The Devil is in the Details

Writers, entrepreneurs, encore performers in whatever new “hustle” you are diving into—MOUNT UP and get a plan, rather craft a plan.  One of the things that frustrated me most about the operation of the office I most recently worked in was the reactive approach to every task. Eight times out of ten, there was no need for the fire storms of upheaval of everyone’s schedule with the “all hands on deck” approach to getting “to-do’s” done.  Why must another’s emergency become mine…I was minding my own business, literally.  Flipping ridiculous, was what it was.  Anywhoo…

devil-in-details

Having blogged now for a week and linking the blog to my newly formed Twitter and newly formed Facebook page, I recognize a few things: 1) blogging at midnight to make sure I blog everyday is making for a cranky Lauren.  Never a good look; 2) blogging at midnight because I don’t know what the hell to blog about, makes for a frustrated Lauren, not a good look either.  This is supposed to be fun; 3) same content on every social media medium makes for a bored Lauren, again, this ain’t a good look for me; and 4) my goal in developing and managing my author’s platform is not going to be met NO time soon if I don’t determine the best approach to take, based on my resources of current knowledge, talent and time.  So before this marketing train of author platform gathers steam and I find myself chasing a 100 mph disaster, I decided to spend today creating a plan so that I can start working a plan.  What I am hoping this exercise will do is  1) alleviate this current feeling of stress because I don’t have a plan (not having a clue nor a plan is bad business); 2) by outlining the plan for managing my own author platform, I can perhaps generate business in helping others develop their marketing platforms via social media (in various industries); 3) developing a clear vision in how to make sure the work in managing this platform eventually generates the results I would like to see with regard to writing, will actually help me become more laser focused in determining what my priorities should be in writing, so one complements the other one; and 4) outlining a content schedule will, I hope, bring into focus, the “stinkin’ thinkin'” in my plan—what may not work, where my deficiencies are in my communication/marketing plan adjust, re-adjust and continuously move forward.

My intended tangible outcomes to be able post around my office for easy reference are: Continue reading The Devil is in the Details

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Chile…I Got Tea!

Working in an office environment can be monotonous. When you hear a discreet, but intentional, PSSST… when you pass by one’s cubicle, you hope that this summoning will add a little UMMPH to your day.  When the summoner starts the conversation with “Chile…I got tea!”  you are compelled to do a happy dance if it weren’t for the fact that you are in a dry, stale, sterile office environment where the quiet level rivals that of a mouse peeing on cotton.  You lean in to listen because you just know, THIS RIGHT HERE, is going to be good.

kermit tea
courtesy: vibe.com

Unless our attention is awakened in such a dramatic fashion, however, how often do we lean in to listen-really listen and absorb what the everyday,  run of the mill activities of the day are telling us?  Probably not often enough.  I encourage you to stop…or slow down and just…listen.

Blogging is a new activity for me.  In this first week, I have learned a lot, already; 1) I need a plan-a content calendar because winging it is frustrating; 2) consistency in blogging and posting during an optimal timeframe for viewing is important; 3) the act of marketing takes marketing…this is never-ending, which brings to mind, anything worth having is GOING to be earned; 4) grow a thick skin quickly because everyone isn’t going to like every post and just because people aren’t ready to hear a particular view, doesn’t mean the opinion still isn’t worth being voiced; and 5) enjoy the journey and know the road is rough, but the “scenery”-the moments- are breathtaking.

I checked out my email and noticed one from a recruiter I had worked with for a particular 9-5.  It read, ” Lauren the decision was tough, but unfortunately, you were not chosen.”  As hard as I worked to prepare for that interview, surprisingly, I was relieved I wasn’t chosen.  Briefly, I thought, this is what the start of a mental breakdown looks like.  Fool, you have a mortgage to pay and health concerns to manage.  YOU NEED BENEFITS.  As quickly, I startled myself when I heard out of my mouth, without thought, Thank You Jesus! Continue reading Chile…I Got Tea!

Full Service

Ahhh….the good ole days…when there was a guy to greet you at the gas station with a nice smile and a friendly, “fill ‘er up ma’am?”  In about half the time it takes to get a Starbucks coffee these days, Mr. Service Man had pumped gas, washed your windshield, checked your fluid levels and your tire pressure AND sent you on your way with a warm and genuine “have a nice day.”

gas attendant
courtesy of peakoil.com

Full service given with a sense of pride.  Even as a kid in the 70s, when self-serve stations started popping up and I became my mom’s gas station attendant, I knew that was the beginning of the end of service with a smile.  Try to get help for a Yahoo issue…ever looked for a phone number, lmao….good luck finding one!!  Call any utility company, by the time you get the automated hellion to understand you want to speak to a representative, your blood pressure is up and your patience is low and hell, you have waited so long that you forgot why you called.  This is precisely what these companies are counting on-you to forget, you to shrug it off as, this is the way of business today. We live in a “wham bam, thank you ma’am, leave the money on the nightstand” society because we have allowed it to happen.  Somewhere along the lines, we all just gave up demanding service and courtesy with what little service you do receive and blamed our lot on automation and a lack of time. Continue reading Full Service

Freedom

Initially this blog was entitled, Independence Day. Why, because my life as a Neophyte entrepreneur has a certain freedom that is invigorating and scary, in equal measure. I had nearly completed the post when my phone died. As I was waiting for my phone to charge to return to the post, I thought about this tweet I re-tweeted today. I just need to go the hell off for a hot minute.

The LA Times reported recently that publisher, McGraw-Hill has agreed to reprint a geography book that referred to slaves as “immigrants” and that my ancestors came over to “work.” (http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-texas-textbook-calls-slaves-immigrants-20151005-story.html)

Immigrants…IMMIGRANTS, are you flipping kidding me with this??!?  I don’t do cruises now cause I see what happened the last time my people got caught up on a boat. Continue reading Freedom

No Rest for the Wicked, the Weary…or the Entrepreneur

The challenge today, to build my author’s platform included establishing a Twitter account. Yet another media platform to post on and manage.  In the long run it will be great and essential in helping me to better market my work and therefore I am telling myself, “suck it up, buttercup” and get this done.

When I saw the goal for the challenge, I thought, “oh five minutes to complete, great cause I got other stuff to focus on today.”  Dang if that Twitter didn’t take up the better part of my day, then there was the trying to link to FB, which, hell, I still don’t know if I did, and my goal of posting this blog and something to FB by noontime….came and went. Continue reading No Rest for the Wicked, the Weary…or the Entrepreneur

20/20

My Granny used to say, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Today’s events that I mentally meandered my way through, brought to mind, Granny.  As a newly minted entrepreneur, I am fast learning, rather, being reminded of a few lessons that may prove helpful for my other comrades-in-arms who are Encore Performers.  Hell, these little gems are great for you young ones too–what do you call yourselves, Millennials.  

I have God on speed dial.  His child is steadfast in sending up prayers…keeping my Father on “the hot line.”  I realized today as I struggled to remain encouraged after a potential client did not approve a proposal for the fee I requested, that I may have to “give away” a couple of hours of labor to prove myself, in exchange for paid writing samples. I also realized I have probably been dangling on God’s last good nerve with my incessant prayers. Sometimes, his daughter can be a little dense. Continue reading 20/20

Joy, Joy, Joy

I have Joy, Joy Joy, Joy…down in my heart…this, a verse to a spiritual that I remember being sung in the church I grew up in, came to mind this morning.  It’s Sunday and I rose as I do every morning, with a prayer of thanks.  Most Sundays I attend “bedside Baptist” and check out a service online. Today, I didn’t even attend that.

I found myself humming that tune as I hurried to prepare to go to work.  On Sunday?!  Are you nuts, you are probably asking.  Nope!  I had/have joy in my heart because nothing has given me greater joy since being laid off than to not have to be bothered with an LA commute.  If I were working for a company, I would have been pissed to have had my Sunday encroached upon. But I worked 8 hours  today with a client, my first, as editor of her dissertation.

She stretched out in the easy chair in my office, we exchanged information and ideas over beers at one point, I stopped periodically to play with her nieces and son who wanted to have tea parties and wrestle in my living room, we had a heart to heart about personal matters affecting both of us…in the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day.”

As an “Encore Performer” trying to get my hustle on, to make a dream a reality, I realize there may be a lot of weekends I spend working.  This effort, however, is for the benefit of my business, no one else’s, on my terms of time spent and when, and nothing gives me greater JOY!

Steppin’…

In Chicago, people “step.”  It is a dance that kind of looks like the cha cha, but with more swag and flair.  Then there is steppin’ in fraternities and sororities-African-American based ones.  There are step shows between university chapters, regionally.  Alum chapters  compete at their respective boule’s, conventions and conclaves.  These are all very fascinating to me.  I can sit for hours and watch those that can, do. As I watch in amazement, I wonder why I don’t have the gift of rhythm and cringe at the thought of my “black card” being revoked because I don’t, and therefore am bereft of being able to do either form of steppin’. Then there is stepping.  This is not generally associated with a culture specifically, as are the other two, but to a group of people of any race, color or creed who are led to lead a spiritual existence.  Oftentimes, among this group, there are testimonies of people “stepping out on faith.” I enjoy watching those people, as well.  They inspire me.

Who have I been fooling?!  These people don’t inspire me.  They fill my heart with joy that they are accomplishing their dreams, but inspiration would mean me getting off my duff and doing the same.  I have been a spectator in my on life.  That ends now.

I came to terms long time ago that I will never step, Chi town style.  I will never perform in one of my sorority’s greek step shows, but I can affirm with this, my first blog post ever, that I am a  “stepper.”  I am stepping out on faith and pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a writer, a successfully, financially independent writer.  I have no idea how (nor did I have a clue when I became a t.v. producer) but I am going to make this happen.  I have no backup and I have a mortgage…motivation is a bitch, ain’t it?!?!!  lol

Why now you ask?  This year I turned 50.  I don’t feel like what I thought 50 would feel like.  In my mind I am still 21…well 30 if my knees or back feel bad.  I realized, I more than likely have less years on earth going forward, than I have exhausted (despite the fact that I had a great grandmother who lived to be 108).   That was more motivation.   Then there was the biggest motivation of all.

I was laid off from my job as a media services and technology specialist at my alma mater because, well because the new department head, is a business guy and thought my job was a duplication of efforts.  On paper, yea he was right.  In reality for the needs of that office…WRONG.  Whatever, my granny used to say, you are leasing your job.  You were looking when you found that one, go find another.  Ok Granny…but I am taking this opportunity to create my own.  In doing so, I have sought assistance from SCORE and the SBA to start a business(aside from writing).  In so doing, the mentor I have been connected with is called an ENCORE EXECUTIVE.  He is a former executive who volunteers to offer his years of expertise to the “young whipper snappers” such as myself to help us realize our dreams of entrepreneurship.

Meeting my business mentor, I realized, hell, I am an ENCORE professional…dang, at 50.  My former boss with one quick inhumane BUSINESS decision turned me into an ENCORE professional.  I never thought at 50 I would be starting over, taking my first steps into a career as I did, some nearly 20+ years ago.  But I am.

I can’t say that I am not concerned.  The unknown always is a source of concern.  What I have going for me are three things-my trinity-faith, talent and a not going to fail attitude.  I am excited like a kid waiting for Christmas morning about what lies ahead as a writer in my Encore Performance.