By now you must know that I am obsessed with my dog. So much so that I hate even calling him a dog. Because he is so much more than that. He’s my daily running partner, unofficial health coach, my faithful work companion, and my kid’s perpetual toddler-like playmate.
But I promise you I am not the crazy dog lady. This is my first dog and I am constantly amazed at how these 4-legged creatures can live in the moment, love unconditionally and provide an optimistic view of the world. So, as I said, I spend a lot of time with my guy – mostly in the mornings running him – or tiring him out so I can get something (anything!) done the rest of the day without him whining and dropping a ball at my feet.
But this dude also gives me occasional inspiration (not to mention he is the only one in my house that will let me post him on social media).
Alpine is a 2-year-old Vizsla. A natural born hunter. On our walks, he stalks nearly ever critter from lizards, and birds to his favorite – squirrels. Stalking the skunk didn’t work out so well… Every day he stands in his instinctive preying position – body to tail – straight. Still. Slowly and silently creeping up upon his prey. And every single day he is unsuccessful. He has never, ever caught a thing. One time, in Balboa Park, we let him do his ritual and a woman scolded us for allowing the dog to hunt (poor squirrel, she said). If she only knew the pup never caught anything…
Stay with me, people, I am getting to my point. So I began to think about his tenacity, resiliency, patience and attitude about himself while trying to hunt. And I began to think about how this relates to us, in our lives and our businesses. Alpine begins each day with the same rigor and excitement about hunting as the day before! He doesn’t have negative self-talk. I doubt he tells himself he’s a loser, or don’t bother you never catch anything, just forget it or, worse, I give up. Each day his focus is renewed. Each day, he employs his talents and gifts and says (or barks) that today is the day I will succeed.
In our lives and businesses, we should emulate Alpine’s attitude. Just because we don’t reach a goal, or don’t know how to do something today or (yikes) fail at something (or many things) – we should always think about Alpine and his dedication towards his goal.
Our squirrel is out there. Everyday. Waiting for us to catch.
Never give up trying to catch your squirrel.
Why are titles and labels so important??? I mean, I guess it’s a way to categorize everyone. Give them their place – where they belong – or where others think they belong. At one hotel I worked for, as a sales manager, we were always reminded of our titles as they held certain privileges (or drawbacks). I had to discuss issues or problems with my Director of Group Sales. He could then bring them to the Director of Sales, who could bring them to the General Manager. Heaven forbid I actually TALK to the General Manager as a peon Sales Manager! And then there were senior sales managers. They were sales managers with more tenure. Other than that, there was nothing more “senior” about them but they felt all the more superior! And at another job as a Marketing Specialist when they wanted to justify pay cuts, I was “demoted” to Marketing Coordinator – yet I was still doing the exact same job. Huh. But I digress… I was so glad to leave behind titles and hierarchy when exiting the corporate world to open up shop on my own.
What was my title in my own organization of one? Owner. Marketing Director. Head honcho. Business Owner. President. CFO. WHO CARES! I was just reveling in my new journey with a business and freedom!
But then… I discovered I was being classified as an entrepreneur! Oxford defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” So yeah, I thought. I am an entrepreneur. Go me!!! In light of this new information “what do I do” was now answered with “I started my own marketing consulting company. I am an entrepreneur”. Darn it. I just gave in to my new title. A new label to justify my status. My worth. My contribution to society.
But, it’s only me. Ah! So, I am a solopreneur.
But, I am a mom and work in condensed hours while the kids are at school or sleeping or playing in traffic (just kidding). So, I am a mompreneur.
But I am a headstrong female. So, I’m a fempreneur.
I have an informational DIY video course for sale so I am an infopreneur.
Had I been a student starting a company, I’d be a studentprenuer
Once when applying for a job, HR described the position as “intrapreneurial”! Entrepreneur minded while working for an organization.
And on. And on.
I soon realized that even in the world of owning your own biz, there is still the need to categorize! And oh don’t get me started on the several strings of social media posts I have been involved in trying to determine if people working with direct sales companies are business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives or something else! If you want to start a heated debate, post this on your wall!
So the question is – why do we all care so much?
I can only guess that by saying I am an entre-solo-mom-fem-info-preneur that I will attract like-minded people into my warm, fuzzy tribe. It’s my niche so to speak.
But why the competitiveness between folks for a title?
Can’t everyone agree that each one of us is just trying to do our best? To find something we can get behind? Something we believe in? Something that allows us to use our “gifts”? And that aligns with our values? And allows us to pay our mortgage, put food on the table and pay the Nordstrom bill at the end of the month? And oh yeah, be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror. Exhausting, isn’t it?
Let’s all make a difference where we can. So, call me what you want. At the end of the day, I like to say I am a marketing partner. A marketing therapist. A marketing consultant. And a mom. And a business of one. And a kick-ass female. Oh gosh – here I go again…
The positive effects of bringing home puppy…
Alpine – 11 week old Vizsla
We are three weeks into puppyhood. Alpine, or Little Al, is now 11 weeks old as I write this. And let me start out by saying, I have lasted an entire week more than my mother ever did with a dog. We had several dogs enter our house during my childhood, all of whom went back to wherever they came about two weeks in as my mother could not handle the crazy puppy stage – at least not with two toddlers at home.
Which brings me to say that if you would have asked me any earlier in my kid’s childhoods if I wanted a dog, the answer was Heck NO! I didn’t want to take care of another life (up until that point, “pet’s” have been a fancy mouse who has been adopted by a friend, a long gone sea frog I killed by accident, a hermit crab who suffered an untimely death and several praying mantids – my son’s favorite insect).
So, when my 9-year-old daughter announced she wanted to make organic dog treats and pass them out to our neighbor’s dog’s, at the same time my husband went to look at a litter of Vizsla puppies (in Alpine, hence his name) without telling me, we knew we were finally on the same puppy page.
I finally started to tell people we were getting a puppy and their responses were mostly the same – “don’t do it! Do you know what a big commitment that is? You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into!” And I’m thinking, um, yeah, maybe not, but did I utter those same words back to you when you told me you were expecting your third child????? My response became, “I know – it is going to change our lives – good and bad, but let us experience it for ourselves.”
So here are just a few ways in which the puppy has changed our lives, for the better.
- I hate to admit that I let my kids eat wherever. In the living room watching tv, in the formal living room – as long as they ate and I could go back to whatever task I was doing while they ate- great. But now, I don’t want crumbs all over the place for the puppy to find and eat and so, food is confined to, yep, you guessed it, the kitchen and the kitchen ONLY!
- And yeah, my kids are 9 and 10 and I would still make them their chocolate milk because I’m their mom… But now, since I am busier with the puppy, I caught my son making his own grilled cheese the other day!
- They finally experience loving something other than themselves.
- A bit more sacrifice. I have had to miss going on several field trips because the puppy can’t last that many hours in the crate. My kids accept the trade-offs in order to have their own puppy.
- And lastly, they are finally picking up their stuff off the floor and putting things away! One too many flip-flops missing is all it takes!
- I was becoming complacent. I am still building my marketing consulting biz, and everything else took precedence because I had “time” to get things done, if not now, later. But later came, and I wasn’t getting things done. With the puppy, who demands a ton of attention, I am now consolidating my work and doing it when the puppy naps or when the kids are home to watch him and I have regained my capacity to be productive again. Yippee.
- We are all on our devices less
- and outside playing more. Enough said about the benefits there.
So, yes, it’s a lot of work – along with many other things that flourish when given attention. And I can’t remember other than “real people’s” infancy when I have been this tired. I am in the midst of cleaning up puddles of pee, figuring out how to get him to like riding in the travel crate in the car, dealing with razor sharp puppy teeth and perfecting my very own puppy-approved voice I use to praise my good boy.
But life is also becoming richer, funnier and sillier with our new fuzzy being.
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Hi all! WOW! 30 minutes packed with great tips on how small businesses can work with a PR firm.
My guest, Stephanie Thompson of Stephanie Thompson Communications dished out some great stuff!
Watch the replay HERE
How fun to be a guest on a Blab blabbing away about one of my very favorite topics ever – relationship marketing and connecting to grow your business. Of course SEO and media spots go hand in hand and should both be incorporated into your strategy. Enjoy!
Be sure to add a comment below!
And of course, reach out to me if you want to bounce around ideas for your business!
Is summer stressing you out?
Do you stress about what to do with kids while you are working? You’re not alone!!!!
It’s April. Mid April. And the buzz in the air at school is “what are we all doing with our kids” during the 10-week long hiatus from school mid-June to end of August. So, I will just say it.
I hate summer.
I mean, I love summer – beach days, lax bedtimes, slower overall pace – but losing the predictable school schedule is hard to swallow. When the kids say they don’t want to go to school, I tell them they have to. That I will get arrested if I don’t send them. They don’t have a choice. But, over the summer they know that’s not true. My son hates camp. He thinks it’s a place I send him because I can’t (or don’t) want him home. He’s not buying the “it’s great to try new things”, “it’s great to meet new people”, “you’ll be bored to tears if you stay home” rhetoric from me. The fact remains that I am not a cruise director. I am trying to build a business – and I still need quiet time at home to get something – anything done during the day, and a few weeks of camp are non-negotiable.
To my son, camp is stupid.
Their songs are dumb, their arts and crafts pointless. He hates to swim at camp because they don’t give him enough time to properly dry off and change. He says camp rules are dumb (even if the rules keep kids safe like keeping kids to a small area when they go down to the beach). He doesn’t like the staff. Why? Because he feels they’re not equipped to deal with the influx of kids they don’t know, can’t handle, discipline and/or entertain them.
Trying to find a camp that captures kids interests, their maybe future interests, something that fits the family budget, something that’s close to home or work, that works with a siblings camp schedule and that their friends are attending is a totally daunting task. Maybe a sports camp? Maybe something engaging their mind like a robotics camp or coding? Oh wait, coding camp is a grand a week. A GRAND A WEEK? Never mind. Don’t even bring it to the table as an option…
Thinking and planning for summer really should require an advanced degree.
I have post-it notes around the house with the weeks of summer and proposed camps and family vacations and penciled in weeks I want the grandparents to take the kids (even if they don’t know it yet). It seems we need excel spreadsheets outlining times, locations, costs, pick-up schedules – the works just to cope and not lose it!
And before you ask, yes, we’ve tried so many camps. Zoo camp, outdoor wilderness camp, camps at museums – children’s museum, science museum, natural history museum. Theater camps, Y camps and the list goes on. And every year, the creativity to find new camps increases as they will no longer attend a camp they attended the year before (see reasons above). For me, I would have died and gone to heaven to go to zoo camp, or surf camp or theater arts camp. Instead, I was shuttled off on a mini-bus to a camp where I was drenched in sweat all summer outside making god’s-eyes and lanyard crafts while making tickle trains and braiding friends hair. At the same camp. Year in and year out. No choice whatsoever.
A few years ago, I was working full time and needed pre-care and after-care at a reasonable weekly rate and something close to my work. The Y – bingo! After a day or two of camp, both kids hated it. So my Darlings wouldn’t have to be miserable for one minute longer than they had to, I would rush out of work like a bat out of hell to get them. One pick up afternoon, while I was pulling my SUV into the closest parking space – WHACK! I smacked my car into the car in the next space on the way in. No one saw me and I actually thought about pretending it didn’t happen and drive to another space (who does that?) but of course I didn’t, but that’s another whole story in itself! Anyway, turned out to be a very expensive camp!!!
So fast-forward to summer 2016.
My post-it notes in full gear. My mind calculating to figure out the best course of action to enrich my kid’s minds while providing them a summer they’ll never forget, while also reducing my “crazy” as much as possible. All the while realizing that they’ll be fine, no matter what we choose (or they choose) to do.
So, listen up kids – I’m done feeling guilty that I am happily dropping you off in the care of another while you’re miserable. I am done apologizing to you that I have (want) to work. I hope you see that you have all these amazing choices because I have scoured the Internet and spent hours discussing schedules with other moms and basically, making sure of it! When you are older, I hope you realize the opportunity to go to that “stupid” camp was actually a privilege and a great experience. And if you choose to go into therapy from your horrible upbringing (ha ha) that you realize you’ll likely need it for reasons other than a few weeks of camp every summer.
***Comment below and let me know how you are going to juggle work and your kids for the summer!
ABOUT ME: I am the crazy mom trying to raise kids, hold down the household and build a business! In between pick-ups and drop-offs, I am busy helping mompreneurs and itty-bitty businesses get attention through online marketing, social media, sales and PR strategy.
In between your drop-offs and pickups, get my freebie “10 steps to media attention” HERE! Or reach me at Lisa@handcraftedmarketing.com