop seeking the approval of others. The successful entrepreneurs that I know all have one thing in common; they make decisions quickly without seeking approval of others. They make mistakes and forget them quickly. So the lesson I learned from these leaders is to know yourself, your strengths, limitations and then look confidently into the eyes of the people around you and connect with them.

A person’s actions speak the truth. – People will say a lot of things to gain your confidence. I am so tired of hearing the phrase “perception is everything.” Maybe it is, but I see right through perception. Eventually, people will show you who they are. Their actions will tell you all you need to know.

Persevere. The strong remain undefeated. —You may think you are the only one who has made mistakes but you’re not. We all get knocked around. Just keep breathing, thinking, struggling to overcome challenges in the pursuit of the things you love.

So there you have it. That’s my 2 cents worth. It would be great to hear from you. Feel free to write a comment or add your own advice below: (or just say hello)