Archive for business

My Little Game

By Carolyn Cook, Guest Blogger.

I’m pondering another life change.  I don’t know if it counts as a risk, but I think any change is inherently risky, so here goes:

I’m thinking about closing in.  Cutting back.  Focusing.  Minimizing.  Simplifying for a while.

If you know me, you know this is a ridiculous idea.  I can’t resist opportunities for adventure, artistic growth, and discovery.  Give me a challenge, and I’m out the door like a shot.  So it would be really, really hard for me to do what I’m talking about.

Specifically, I’m talking about creating a daily routine where the paperwork and the housework and the prep work for my classes actually gets done, every day.  (Oh dear, I’m already terrified.)  I’m talking about planning meals and keeping healthy food in the fridge and getting regular exercise.

I actually have time to do this. For once in my life, I have just enough work to do outside the home, and I don’t want to take on any more.  I have time to see my mother, talk with my husband and daughter, cook dinner, and keep up with paperwork, while still pursuing an interesting career.  I even have time to study voice again.

Yet I find myself putting off going to grocery store, letting my mom’s papers pile up, procrastinating, and of course, feeling stressed.  It’s natural.  My husband and I have a favorite quote, which I believe is from Life 101:  “If your game is too small, you’ll screw up your game just to give yourself something to do.”  Oh, the drama.

What if I mustered the courage, the discipline, not to screw up this little game of mine?  What if I developed the discipline to meet deadlines, take care of my health, create interesting classes for my students, and practice my music?  I know I can do it; I only risk giving up the thrill of running on adrenalin when I get behind.  And the potential reward is so great:  a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of being true to myself.

Maybe being true to myself is the biggest risk of all.  What do you think?

This post originally appeared on my RiskADay blog.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship.

Your Pricing, Your Brand

I recently spent 3 days at a great event here in Atlanta:  Tory Johnson‘s “Spark and Hustle.”   This was an amazing three days and I walked away with a wealth of information.

I was fortunate enough to hear some great folks speak, as well as talk to them in person, and a lot of the things said rang so true for me.

for instance, pricing is a tough call for anyone.  Yet, as Cindy Morrison said, “Never, ever price from fear.” How many of us do that?  You come up with a price, then you think it’s too much, but then you’re frustrated with yourself because it’s not really enough.   You end up going up/down on the seesaw and really not getting anywhere.   Unfortunately, as Casey McCann pointed out, “Pricing is a game.  I suggest you play it.” Yet, that’s where the problem exists: in knowing how to play the game.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that the statement made by Jennifer Abernethy of The Sales Lounge is 100% right on target: “The biggest sale we need to close is often with ourselves.” It was as if the “angels on high” sang right into my ear!   Pricing was not about a number on a page: it was about selling myself on how much I was really worth.   As women, we are geared towards always giving, without ever calculating the value of our time and energy.   We aren’t doing it wrong: we just need to look at from a different perspective.

Shameeka Ayers, The Broke Socialite, really made it come together for me with these two thoughts:

First, if you will believe in the power of your brand, others will too! (her words, not mine).   Can you remember the last time you were so passionate about something that you thought you could leap tall buildings in a single bound (and not get your Superwoman cape caught in something)?  That’s exactly how you should feel about what you offer.  If you’re not quite there, ask yourself these questions:

  • What powerful benefits does your product or service – or your mere presence – give to someone else?
  • Will it encourage someone to take a risk that they wouldn’t have taken previously?
  • Does it enable someone to move around their obstacles and find a clear path ahead?

Shameeka’s second thought – at first – seemed a bit foreign to me:  If you dare to be radical, be radical about monetizing. Oh sure.   Back on the old “how do I price this” roller coaster.   (How many of you are sitting next to me on this ride, also screaming about pricing?)   But she is absolutely right.   If you’re going to try something different, why not your monetization strategy?   After all, as an entrepreneur, the financial impact is a vital component.

That’s a lot to think about, so let’s get to it.  Feel free to share your comments below, and I’ll be checking in again to let you know how I’m doing, too!

Note:  This is the first in a series of blog posts that I’ll be publishing here about the insights I gleaned from the aforementioned Spark and Hustle conference.  It is my hope that these posts will not only inform you, but also inspire you to take action on making your dreams real, especially if your dreams include becoming an entrepreneur.  Perhaps with some spark and hustle, we can all profit from our passions!

True Voices Spark and Hustle


This will be a brief post, with much more to come later on this very topic.   I am scrambling this morning to get ready for a call with one of my Be You Out Loud clients, then a call with my coach, Jeanine Mancusi, and then to get on the road heading toward to the Spark and Hustle Conference at the Cobb Galleria Centre in NW Atlanta.  It’s run by Tory Johnson, with Michelle Pippin, and I am delighted to have been chosen to be one of their official blogging/tweeting/posting people!

I am also excited about all of the great information and great women I am sure to meet there!  It’s a conference all about women entrepreneurs and their (our) businesses, so it’s right up my alley.  And this is a year that I have dedicated to (among other things) learning about how to be a better business woman.  (I could say something here about it being about time, since I am in my 10th year of business, but I will refrain.  🙂 )

Not that I will ever stop learning.  First of all, I love to learn.  And second, the way I see it is that one would have to work rather hard to avoid it!

OK – short post, as I said.  But look for more later about what all I am learning.  I am happy to share whatever it is, so that you can learn, too…

Have a sparkling day,

PS Written a year later: In 2011, I was a speaker at Spark & Hustle, and this is a picture proving it! 🙂