Archive for March, 2010

Business and Pleasure

Posted by at 29 March, 2010, 4:21 pm

Hello folks!  I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to take a little break from my social media series that I’m doing because I’ve got other stuff to chat about.  I’ll get back on topic next week.  Well, I’m back from a week in of skiing with the family in Aspen/Snowmass CO and I’m refreshed and ready to work!  One of the reasons why many of us become entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs is because of the illusion of free time.  It’s ironic though, that once you do become an entrepreneur, no time is really “free”.  I’ve got some really good examples of this, both good and not so good.  A lot of work goes into gearing up for a vacation.  Before I got,  I try to tie up any loose ends I have out there so I can “not work” as much as possible.  There are always going to be things however that just can’t wait.  I did a great job of balancing that sometimes this past week, then a really crappy job other times.  You know me… I’m going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly!  

First of all the good.  While out there I received a call from Inc. Magazine saying they wanted to set up a photo shoot.  A few weeks ago I did an interview with a writer for a story on social media and how web 2.0 has somewhat evened the playing field for us small time entrepreneurs who don’t have $10,000 to spend on a fancy PR firm.  As with most media (and I’ve said this a million times) I don’t believe anything until I see it!  So even though we did an hour and ½ long interview, I still didn’t count on the article running.  While in CO, I got an email from the Photo Editor at Inc. wanting to set up a shoot!!  YIPEEE!!!  NOW it seemed like the article might run.  I explained that I was out of town until 11:45 Saturday night so we set it up for Monday morning!  (THIS morning!)  I’m not sure which are bigger… the bags I unpacked from skiing or the ones under my eyes, but regardless, the shoot was fun!  (Come on photo shop!!!)  :) The photographer came to my house and we did shots of me in my little rinky dink office as well as out back with the grill and my Grill Charms apron doing some grillin.  It was great!  I could have done without the gnats though… one actually got stuck in my lip gloss and we had to take a 5 min break to rescue him.  There was no hope.  (not that that bothered me, I had lost a pint of blood by the time it was all over)  The article is supposed to run in the May or June issue.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Next good thing that happened during vacation was I received a call from a great store / customer of mine called Bibelot in St. Paul Minnesota.  Unbeknownst to me, they submitted some of their grilling gadgets during the appropriate time on the editorial calendar to “Every Day with Rachael Ray”. I think you know where I’m going right?  The buyer called and said that Grill Charms made the final cut for the June / July issue!!  She had already put in her reorder for the season, but now with this new information, she quadrupled it!  So if you live in the St. Paul MN area, be sure to stop by Bibelot and say hi :)

Now I’m going to give you a real live example of how I DID NOT manage my entrepreneurial duties well.  I know full well that I really shouldn’t be saying this to a gazillion friends and strangers all over the internet, but I haven’t ever held back about mistakes I’ve made in the past and I’m not going to start now.  So…. Out there on the mountain internet service (well…not so much service, but a combination of service and my ancient lap top) made it…. Well…. Let’s just say “not ideal” conditions to work.  I also promise my husband to try not to work too much while we go on family vacations, so I only did what was truly necessary.  (Keep in mind, thanks to my wonderful warehouse and fulfillment center Trending Solutions orders ALWAYS go out, so not to worry about that!)  Before I had left, I had been working with a new account.  And I’ll just tell it like it is…. It is FrontGate.  Yep, Frontgate!  HUGE right?!  We’ll… I had been approved as a vendor a while back and had a note to check back with them sometime mid April if I didn’t hear from them.  So… while on vacation I get a fax in my inbox (electronically) and I couldn’t see who it was from, so in trying to keep with my promise to not work to hard, it was one of the emails I ignored until I got back.  When I opened it up, my heart sank!  It was the PO from Frontgate and ALL OVER IT, it said “PLEASE CONFIRM RECIEPT WITHIN 24 HOURS”.  It was even in BOLD!  Aggghhhh!!!!!!!  That was Thursday and OF COURSE, the second I read it, I faxed and emailed confirmation, but that was Sunday.  Today is Monday and I have not heard back as to my fate.  I was/am sooooo mad at myself!!!  So much for juggling business and pleasure well… I apparently SUCK at it!  Lesson learned.  From now on, at least OPEN every message!  The ship date for the PO isn’t until next week, so hopefully my slack @ss confirmation will be forgiven, but I could just kick myself for making such a bad impression on the first PO.  Agggghhhh!!!!  I physically wince when I think about it!  So there you go…. All my dirty laundry for the week.   Hopefully my successes this past week inspire you and my failures help you realize that we are all are human.  Ciao for now!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Media Coverage | Mompreneur Stories | Public Relations | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Buried in Treasures

Posted by at 29 March, 2010, 8:50 am


Highly recommend Buried in Treasures to help you sort, discard, and keep your treasures. If you have a relative or friend who is struggling with keeping too much, this book will help you understand them better.

Category : Organization | Organizing Mom

Perception is reality

Posted by at 19 March, 2010, 11:06 am

To continue my story from last week,

 When I felt I had done all I could do and had my ducks in a row as much as I could, I launched my product on store shelves.  So now that I was “open for Business” I knew I needed to

  • Establish Credibility  (which would lead to)
  • Establishing myself as an expert    (and in any business it is all about )
  • PR and Marketing 24/7

Now that I knew a thing or two and had some momentum I wanted to establish myself as an expert and build my brand, but it’s all about establishing credibility first.  In this world and even more so in the virtual one, perception IS reality.  I’ve been on national TV shows, Prime Time TV, more magazines, newspapers and articles then I can count and yet … shhhhh…….  I work in a 10×10 space upstairs in my home across from my children’s play room. 

I lock myself in the laundry room sometimes when I have a buyer on the phone I need to talk to.  I bribe my children with snacks if they just say quiet enough to get through a Skype conference with my potential Australian Distributor, and yet people started looking to me to give them answers on how to bring a product to market and how to build a national brand and I get to wrote blogs like this! And I’ve done it all from my tiny little desk in my tiny little space upstairs in my house. 

BUT, in virtual world of social media I can be ANYTHING!  So early on, you need to decide who do you want to be perceived as (and therefore BE)?  Once you decide that, channel every online message to portray that image of who the world needs to think you are. This will lead you to establishing yourself as an expert in your field.  (more on that next week)  Well…. Maybe not next week, I’m going on a little vacation next week, so the first week of April, I promise!  The wholesale orders for Grill Charms are picking up with “the season” as people thaw out and they can finally see their grills from under the many inches of snow.   There has also been a lot of chatter online, in the blogs etc.. for Grill Charms™ as a Groomsmen gift.  Wedding season is upon us, so that’s been very helpful.

Here’s a few of them:


Alrighty… I need to get packing as I have to get up at 3:30 AM to get on a 5:30 flight.  YIKES!  Talk to you soon!


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Social Media | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Free Call on Facebook Fan Pages on 3/25 (Back by popular demand!)

Posted by at 18 March, 2010, 2:28 pm

facebook f logo squareAs your social media blogger, I thought I’d share some info on the upcoming free 60 minute teleseminar I’m holding on 3/25 at 8pm Eastern (it was so popular last time I held it in October that I am holding it again!):

“The Top 7 Ways to Leverage Facebook Pages for More Buzz, More Visibility and More Sales!”

The call is Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 8pm Eastern.  If you can’t make it live, no worries, you will still be sent the recording.

However, only those on with me LIVE will benefit from the Q & A at the end of the call—as well as be eligible for the special offer I will be introducing!

I know firsthand that Fan Pages are one of the best ways to bring attention to your business and generate more clients, customers and sales. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion among small business owners about how to use Pages effectively. On this call, I’m sharing all about how to make them work for you–and anyone who has been on my calls before knows I always give a TON of meaty, actionable content!

All you need is a phone to join me, so register now for this FREE teleseminar.

Register here:

Category : Social Media

one evolution at a time

Posted by at 15 March, 2010, 11:36 am

One of my favorite books is Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.  As he’s going through Navy Seal training, he talks about Rear Admiral Maguire, Commander, SPECWARCOM.  The advice Captain Maguire gave Marcus and the other men applies to all of us.

First of all, I do not want you to give in to the pressure of the moment.  Whenever you’re hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day. Then, if you’re still feeling bad, think about it long and hard before you decide to quit.  Second, take it one day at a time. One evolution at a time.

Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.”

Category : Organization | Organizing Mom

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Posted by at 11 March, 2010, 3:06 pm
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Category : Blogger Introductions

Narrow Your Choices

Posted by at 11 March, 2010, 2:45 pm

It’s difficult to get things done when you give yourself too many options.

Let’s say you decide your child should take ballet lessons.  If you live in a big city, you could spend months visiting ballet studios, checking on-line, asking your friends, and driving yourself nuts in the process.  Some decisions require more investigation than others; however, decide what your top decision making criteria is for this project.  Is it distance to the studio, cost, quality of instruction,  near your favorite coffee stop?  What’s the most important factor?  To make the most of your time,  narrow your choices. Tom Kelley, author of The Ten Faces of Innovation, says “provide a small selection of excellent choices and have a point of view about why you chose those few among the many.”

Too many choices make decision making more difficult than it needs to be.

Category : Organizing Mom

Virtual Village

Posted by at 5 March, 2010, 8:23 am

 Hello folks!  Here is a little bit more of my presentation:

“Something else I did often during my R&D phase was ASK FOR HELP!

 Did you know that you can actually have an online mentor and councilor for FREE in just about ANY field or genera you can think of?  I used several virtual councilors during the beginning stages of my entrepreneurial journey.  They helped me with everything from writing my business plan to metal fabrication processes for my product. In November I was invited to one of my virtual councilors’ banquets to receive an award for success story of the year. It just so happened he lived in Myrtle Beach, so it was for Grand Strand SCORE Chapter 381. We still talk today.  Once again, it is all about building your virtual village.  

On blogs and forums, join the conversation.  Ask for help.  You don’t have to do it alone and people really like to share information they have learned.  People love to “talk” so ask and then sit back and listen

Another thing I did (and still do) in this interactive social world of ours is enter business contests relevant to my field.  There are so many out there for start up companies. always has tons,

Idea Café gives away $5000.00 every year to a new business

Whirlpool’s Mother of Invention Grant is an annual contest

Make Mine a Million

A lot of these contests I learn about from checking blogs and forums like”  This will help with building your credibility which I’ll talk about next week. 

Let’s see…. In the world of Grill Charms™, I’ve been a little under the weather with a cold and consequently I sound like a frog!  This was really frustrating because I felt like I couldn’t make any sales calls and grilling season is creeping up fast.  The specialty retailers are buying now (if they haven’t already) for spring and summer and here I am, unable to call on any stores because I sound like an amphibian!  Very frustrating!  I did what I could via email (which is not as effective) but Monday, I’m going to hit the ground running!  Have a wonderful weekend folks!

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Marketing | Social Media | The Journey of Grill Charms!