Always Leave the Campsite Cleaner Than You Found It

My father was a Boy Scout. An Eagle Scout actually. He taught me from an early age, “Always leave the campsite cleaner than you found it.” This is good advice. A good way to live. The idea being, that when you clean up your campsite at the end of your stay, clean up anything you brought, or discarded, or left behind. But also, if you should see a soda can or cigarette butt or crumpled piece of paper tossed aside by someone else, clean that up too. Don’t just leave it there because you’re not the one that dropped it in the first place. Make sure that your presence at that campsite results in leaving it in an even better condition than you found it.

This advice can, and should, be applied to most anything in life. Whether it’s picking up garbage as you walk your dog, putting a fallen loaf of bread back on the shelf at the grocery store, or taking the time to turn in a stray mitten to the lost & found. On a different level, “leaving the campsite cleaner than you found it” can (and again, should) be applied to our interactions with other people. In our relationships with loved ones, co-workers, and strangers, we should strive to add something positive, pleasant, encouraging, or helpful to our interactions.

What is this touch-feely advice doing on our marketing blog, you might ask? What does this have to do with your business? Could be, should be…a lot! Applying this cleaner-campsite-philosophy to your interactions with clients, customers, co-workers and associates can have far reaching benefits. A key, however, is that you’re not doing these kindnesses to get a benefit. When you have a self-serving ulterior motive, people can usually see right through that. Do the right thing, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

If you provide financial services, but see that your client could benefit from some legal advice, refer them to a trusted associate. If you own a bakery and your customer is placing their usual order for oatmeal cookies, but inquiring about your new cupcakes, give them one for free. Where you have the opportunity to support other entrepreneurs, do that! We need each other to succeed. Whether through referrals, sharing your time and experience or making networking introductions, your kindness will (almost) always be appreciated and (often) be reciprocated.

We live in an age when many people avoid direct human interactions in place of disappearing into their handheld, laptop, or desktop devices. Try using your necktop device! (See what I did there?) Look people in the eye, shake their hand, smile. Relate with your fellow human beings and do something nice for someone. It’ll be good for your business and good for your soul.

4 Tips to Use LinkedIn Successfully

4 Tips to Use LinkedIn Successfully

I’ve found myself being very active on LinkedIn lately and that got me to thinking…how can LinkedIn really benefit my career?

Not that social media outlets benefit me in any way (other than giving me the satisfaction of being nosey and snooping into people’s lives), LinkedIn has a reputation of being the “it” social media for networking and potentially finding a new career, so for a 23-year-old like me, yea I would say that’s important. Other than the basic network building, professional profile picture and job search, I wanted to figure out other ways I could fully benefit from LinkedIn.

So, like what usually happens when I have a daunting question, I turned to my good friend, Google. Browsing through dozens of articles, I came up with my version of 4 tips that one could use to fully benefit from the LinkedIn experience:

Use your profile to showcase everything that doesn’t fit on your resume

As we might have all learned when we first started applying to jobs, keeping our resumes neat and straight to the point is the goal. Well my friends, let your fingers do all the typing they desire because LinkedIn is the perfect place to jot down every summer job, volunteer opportunity and skill set that you might have. I mean c’mon, they even changed their algorithm to fit up to 1,000 characters per section, fill that sucker up.

Snooping is key (also my favorite thing to do)

Once you’ve got a valuable network, snooping is the best way to use LinkedIn, but only after you’ve forged good connections. For example, lets say you’re interested in a job posting, you can use LinkedIn to find former employees who could potentially give you real insight on the company or position. 

Take advantage of the blog on your profile

Did you know you can write blogs to your LinkedIn account?! I say this because not many people know about it, and if they do, they shy away. Well, I am living proof that writing a blog shouldn’t intimidate you…you’d be surprised with the content that your brain can come up with. Your blogs can be about anything you enjoy or find interesting (obviously not something inappropriate) and they’re an awesome way to showcase your thoughts, ideas and writing skills! 

Stay active!

I can’t stress this enough. Even if you are at a good place and are happy in your career (if you are, congrats), it is important to stay active on the LinkedIn radar. Share posts, comment on articles, update your profile, etc. because you never know when you might need someone in your network!

So as you can see, my epiphany with LinkedIn was great. I figured, if I’m going to spend a lot of time editing my work experience and picking a profile picture that captures my professionalism but doesn’t make me look like a robot, I could also use my time making the most out of this business community. I hope you learned a thing or two and take my [awesome] tips into consideration next time you’re logged in.

Game Faces

Game Faces

You’ve heard it from everyone, your colleagues, other business owners, your dog- networking is fundamental to growing your business. That means you need to get out there, meet new people and introduce yourself and your business to everyone.

That seems like an easy thing to do, and it is certainly an easy thing to suggest for someone to do. But the reality for many small business owners is that we are paralyzed by fear, or our expectations are never met, or, sometimes, we are having a bad day and don’t want to socialize. Whatever the reason, sometimes we just don’t want to go to that event.

Entrepreneurs are often caught up in trying to make the best impression, trying to make sure we meet everyone- and all the right people. We end up losing touch with who we are as individuals and everything becomes about the business. Many of us are also perfectionists, so when we attend an event – we want to make sure our elevator pitch is perfect, we are on top of our game and we are feeling good.

The thing is, nothing is ever perfect. And that’s ok.

This week I had an event lined up that I was initially very excited about attending, but as the week began and the date of the event crept closer I became more and more worried about attending. You see, over the weekend, my dog accidently smashed his very large (Great Dane) head into mine- and his canine tooth punctured the skin of my forehead. This giant gash on my face was an unforeseen accident- and it completely derailed my enthusiasm most things  in life (having a crazy bad headache will do that) and especially for the event later this week. As the week wore on and my face and eyes began to swell up more and more, and the bruising began to develop I was mortified that I would have to go to an event and meet people- I mean, what a first impression!

While I went through my week feeling like Sloth from Goonies, I looked for ways out of attending and even tried to convince myself it wasn’t going to be a worthwhile event.  I was still talking myself out of it in the car in the parking lot outside the event. I took one last look at my bruised- but thankfully much less swollen face in the visor mirror, took a deep breath and decided to go in.

And, I am glad I did.

It was a great event, I met a bunch of people and made a ton of new connections. That last breath in the car was the “let all the worry go” breath- and it worked. It worked like it always does. And I was able to go in there, be myself and talk about my business. Was it perfect? Certainly not. Did that matter? No.

So listen, the point here is, I know it can be hard and there are a million reasons why you don’t want to go to the networking event. But, if I can do it with a head wound and swollen face- then you can do it.

Breathe. Let the worry go. Put your game face on. You’ve got this.