I was there as an observer. My flipcam was on as I watched the crazy antics of what appeared to be humans except covered with mud. Many were covered from head to toe. They seemed to revel in pushing themselves through tests of physical endurance and derring-do, accomplishing these feats in the dirtiest way possible.
Hundreds, actually thousands of “Mud People” both male and female, all converged on this one site on the outskirts of Lake Las Vegas. It was a strange sight indeed. I think I saw more Mud People then I ever thought possible yesterday. Except they didn’t start out covered in brown terra firma slime. They started out actually looking like humans of every stripe about to enjoy a pleasant, Saturday morning run on a beautiful, sunny October day.
All that changed very quickly.
From the start of their adventure they dashed and within minutes they were plunged into a pit of mud to crawl through to the other side. Then they would dash several hundred yards where they would climb up and over a wall – yes, covered in mud.
Many mere mortals were there to cheer them on to personal victory. Up over hills and down into pits of brown, primordial ooze they went. Through a test of strenth and hilarity that stretched over 5k of dirt and glop. These Mud People have good hearts, I understand. Not only strong enough to push themselves through this dirty deed but compassionate enough to do it to raise money for charity, a hospital that helps human children in need known as St. Judes on earth.
I was content to watch from the sidelines. I’m built for comfort, not speed or muck. I can walk long distances - just walked over seven miles last Saturday morning – but running and mud? Not my thing. I was amazed and impressed with how the Mud People seemed to love the goofiness of it all.
Thousands of Mud Warriors one after another tested their mettle on a course designed to push each mud person to the limits of what’s possible and how many human orifices can conceivably be filled with muck.
At the end most succeeded. They crossed the finish line and collected their rewards – a medal of completion, a T-shirt, a mug of beer, and, a turkey leg. Guess that’s considered warrior food in the Land of the Mud People. I’m not saying I limit my turkey consumption to just the Thanksgiving holiday. But since I was there in the morning – I never considered turkey and beer the breakfast of champions, either.
Okay, the gig is up. I must tell the truth. They were not really Mud People, though they got damn muddy as you can see. They were people who ran in the Las Vegas Warrior Dash 2012.
The Warrior Dash is a race that happens in cities all over America to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and all the good work they do for children who need medical help no matter what their families’ financial circumstnces.
I was there to support my friend and walking buddy Val Cataldi, a Health Coach as she took on the Warrior Dash for the fun of it. To the right is a picture of Val with her blonde hair, big sunglasses and the mud du jour fashion choice. Val is a fitness and weight loss success story. Five years ago she lost 80 pounds and has kept it off. Her clients have lost up to 100 pounds and all have done it while learning how to love and take better care of themselves.
The Warrior Dash is sort of a testament to the fact that there’s no limit to the ridiculous, funny things people will do to test themselves physically and mentally while helping others less fortunate. It’s billed as “The Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life” and if I had run it, gotten covered in mud and swigged beer and eaten a turkey leg I probably would have felt that way, too.
But when it’s all done to support a good cause – it somehow makes perfect sense and it makes the Mud People and their land not crazy – but pretty wonderful.
Ernie and I flew to Oakland California last Friday. On Saturday we attended an Indian/Sikh wedding. When we received the elegant invitation in the mail a few months ago I told him, “Hon, I’ve never been to anything like this before.”
Ernie, who grew up in India and came to America at the age of 18 many years ago replied, “I’ve never been to anything like this either.”
Our connection to the couple is Ernie’s good friend, Ravi. They were co-workers together many years ago during his days working in the aerospace industry. The couple, both born and raised in the US chose this traditional Indian/Sikh way of getting married. The bride is an attorney. The groom is a pharmeceutical sales rep.
There were Sanskrit words on the ornate red and gold invitation, so I went about looking them up on Google so I’d understand what they were about. Quickly I discovered Indian weddings are a big deal. This one was a two-day affair filled with cultural depth and rituals passed down for centuries.
I have to say this straight up – when I met Ernie, I’d never even experienced Indian food let alone Indian culture or Indian people. All I “knew” was that Indian women were supposedly considered second class citizens and had to walk two steps behind their husbands. Back when we started dating I was terrified that within a few months he’d have me chained to a stove stirring curry. It never happened. We’ve been together 15 years now and he’s the most supportive, kind, thoughful, funny, caring man I’ve ever known.
The evening before the wedding there was a party put on by the bride’s family. Actually the siblings of the bride host the party – but the parents probably paid for it. It’s an Indian traditon. It was held at a Marriott hotel with a open bar featuring Margaritas, a Fajita buffet and a DJ playing Punjabi hip hop faves. Okay, some American hits by Usher and Katy Perry slipped in but it felt Indian.
One of the unique Indian fashion traditions is the bride usually has intricate henna (an herbal dye) tatoos traced on her hands and arms called “Mehndi.” They’re considered a beautiful adornment for the bride. At the party Friday evening a Mehndi tatoo artist was doing designs on any of the women who wanted them done on their hands and arms.
I have a detailed design on my left hand that looks like a heart with leaves trailing up my arm. It has a red/brown cast to it, and, I’m told it will last about 10-14 days. I’m surprised a few people have noticed it since the wedding and pointed it out saying, “Oh, you have a Mehndi.”
Of course the bride had her Mehndi designs done the day before the party and the photographer got pictures of the beautiful designs on her hands and arms a part of the memories of her wedding.
Towards the end of the party there was a ritual where different family members put bangles and charms on the brides arms as a symbol of happiness, prosperity and long life. The tradition is that the bride is supposed to wear the bangles for the first 40 days after her marriage.
On her wedding day, I asked the bride if she wore her bangles and charms to sleep the night before. She told me she kept the bangles on her arms but removed the charms so they wouldn’t wake her so she could get some sleep the night before her wedding.
The bangles were red, white and gold similar to the ones you see in this picture - which are the customary bridal colors of India.
The day of the wedding Ernie and I arrived at the Sikh temple called a “gurdwara” at about 8:00 am in the morning. After a lot of standing around wondering what to do the groom rode in on an ornately decorated horse surrounded by family members who are all dancing, whooping and hollering with joy for the soon-to-be husband and wife.
The bride chose pink as her color and the groom chose purple so there were lots of brilliantly hued pink and purple saris and other Indian apparel. Because both men and women have to cover their heads in a Sikh temple there were also a lot of men wearing pink or purple handerkerchiefs tied on their head to honor the bride and groom.
A light breakfast was served with Samosas, Pakoras and Indian sweets. Indian chai tea was offered along with orange juice. All the food was vegetarian. Volunteers at the temple traditionally cook and serve the food at this meal.
Then people started filing into the actual hall in the temple you see in the picture. Men sit on the left side of the gleaming marble aisle, and, women sit on the right side. It’s a very meditative space and you remove your shoes and sit on the heavily padded and carpeted floor.
In researching a little something about Sikhs, I discovered they broke off from the Hindu faith about 500 years ago. They are not Muslim. They are very peaceful people and most of the 700,000 Sikhs in America are in business, medicine and academia.
The most devout of Sikh men never cut their hair and wear it bound in tight, meticulously wrapped turbans. They are not Muslims – the only similarity with that faith is the turban. Another thing I learned about Sikhs is they believe in complete equality between men and women, husbands and wives. All the unfair treatment of women in the Middle East is not a part of the Sikh faith.
Finally the ceremony was about to start at 10:00 am and the groom came in. He was wearing the most incredible beaded and embroidered jacket that came down almost to his knees. He wore dark red pants beneath the jacket, bare feet, a red ascot and a red turban. The groom in this wedding is usually clean shaven guy with a conservative Western haircut. It’s common for Sikh grooms in America who cut their hair in a standard American way to grow a beard for about a month before his wedding day out of respect for the Sikh tradition among men.
At last the bride appeared from the back of the temple. She was slowly walked up the aisle by two friends – sort of handmaidens. They brought her up the aisle in her gorgeous red wedding dress resplendent with heavy gold embroidery and beading. Her mother and soon-to-be mother-in-law were also a part of the procession walking up the aisle with her to her waiting groom.
Both Hindi and Sikh weddings, very similar, are wordless affairs. No vows are spoken. There is much well wishing by family members as the wedding takes place but no “I do’s” are said.
The groom walks around the altar in the temple and the bride follows him around. They are connected by a sash or a ribbon of red fabric. Each time around the altar represents something – though I never found out exactly what. It’s all done very prayerfully and mindfully. If she follows him around all four laps they are finally husband and wife. Ernie told me that in a Hindu wedding there are seven laps around the altar so the wedding ceremony takes even longer
Once this ritual is completed there is handshaking all around and the ceremony is almost complete. Then, all the wedding guests get in line to give their good wishes to the new bride and groom. They also make a contribution to the gurdwara – I would imagine the money helps to pay for the food. Most people seemed to give about ten dollars each, so that’s what Ernie and I contributed to the kitty.
I’d say there were about 125-150 people at the temple so the line was a slow one. When we got to the front of the line there was a photo op to get your picture taken with them.
Now I said the wedding ceremony is a wordless one – but it’s not a silent one. These three bearded dudes played drums and sang traditional Punjabi wedding music – much like chanting throughout the entire wedding ceremony.
After the ceremony was over we left the main hall of the gurdwara. I removed the scarf from my head and put my stilettos back on. Felt like me again. Once again, volunteers prepared Indian food in a buffet for lunch. This time the food was served by some of the family members. The lunch was a little more hearty compared to breakfast. As much as I told myself “don’t eat any more” – it was just all so good. And there was more to come at the reception.
For a few hours Ernie and I went back to our hotel room before the reception which took place at a lovely venue for weddings and other big events owned by a winery. As we arrived appetizers were served and there was an open bar and lots of milling around. Lots of dancing, too. The music was booming. Ernie and I cut a rug and had a lot of fun, even if we didn’t understand the words to the music.
When the bride and groom made their entrance into the wedding reception room they looked very different. She was wearing a white dress, though Indian in style with a lot of gold embellishment. He was clean shaven and wearing a very modern suit. They both were beaming.
Dinner is served later in India. Same as in Europe. Ever been to Paris and the restaurants don’t even open up for dinner until 8:00 pm? At about 9:15 pm, six huge doors into a buffet area were opened and dinner was served. If this was a food blog I’d go into detail about the food. Suffice it to say everything was the most delicious Indian food I’ve ever had the opportunity to enjoy.
Unlike at the temple – it wasn’t vegetarian. Fish and two kinds of shrimp were served during the cocktail and appetizer hour. During dinner chicken and lamb curries were served. No beef or pork, of course.
Everyone we talked with and hung out with was lovely, gracious and full of fun. Old guys with salt and pepper beards were on the dance floor celebrating. Young women in saris and Indian dresses with the latest platform heels were getting their groove on to the music. It was a once in a lifetime experience I’ll remember with fondness the rest of my life.
We arrived in San Francisco on Friday afternoon. It was finally Monday and my sister and I had a few hours remaining before it was time to make our way back to the Hilton at Union Square where our bags were waiting and get a cab to the airport and our flights home. Cherie was shopped out. I was walked out. After a disappointing visit to Ghiradelli Square (most of the boutique-y shops are out of business now) we were
Suddenly Cherie said, “How ’bout we rent one of these for a couple hours.” I looked over and saw this screaming, taxi-cab yellow mini car called a “Go-Car.” They have three wheels and hold two adults. Barely. We had to watch a safety video and wear helmets for the ride. They also have a GPS-guided tour that tells you where to turn and a little bit about the history of certain landmarks and spots of interest. As you can see in the picture of Cherie on the right, you give the Go-Car gasoline like you would on a motorcycle. You’re warned not to drive over 30 miles per hour. Oh, and stay off all freeways and bridges.
The Go-Car putts along merrily. You’re sitting very close to the ground. The open “cabin” where we were seated is so tiny we had to put our purses in the even tinier trunk. A friend asked me, “Is it as small as a SmartCar?” I replied, “Take a SmartCar and cut the roof off and you just about have the size of the Go-Car.”
It doesn’t have a “reverse” gear. So, if you park somewhere to get out and look at the sights around you, you have to push the Go-Car out of your parking space, get back in, start it up (sometimes questionable) and get started ambling on down the road again.
The tour started out heading south, away from Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero. Soon we passed Ghiradelli Square again. Just a mile or two down the road we were away from the hustle-bustle of the city and along the waterfront. We saw lots of para-sailers on the East Beach. Apparently the endless wind blowing off the Pacific and the currents provide an almost constant opportunity for fun on the water.
The city is finally behind you. There are no skyscrapers. Soon, the iconic symbol of San Francisco, The Golden Gate Bridge, comes into view. As you look toward the water it’s almost as if you’re away from civilization except for the famous rusty-red bridge.
As we drove closer and closer, the bridge loomed larger and larger. You don’t realize what a massive structure The Golden Gate truly is until you get up close and personal.
We were right up next to the water’s edge. There’s a turn-off point just before going over the bridge where people can stop, take pictures and admire this engineering marvel. I think Cherie was a little afraid we’d end up driving on the bridge. In fact, there’s a little tunnel that actually burrows under the bridge and keeps heading south to some amazing places I’d never seen in previous visits to San Francisco.
We drove through The Presidio, and, as we drove we listened to the GPS Lady Guide fill us in on the highlights. I took a few pictures of Golden Gate Park as well. It’s a different world from the city nearby. Our handy-dandy GPS guide told us about the history of the place and how a man with a vision for a nature park at the city’s edge, a Scotsman named MacLaren was responsible for it’s development in the early 1900s. You can smell the fresh scent of pine trees. It’s lovely and green. There’s no other words to describe it except outrageously green, stunning, relaxed, Zen and a happy place.
One of the crazy things about the Go-Car was driving down hills. You would think that little putt-putt engine would have a challenge driving up hills. Not so. We would drive down a hill and and about a block or so from the bottom the Go-Car engine would peter out. A little scary at times with traffic around us, but Cherie stayed calm (no wonder – she and her husband are sailors and both certified sea captains). She always managed to get us started again while I was almost ready to bite my nails.
My guess is coming down the hills the Go-Car is running on gravity and there simply isn’t enough gasoline going through the fuel line to keep the engine going adequately. That’s just a guess.
Somewhere along the way we must’ve taken a wrong turn because the GPS Lady Guide went silent. There was a map on the tiny dashboard of the car. Cherie said, “Figure out where we’re at and how to get back to the Wharf area to return the Go-Car.” I didn’t want to tell her I’m pretty navigationally-challenged when it comes to maps. Even worse, my reading glasses were in my purse in the trunk so I couldn’t quite see what I was supposed to be figuring out.
If you look at the picture to the right (road and dashboard), in the lower right corner there’s a little orange box. It holds business cards. Okay, it wasn’t a smart move on my part, but I decided to wedge my cell phone in the box. It kept wanting to fall between my legs onto the floorboard and I thought it’d be safe. Again, my purse was in the trunk. We were less than a mile from the garage when Cherie hit a pothole. Before I could react my purple Blackberry went flying out of the box, banged onto the pavement and skittered under a parked car nearby.
“Cherie!” I screeched above the engine noise. “My cell phone!!” Quickly she pulled over and said, “I’ll drive around the block while you go find your phone.”
I unhinged the seatbelt, leaped out of the Go-Car and started jogging up the sidewalk, without a clue which car my phone landed beneath. Suddenly a man walked toward me with something outstretched in his hands. “Is this your cell phone?” he asked. In three separate pieces was my phone, the battery and the back cover. I thanked him profusely and then returned to the corner beaming as my sister picked me up. When I put the pieces back together again – it worked. Disaster averted!!
The Go-Car is a fun adventure to enjoy for a few hours in San Francisco. Just keep your helmet on, stay confident the engine will start again if it peters out, and, don’t put your cell phone (or anything else of value) in that little orange box on the dashboard. Have fun!
Generally I don’t go for the latest technology. There’s often bugs in the first version AND it’s the highest price. I’m not a big gadget person, anyway.
I decided to get the Flip Cam because as part of “Your Excellent Adventure” I want to bring lots of videos to you. Videos with good info to share. Videos of the places I see on my travels. I needed something uber-simple or it’ll stay in the case.
Back in the day – the average person didn’t have access to media. They talked at us. We either listened, listened and purchased or turned the channel. Now, it’s a whole new ball game.
Until recently Old Spice was a tired, old brand. Enter some new ads (seen largely as YouTube videos) featuring hunka, hunka burnin’ chocolate love former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa. So far so good. The videos are going crazy on YouTube.
Here’s where it shifts. Old Spice asked people to submit questions to Old Spice guy. One guy asked if he’d propose to his girlfriend. He did.
Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-fLV28SkZ8 (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste it into your browser window.)
The proposal video featuring Old Spice guy’s been online six days and has over 736,000 views. What does this mean? The average person has access to getting a message out in ways that were formerly impossible.
When my book was released, I wanted like crazy to get on Oprah and other national shows. Unfortunately, my crackpot publisher (don’t ask!) didn’t get distribution to major booksellers – so, no national TV exposure. I struggled, but made “Testosterone-Free Marketing” a business bestseller with internet sales – so it’s all good.
People ask, “When will you write another book?” Or, “When will you go BIG?”
My aim is to write and hopefully help people that way. It doesn’t have to be a book – but I do want to get paid. If I have an idea for a book I must write – I will. The world’s changing. Lately, I’m happy blogging, writing articles, etc. I can create a following using social media. When that following is big enough, I can get paid without being in bookstores or getting on Oprah.
Visit your average bookseller. What do you see? Books written by celebrities and wannabes. People with a big platform of fans growing bigger. People seen in Hollywood, reality TV, politics, or, they’ve had bestsellers out for decades. This is where the majority of book contracts go. Where are the thoughtful, intriguing books written by an unknown author that make you think and discover new ideas? They’re buried or never make it into print. Without promoting the right way – well, fuddegaboudit.
Recently I met a woman who paid $65,000 for a package that promised support getting her book written, published, promoted and a bunch of bells and whistles. The guru who sold her the package fell short. But that’s not the point. People are desperate to crack the code on becoming known.
Create an Internet following and your own platform. Become a known expert on twitter, your fan page or your blog. Don’t wish and hope for national TV exposure. Build your following, your tribe, one happy fan at a time. And, do it from your laptop or Ipad while enjoying an excellent adventure.
Yesterday I mentioned I’m starting to realize what I don’t know, and, what I need to know to make a successful shift to living an excellent adventure. For me it’s a lot of tekky stuff. The minute I just THINK about doing tekky stuff I want to stick knitting needles in my eyeballs.
I tell myself – I’d rather write a few articles. Or, it’s easier to get a new client offline. Or, I’ll do both. Sure, I’ve blogged before. Heck, I’ve been doing online networking for seven years – but now my aim is to make it all an integral part of my business and make it work together. Totally different. And for me, not always fun. Not yet anyway.
There is this tendency (I wrote about this in my book) for home-based business owners – especially women, to think they have to research and know everything before they can actually launch and get out there. If they have a business selling lotions and potions they have to know absolutely everything about the product so they can answer any possible question. Right down to the mollecular structure. If a woman wants to start an internet business she wants to study every comparable website out there before making a move.
So, we tend to get understandably upset when we see a guy who doesn’t seem to know nearly as much as us – and they just jump in and scoop up the customers and the market we were researching, studying and planning to get into for so long.
The difference? He may not have the technical knowledge. But he has the confidence perhaps you lack and he took action. You may still be safely ensconced in your comfort zone.
Business is not a research project. It’s about taking action. In fact, life is about taking action, too. What action do you need to take that you’ve been holding off on?
NOTE: Tomorrow’s post will be about “The Paradox of Learning.” Come back for the rest of the story.
by Denise Michaels
The most fun part of putting on a workshop is seeing the lights go on in the eyes of the participants. My job is to not just educate them – but also to entertain them and keep them wanting to listen for a full day. These are women who are dedicated to enjoy success. The kind of women who are willing to acknowledge maybe there’s something I can learn. I know they need more confidence. Maybe there are things I need to learn and do differently if I want to get a different result. I also know they need that cause and effect link between our personal selves and our business selves that results in a better outcome.
I woke up in the morning feeling both excited and calm and I think I stayed that way all day long. I had so much fun sharing “Testosterone-Free Marketing” with the attendees and my strategies to help customers happily say “yes.” The great thing about this workshop is that the attendees walk away not just with an attitude adjustment in terms of their self esteem – they also get hand on tools they can go out and use immediately.
People buy based on emotion – and then the back it up with logic.
One of the parts I love is when I ask people to share their insights, ah-has and light bulb moments. A woman who was asking all the right questions of her sales prospects – except she wasn’t asking for the sale. A woman realized how easy it was to sell when she was working for a big corporations – but once she was out on her own – everything changed. Another woman who realized as a life coach that she was doing everything wrong – because she was following the recommendations of the coaching institution where she got her training. There were major a-has for every person in the room.
I get so enthusiastic when I do an event like this.
The testimonials are already starting to come in:
“I do a lot of one-on-one meetings with prospective clients for my business so the most powerful tool I got from your workshop was how to use your Five Magic Questions to close more sales with ease. It became crystal clear to me how much money I’ve been leaving on the table. I also needed a way to tell my story so it’s succinct and emotionally compelling. You shared a perfect way to do that, too. I helped by handing out flyers about the workshop because I loved your book. Now that I’ve actually attended your workshop, I’m going to insist more women take it. I was amazed how some women felt they weren’t “ready” yet. Every woman business owner needs ‘How to Make Customers Happily say YES!’”
The Nitta Way
“Before attending Denise’s workshop I thought I had to discount my prices. I was undercharging and hurting myself. Also, I was marketing what I thought clients might want – I wasn’t marketing my passion for empowering women with their personal fashion. I discovered the more my fees are in alignment, the more value I create. I don’t have to be the “nice girl” giving stuff away hoping to get business with freebies. I also learned how to attract more ideal clients who will want to pay for my passion and knowledge. In just one day after attending your workshop I know who my ideal client is – people who will happily pay me what I’m worth. Now more than ever, if you think you have to discount, if you don’t have as many ideal clients you want, get to Denise’s next “How to Make Customers Happily say YES!” workshop. The price of NOT attending is way too high.”
Stephanie Ann Vehon
“My marketing challenge before experiencing Denise Michaels’ workshop is that I love what I do and I’m good at it, but, I wasn’t happy with the number of people enrolled at my workshops. At her “How to Make Customers Happily say YES!” workshop, I discovered it was time to get out of my own way and stop talking about my workshop. Instead, focus on the needs, emotions and concerns of prospective attendees. Duh! It wasn’t rocket science but with Denise’s help I finally understood how I can help attendees and clients on a deeper level than ever.
Using Denise’s Five Magic Questions, I now stay on track. I’m focused on their concerns and how my workshop can help them get more of what they want. It’s simple and powerful. Any woman business owner who wants more people happily saying yes – don’t miss out. Reserve your space for Denise’s next workshop NOW! She uses life experience, humor, a shoot-from-the-hip style and her amazing marketing skills to empower and inform.”
Joy & Associates
“I thought I was on top of it when it comes to marketing. However, I realized I knew what I liked but was clueless when it comes to understanding what my customers liked. Denise Michaels’ “How to Make Customers Happily say YES!” workshop forced me to question my beliefs about marketing. It was an intense experience because I was riveted learning how our belief systems impact our buying decisions. And her Five Magic Questions truly are magical to get better results closing the sale. It’s amazing when you finally get what we think is going on and what’s really going on. The workshop shook my foundation – in a good way. Now my business will be more successful than ever before.”
Connections 2 Cruise
By Denise Michaels, Author, “Testosterone-Free Marketing”
Maybe you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now. Maybe you know me from when I used to be a trainer and mentor for a mega-bestselling author and seminar guy. Maybe you’re a previous marketing mentoring client. Or, maybe you’ve never heard of me before.
It doesn’t matter. If you’re a woman, home-based business owner and you really want to discover the secrets to take your business to the next level – but do it your way – without all the testosterone – come to Las Vegas and discover how to:
* Attract ideal customers who pay on time and are a pleasure to deal with
* Get them to happily say “Yes!” and know you’re aligned with them and have their best interests at heart
* Do business with people you like – so you don’t waste time on customers who are a pain
* Create a plan to help you easily draw in more people who want to and DO say “yes” to you
* Discover why you’ve held back from success and how to get the word out in a woman friendly way
… and much more.
My “No-fluff Testosterone-Free Marketing Magic Workshop” is being held Monday November 2nd in Las Vegas from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Get to Las Vegas. Attend the workshop and get more great ideas that’ll work for you as a woman business-owner than you ever imagined. Average temperatures for Las Vegas the first week of November are sunny and in the high 60 degree to low 70 degree range, Farenheit. Share your travel expenses with a girlfriend whose also a business owner and attend together. I just checked on Expedia.com and the hotel where the workshop will be held has a special rate of just $49 Sunday and Monday nights.
I’ll be presenting. The event will be limited to just 35 attendees. It’s small and intimate – so check into it now. Plus, there’s an Early Bird Discount right now that you don’t want to miss out on. For more information and to register click on the link at the top of the page that says, “Denise’s Events.”
I’d love to meet you in Las Vegas and help you enjoy the rest of 2009 and 2010!!! *smile*
By Denise Michaels, Author, “Testosterone-Free Marketing”
Ever wondered how small business owners seem to get headlines in the media while you’ve sent in media releases in the past – but nothing’s ever happened? Today’s post is about how to use the news in a positive way to promote and market your business more successfully. This strategy is testosterone-free, can be done on a shoestring budget and will help women discover one of the secrets to media coverage that works.
Yesterday my post was about how to get a more balanced view of the news. How to see it in a more clear way, stay on top of things and spend less time doing it. Today is about promoting your business – plain and simple. Marketing you – the woman who owns a business. And, understanding news really CAN make a positive difference for a change.
This strategy is known as the “hook” or the “angle.”
If you recall in yesterday’s post one of the ways the media uses to fill up their hours and hours of endless news coverage time is to spin off new “angles” or “tangents” on the same story. Guess what? You may be able to help them to do just that. *wink*
When a story is really big and there is a tremendous amount of interest in it – reporters, editors and producers are desperately looking for new “angles” or “hooks” to keep up the already heightened interest. When they say a story has “legs” it means there are a lot of ways that story can keep going and going.
The biggest news story of the decade was the event that took place September 11, 2001. Look at all the groups impacted:
• People in New York
• People who got out of the World Trade Center buildings
• Families of the people who didn’t get out
• The fire department that helped and lost 300+ firefighters
• Employees and families of Canton Fitzgerald on the 96th floor most of whom perished
• The travel industry New York
• The airline industry nationwide
• Hawaiin tourism – their primary industry – took a huge hit
• Rudy Giuliani (the mayor of NYC at the time) surged in popularity
• The insurance company in Switzerland who insured the buildings that fell
• A manufacturer of American flags in New Jersey had skyrocketing sales
• A suburb in New Jersey lost 50+ residents
• The funeral industry was impacted and there was a shortage of caskets
• Broadway and the theatres on the Great White Way
• 143 people who perished were from Great Britain
• People around the US who had relatives in 9/11
• Our US military
• … and many, many more
Every one of the bullets above created stories in newspapers, on TV, radio and online – sometimes numerous stories. I could go on writing bullets like what you see above for another hour – but hopefully you get the idea how two planes flying into the World Trade Center impacted not just those buildings and the people in them but much, much more.
Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to watch for big news stories and create an angle or a hook where you can respond as an expert or authority within your business. It doesn’t have to be nearly as big a story as 9/11 was. But it must be big enough to have legs. And when it happens you need to respond quickly.
Let me give you three examples:
Several years ago there was a guy in Atlanta who was in the courtroom being sentenced – I think it was for attempted rape. Somehow he managed to steal the gun from the bailiff. Then, he shot and killed the judge and bailiff. Next he got out of the courthouse and stole a car. He killed two more people on his spree and ended up at the apartment of Ashley Smith at 2:00 am. She’d just arrived home from buying cigarettes at the drug store across the street. In an ordeal that lasted all night she successfully talked this killing machine into taking her out of bondage and turning himself into police. Media called her a hero.
I wrote a media release and sent it out nationally saying she used “testosterone-free” marketing skills without even knowing it to bring the guy to justice. That release got me a 20 minute spot on a local TV interview show AND an article in a national business publication.
Here’s a second example:
Last July, the President was in a tele-town hall sponsored by AARP. He was asked about his health care plans. Particularly about one teensy part that allows doctors to get paid to talk with patients about their choices regarding end-of-life care. Obama replied he thought this was good because it encourages people to have a living will and we all should have a living will. And he said he and the First Lady both have a living will.
Well, I have a client who is an Elder Law attorney. I called her about this and suggested she check it out on CNN.com. Then I told her to write a media release positioning her as an authority in this regard. She did and got news coverage in her city – she still has a waiting list of clients who want her to draw up their living wills.
One last example:
I saw a story on CNN that said in a recent study it’s been determined that tanning beds are horribly carcinogenic and are a sure way to get skin cancer if you keep tanning that way on a regular basis. This story came out the beginning of August and Ernie and I had just returned from a glamorous one week cruise down to the Mexican Riviera. The day before we left I went to a woman who owns a business doing spray tans.
When I heard the story I called her on the phone and told her. I said she should write a media release reinforcing that spray tans are a safer way to go. She didn’t write the release but she put a box on her website with the story’s headline and a link to the video on CNN.com. Also, whenever she went to networking events she included that headline in her “elevator speech.” She told me just being aware of that news story helped her business tremendously the last couple months.
The moral is – don’t be afraid of the news or the media. Look at it not as a regular Joe or Joanne six-pack news consumer. Instead look for opportunities and ways that it can help your own business to grow and succeed.
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By Denise Michaels, Author, “Testosterone-Free Marketing”
You’re busy. You don’t have a lot of time for news. However, as a woman, home-based business owner out in the world, it’s probably a good strategy to keep up with what’s happening. Then there’s all that negativity in the news. Who needs all the dire predictions of increased terror alerts and another murder weighing you down?
This two part article provides a few smart guidelines for slightly overwhelmed women business owners to keep up with news without getting caught up in it. Maybe you can even benefit from it. Hopefully, I have some useful knowledge for the task. Journalism was one of my majors in college (Marketing was the other).
If you’re over 40 it may be hard to remember a day when we didn’t have so much TV news. There was a half hour in the morning. A half hour at noon. A half hour at dinner time. And a half hour at 11:00 pm. That’s it. I remember when NBC’s The Today Show was one hour – now it’s four hours. It’s crazy.
Traditional news as an industry is going through massive change. It’s not just in the last year with the economic tailspin we’ve experienced. In the last two decades with the onset of the internet, newpapers and two a lesser degree are barely hanging on with their fingernails for survival.
“So what? Why should I care?” you say. Consider this: the vast majority of investigative journalism that uncovers the big stories is provided by and paid for by traditional news sources. Newspapers and TV are online – but most haven’t yet figured out how to turn online news into a profitable business model that supports all their costs.
There are three cable news networks that report all news all the time: FOX, CNN and MSNBC. Then there’s ever-increasing news programming on network television. Then there’s what I call “niche news” like CSpan, providing gavel to gavel coverage of Congress. “E” is about entertainment news – basically celebrity fluff.
Since there’s not much more happening, but 24 hours of time to fill and tougher competition for ratings (which is translated to advertising revenues and survival) what’s a network exec to do?
There’s plenty of news out there – but by and large Americans aren’t overly concerned with international headlines. Also, we seem to only be able to handle a few snippets of good news – what gets eyeballs glued to the the tube are the three Cs: conflict, controversy and confrontation If happy, positive news of what’s right in the world got the same kind of ratings – believe me – that’s what would be aired.
• Repeat the same story over and over again. Ever notice how the same video image is looped over and over again?
• Spin off new “angles” or “tangents” on the same story – this tactic can be an opportunity for your business I’ll discuss in a future post.*
• Sensationalize and whip up stories that are much ado about nothing into a frenzy.
One truism for news: “When dog bites man – that’s not news. Ahhhh, but when man bites dog? THAT’S news!
TV news is the most sensational. Why? It’s all about entertainment value – it’s a show. Written words seem less crazy-making than visual images and out-of-breath news anchors. What to do? Get your news online in written form or from a newspaper. If you feel you must watch – watch short videos online. Most of the commercials are removed – so you save time. And, you don’t have to watch stories you’re not interested in.
No matter where you get news – mix it up. Don’t get it from just one source if you want a balanced point of view. Sure, it’s pleasant to read or watch news that always agrees with your point of view. But it’s smart to understand the other side.
Also, avail yourself of news sources from other countries. BBC for example. Since my husband is originally from India, I get a kick out of Times of India. Just click on “World” and you’ll get a whole new perspective about how that part of the world sees us. Other online newspapers in English originate from different countries, too.
Let me give you an example:
FOX News clearly leans to the conservative right, politically. The network has spearheaded and given the most airtime to the “tea party” demonstrations and other right wing interests. FOX is most likely to oppose the current administration in the White House. Sean Hannity is especially virulent in his disdain of our current President. Many of his “news stories” fall into the category of much ado about nothing whipped into a frenzy.
Last week apparently a video surfaced on YouTube of school children singing songs praising President Obama. Hannity reported it as children being indoctrinated akin to something like “Hitler Youth.”
The next morning I saw the same “story” reported on CNN. The school principal was interviewed. She shared a few details: it was a one time program during Black History Month. The school children sang songs about President Washington, President Lincoln and President Obama. You still might now agree – but it’s a very different story indeed. But you would never get that context if you only watched the Hannity version of the story.
So, when reading or watching news keep these guidelines in mind.
• Don’t get overwhelmed with it.
• Limit your time with it.
• Avoid over-exposure to TV news
• And not too much all from one source.
• It’s all about balance.
Tomorrow my blog post will be about how you can use the news in a positive way to help promote your business.
PS: Go to http://www.EmpowerUAcademy.com for my marketing and empowerment tipse. Also, find out about my one-on-one mentoring program at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com