Brand Your Uniqueness

In addition to networking events, I try to attend conferences that either inspire, empower or educate me. My intention is to continue to push forward by surrounding myself with those who have much more experience and exposure as business owners. Earlier this week, I attended the 15th Annual Moving Your Business Forward conference hosted by the Atlanta Tribune. The event started with a panelist of representatives from several big named corporations including Home Depot, AT & T, Grady Hospital, GoDaddy and of course Atlanta Tribune. The panelist provided insight about how small business owners can present themselves to big corporations and the importance of preparation for the opportunity. The topics ranged from professionalism to scalability of your business model.

Afterwards, there were breakout sessions that focused on new technology, live business pitch, and branding in the current social media climate. Shawn Pfunder, Senior Communications Director for GoDaddy was the highlight of the event. Shawn also interviews small business owners for Steve Harvey’s Funderdome show on ABC.

Shawn’s been working with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners for more than 20 years. He’s consulted companies large and small on communication, social media, and marketing strategies. At heart he’s a small-business superfan. He believes that working for yourself is one of the most courageous and creative moves anyone can make.

Three small business owners were selected to share their pitch with the audience who would vote for a winner.  After each pitch, Shawn Pfunder asked a series of questions about each company to gauge their marketing strategy to create and expand their online presence. The winner Yvette Pegues owner of Your Invisible DisAbility Group captured the audience with her passion for her business.  In addition to sharing her business model and strategy, she shared her real life experience about what it was like to live with a disability.  Although she is paralyzed she discussed her refusal to allow her disability to take over her life.  Yvette has a very active life that includes skydiving.  Her words were inspirational and spoke to the courage that all business owners need to find their passion and follow their purpose.

The last segment was a presentation by Shawn Pfunder as he shared the importance of finding your identity as a person and incorporating your uniqueness into your brand. He provided multiple examples of how creating your authentic story and allowing yourself to be less than perfect is what makes your brand unique and relatable.  He discussed how social media is key to your future growth potential and provided tips on how you can share your uniqueness over social media.

The more human you are, the more likely you are to standout. – Shawn Pfunder

I walked away with a lot to think about.  I immediately sat down to think more about my personal and business identity and how I could marry the two. I created a list of the top ten things that identify or define who I am. Then I did the same with my business.  I almost instantly saw the advantage of this exercise. I could see where I am not connecting my uniqueness with the service I provide.  I instantly started thinking of ways to rectify this. This event was very eye-opening and I definitely walked away with more than I expected. If you are trying to create your brand start by making a list of the top ten things that define you and your company.  I’d love to hear your feedback below.

Peace and Blessings

 

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Flexible Schedule Unfocused Mind

Week 2 is getting off to a rough start.  I have plenty to do, calls to return, appointments to schedule and events to attend.  My ‘to do’ list continues to expand.  I have 2 missed calls, 6 missed text and 4 missed glides (an app my friends and I use for group chats).  Monday was a wash because I traveled back from Dallas that morning.  By the time I got settled at home it was after 12pm.  I planned to attend an event last night but was too drained to get it together.

Today started off promising even though I didn’t wake up until 6am. Everything was scattered around my apartment so I decided to straighten up a bit.  It’s hard to focus in a disheveled space.  Plus I prefer to clean first thing in the morning so I can come home to a tidy place. Cleaning was a part of my ritual to start my day in my former vocation.  I washed dishes, swippered floors, organized clothes, set up my meditation and yoga space. Two hours later I had to mentally force myself to take a seat to regroup.  I somehow hadn’t even gotten to my mat time and was still far from starting my ‘work day’.  After about 10 minutes I pulled out my notebook to see what was needed for the day.  I wrote one thing down then absent-mindedly stumbled down on the mat.

I turned on the music but felt annoyed and decided I’d listen to the birds instead.  I jumped up to opened the windows.  I sat back down for my yoga opener.  Ten minutes later I was folding clothes.  I don’t even remember when I drifted off the mat.  I stopped folding and got back on the mat.  Glazing at my watch I promised myself 30 minutes on the mat then I’d start my day.  I picked up where I left off and immediately went into pigeon pose. I listened to my body and allowed it to guide me from pose to pose.  After 45 minutes, I ended my yoga sequence in dancer’s pose.  I cannot hold dancer’s pose for long but as I switched sides I knew it was necessary for me to leave the apartment.  I became very aware of my lack of focus.  Although I  had candles burning and sage smudging in the background I mentally drifted in and out of focus.

Standing on the edges of my new life awareness is key.  There are many reasons why people decide to start a business.  I started my business to have freedom and flexibility in mind, body and spirit.  Freedom and flexibility are not useful if you aren’t focused.  I love ending my day at 2pm if needed or starting it at 5pm if I choose to.  Today’s awareness allowed me to see freedom and flexibility still need some level of structure, parameters and balance.  Lucky for me I’d already scoped out a few locations with some level of structure.  I headed out the door in ripped jeans, flips flops and a “sleep is for suckas” t-shirt.  Time to get to work.

Peace and Blessing

 

Self Employed Not Unemployed

I made it through my first week of self employment.  I am definitely still getting adjusted to my new timing.  From some people’s perspective they treat me as if I’m unemployed and always available so I get calls in the middle of the day especially around my midday nap.  My midday nap make others think I’m not working at all.  While I am loving the outpouring of love, it is my responsibility to redefine my boundaries and inform others of my business hours.  No I do not sleep in and get up late.   I continue to wake up at 5 am.  Early morning is when I’m most productive.  I work when I am most productive. I shift my attention from my phone to focus on my business.  My most productive times are 5am to 10am and 5pm to 9pm.  I don’t know why but that’s when I get the most work done.  I’ve started to adjust my life around those times.  Here is what my days look like
  • 5am to 10am yoga and meditation, administrative duties, content and class planning, training, marketing and success visualization
  • 11am to 1pm working out (i.e. walking/running or weights) and yoga stretches
  • 1pm to 3pm running errands or handling personal business
  • 3pm to 4pm taking a nap
  • 5pm to 9pm networking, marketing and business development
Yes it appears that I am off a lot earlier than in the past however when you’re asleep I am working.  When you are done with your day, I am working.  My day now includes what’s most important to me not what’s important to my employer.  I spend more time in mind, body and soul zone.  When you are commuting I’m visualizing my success.  When you are at breakfast, I am meditating.  When you are wrapping up your day, I am regrouping.  My nap is essential for second part of my day.  If I don’t plan for it, I become exhausted.  The beauty of my new schedule is I get to adjusted it according to what is needed for the day or week.  If I know I have an event later in the day, I adjust my late evening schedule to afternoon.  In a few weeks my corporate classes will start so my workout will move up and that time will be dedicated to my classes.  My errand time slot may fall off completely or be moved to specific days.  The lines appear blurred but I am very much employed.  I am not unemployed.  I am self-employed.
Peace and Blessings

Proverb 24:26

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

A kiss on the lips was a sign of true friendship. People often think they should bend the truth to avoid hurting a friend. But one who gives an honest answer is a true friend.  To be entrusted with the truth even at the risk of offense, represents a gesture of high honor.