Hello hello! The other night, I was watching American Idol when I get an email on my phone. Robert was down in his house in Miami shot me a quick note that the grilling and barbeque accessory buyer for a BIG BIG account want to talk to me! Since then, the buyer and I have chatted and samples have been sent off! The BIG accounts (more mass retail outlets) work about a year out, so really soon they will be doing their product reviews for spring and summer 2011, (which is fine just fine) but he also said that it isn’t to late to test market Grill Charms in a few stores for this year. Keep your fingers and toes crossed!
Last week I was a guest speaker at a conference here in Charleston for The Center for Women www.twitter.com/c4womenchas It was and amazing gathering and I’m so honored to have been asked to speak. Since most of you don’t live here, I thought I’d recap the things I went over. I was paired with an amazing woman, Jo Ann Studtmueller. www.twitter.com/joannepicvu I was asked to speak about social media and Jo Ann TRULY is an expert. As most of you know, I’ve always considered myself technologically handicapped, so when the Center for Women asked me to speak on this subject, I thought there must be some mistake. I love talking to a brick wall, so ANY chance to speak in front real people, especially fellow women in business, I jump all over, but when I met with Jo Ann the first time, I confided in her my fears. I said “Jo Ann… I’m not really sure why I’m going to be up there with you. I’m successful in business, I’m pretty darn good at getting my brand out there, I can talk all day about inventing, entrepreneurship, marketing and PR, but I’m truly technologically inept. She said… “do you use twitter”… I said “yes”, “do you blog?” I said “yes”. “do you have a FB account and business Fan page?” I said “yes”. She said “are you Linked In?” I said “yes”. She said “do you link your blog and website with your YouTube videos?” I said “yes” and low and behold, she said “YOU’RE IN!” And in preparing for this presentation I began to realize just what a vital part social media and content marketing has played in getting where I am today. I’m living proof that it does not take technological know-how to get started. There are tons of folks out there that are much more tech savvy then I am, but I’ll give you a few easy tricks of the social marketing and PR trade.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to tell you a little bit about how I used this mystical, magical box called a computer during all of the different phases of my business. First I entered into what I call the “Research and Development Phase”. So I had my spicy light bulb moment… now what?!
The first thing I did was turn on my computer and got to googling. I scoured the blogs and forums for information on the two things I identified myself with most at the time and that was: a mom and a budding entrepreneur. Regardless of your industry and what business you are thinking about going into, “Join the conversation!”
Comment on blogs; praise the contributors and bloggers if something they said helped you. Post questions (or answer questions) on forums. There is a blog and/or forum for EVERYTHING!! The true benefit in “joining the conversation” might not be apparent right off that bat. You might think that praising a blogger just makes them feel good and maybe brightens someone’s day and that getting active on forums helps because it answers questions you have but it does so much more than that. It helps you build your virtual village. It gets you connected to people already “in the know” that can help you later when you need it most.
Our fearless leader over at the Center for Women Jennet Alterman www.twitter.com/jeannetalterman made a truly profound statement at a networking function, but I have found it equally if not more true in the cyber world.
“It isn’t who you know, but who knows you and knows what you do.” These people you connect with during this pre-start-up phase are the people that will be rooting for you and who will help you along the way. They will become your virtual village.
3 places I started were
www.mompreneurslonline.com OF COURSE!
Okay…. this is getting a bit lengthy for a blog post (Thanks to Jo Ann, I learned that blog posts should be between 250 and 500 words and be posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays) Who knew??!! So, with that, I will continue this discussion next week with more from my presentation “Don’t be a Twit”. See you next week!!
Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™ www.grillcharms.com