Revelations from Adult Children, aka Confessions and Lame Excuses, part 1

Ziva, 4, fights off garden dragon

Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.
– Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It?

There must be something magical that happens when an adult child hits the quarter century mark. Some parents are blessed with an adult child that has become an asset to society and is either employed (not as a superstore grocery cart collector) or is attending college. Then there are parents whose quarter-century child still lives at home, in the basement, wandering from job to job or taking an occasional night class, as long as it doesn’t interfere with friends and gaming.

Whichever category of parent you are, there comes a time when your child will approach you with a confession. Sometimes these confessions are triggered by a conversation, a movie, a family crisis, or a streak of conscience. Some of the confessions I received came after spending the night in the emergency room with my daughter and granddaughter or after a pleasant afternoon together. Regardless of the confessional trigger, it’s tough to be prepared for the confessions; just know they will occur. Here are some of my favorites gathered from other parents:

  • One daughter was caught driving without a license at the age of 15. She snuck out of the house at 2am (on a school night) to visit a girlfriend. The friend wanted to ‘drag Main Street’ and then drink afterward. However, the friend drank too much, too soon. Afraid to call for help, the daughter drove the friend home but forgot to turn on the headlights which attracted the attention of the police.
  • Another daughter called her mother from her ‘friend’s’ apartment, asking how to clean an apartment. The mother was suspicious and asked why she was cleaning his apartment (knowing full well how much the daughter disliked cleaning her own room). Advice was given, but 6 weeks later the daughter confessed she was pregnant, linking the event to the friend’s apartment cleaning.
  • Another daughter confessed to creating a nauseating concoction of creamed corn and cocoa powder to convince her parents she was sick. The mixture was deposited into the appropriate receptacle when she was unprepared for school or simply did not want to go anywhere.
  • A son confessed that the broken car window was not the result of a break in, but hanging out with friends, getting drunk, and accidentally locking the keys in the car. They broke the window to gain access and concocted a robbery story. The son also confessed that he later discovered the keys had been in his coat pocket the entire time.
  • A son confessed that he sold the family silverware to buy cigarettes and beer.
  • Another son learned to turn the odometer of the family car back and modify his father’s tire marks to hide his late night escape with friends.

Are you cringing? Are you nodding in sympathy? Those of us who have received confessions are left with jaw gaping and stifled laughter. When asked ‘why are you telling me this now?’ most children would state they felt it was time their parents knew. Others would admit they didn’t know why other than to clear their conscience. At the time, there would have been severe consequences, but maybe since they are now ‘adults’ they are free from punishment. Is it too late?

And these are just after-the-fact confessions. Next week, we’ll explore the lame excuses our adult children have tossed us. Are you ready?

What confessions have you received from your children? Did you confess your sins of youth to your parents? You’re among friends here; let’s hear your tales.

Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business

4 Years Strong and 1 Million Cups Continues to Inspire

In 2012, The Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri introduced the first 1 Million Cups program. Their mission was to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs with their community and resources. In 2013, St. Louis added the event to their entrepreneurial activities.

An entrepreneur myself, I first attended the event December 2014 and attended their 2nd anniversary in 2015 (read my experience here). Now, 2 years later, I have returned from their 4th anniversary with equal inspiration, motivation, and insight.

Similar to their 2nd anniversary, the St. Louis 1 Million Cups invited past presenters back for a session on what they learned, highs and lows, and advice.

When asked how their original 1MC presentation made a difference, the common reply was the unexpected reach their video provided them, archived on the 1MC site. Secondly, their presentation validated their credibility and presence in the entrepreneurial environments.

The advice shared remains consistent from 2015 with some extra considerations:

  • Be persistent; stick to your values and your vision
  • Be humble
  • Maintain your focus; life will be easier!
  • Keep getting out there; entrepreneurs spend a lot of time on the phone or their devices. There is great value in meeting others, getting involved, and reaching out.
  • Surround yourself with a dedicated team
  • Be careful who you trust; not everyone will share your values and may sabotage your efforts
  • You know your business best; stick with your vision to avoid straying too far from it.
  • Apply advice with caution; while peers’ advice is well-meaning, it isn’t always the best advice. Remember that you won’t be able to please everyone.
  • If you build it, they will come; while this is the ‘dream’, it isn’t reality. Apply the wisdom above to attract the audience you desire.

When asked what fears they overcame, here are the replies:

Connie Fry of Pony Pizza Company

  • I dealt with a bug infestation in my product. It was devastating but I regrouped and overcame that issue.

Dawn Manske of Made for Freedom

  • I have a fear of failing so it’s the driving force that keeps me moving forward.

Nick Szabo of Get Swizzle

  • Becoming a new parent and startup founder was frightening. I struggled with how to take care of both simultaneously and emerged with extreme time-management skills.

Ali Ahmadi of AirZaar

  • Quitting my corporate job and the financial burden created fear for me. Also a new father, it was my child that got me through the emotional and mental turmoil.

Andrew Glantz of Gift a Meal

  • I feared my youth would be a deterrent; not having enough experience, not being taken seriously, and letting them down troubled me, but instead became the driving force to accomplish my vision.

Rob Rose of SaniTrace

  • I didn’t know anything about the food market or running a business. I taught myself while building and promoting my business.

In the short time since these entrepreneurs presented at 1MC, they have experienced growth personally and professionally. Ari Ahmadi summarized entrepreneurship best:

“Starting a business is miserable. Get up, get out and learn.”

The presenters, the audience, and I agree with his sentiments. We also agree that there is no greater satisfaction than to know we are helping to solve a problem in the world.

What problem will you solve?
Kristen Edens

Educate, Communicate, Collaborate: Top Takeaways from AMA-STL

What’s new in marketing? Attend a local AMA chapter or conference to find out in a knowledge-packed half-day event! I had the pleasure of being invited to attend the 56th Annual St. Louis American Marketing Association Student Conference. Even with ‘student’ in the title, each generation was represented, bringing with them insight, experience, and a willingness to learn and apply the latest marketing strategies for business success. As has been the norm, content is still a high necessity, but the manner in which it is created and distributed has evolved. Below are the highlights from the presenters from this high-intensity conference.

Matt D’Rion, Worry Free Marketing: How to Achieve Positive Impact with an Effective Website. 5 needed elements include:

  • SEO—search engine optimization, defined as any action taken to attract leads to your website. A missing element for many business owners is the SEO title; the more descriptive this title, the easier it will be for Google to rank, read, and direct your readers.
  • Website Copy—a critical aspect of the user experience (UX). Give your reader something to do. Make the click tabs easy to find and easy to follow. Take your readers on a journey that builds a relationship, serves their needs, and solves their problems.
  • User Experience—you have a few seconds to give your visitor what they need. If they don’t find it FAST, they are gone. Use this opportunity to generate an opportunity to connect, donate, or participate.
  • Lead Generation->Sales Funnel—keep your visitors on the site with calls to action and informative content. Make it simple to move through the sales funnel while building a relationship of trust.

Andrea Olson, Prag’madik: Building a Differentiated Global Brand

Andrea shares her branding expertise with this handy summary of 10 Commandments of Global Branding. While her focus is global, these points are equally significant regardless of whether your audience is local or international:

  • Understand similarities and differences across cultural landscapes
  • Don’t take shortcuts
  • Establish marketing infrastructure locally
  • Embrace integrated marketing communications (technology)
  • Cultivate local partnerships
  • Balance standardization and adaptation
  • Establish operable guidelines (customization)
  • Establish success metrics
  • Leverage core brand elements
  • Adapt and refine continually

Johanna Dettman and Kaysha Hanock, tSunela: How a Digital Marketing Partnership Can Impact Client Retention and Referral Patterns

The team at tSunela discussed blending traditional marketing methods with the social/digital marketing strategies that’s dominating today’s business strategy:

  • Digital marketing is easier to track; traditional marketing is not.
  • Combining both marketing styles allows a business to stay relevant, saves time & money, provides more flexibility, offers an objective perspective, and measures ROI (return on investment).

Their advice when partnering:

  • Don’t hide collaboration from the partnership—let everyone know upfront who is involved with your marketing initiatives.
  • Share research, data, plans, with other team members
  • Provide timelines for project completion
  • Review strategies to ensure consistent communication
  • Define roles of all involved
  • Do not take or accept guarantees: the environment is changing too fast to promise results.
  • Involve traditional and digital marketers in pitch sessions
  • Refer clients to one another as often as possible
  • Keep the focus on the client!

Keynote Speakers Eric Stisser, Sr. VO of Corporate Sales for St. Louis Blues and Jackie Miller, Dir. Of Corporate Sponsorship & Activation for St. Louis Blues.

This team discussed the marketing efforts of the St. Louis Blues Winter Classic. Both speakers mentioned that a lot of time and dedication went into producing a successful event, but the vital factors that emerged were:

  • Be polite, persistent, engaged.
  • Communicate!
  • Look up, not down—look people in the eye and get involved. Talk. Communicate. Leave your cell phone at home and give listeners your full attention.
  • Most of all: remember it’s always a team environment.

The current marketing trends may seem overwhelming but what is emerging is collaboration and cooperation across all spectrums, including marketing styles, generational expertise, and a wiser consumer. What can you bring to your business as a student, business owner or entrepreneur?

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Tweet Chats: A Great Resource for Continuing Education and Relationship Building

My first introduction to tweet chats occurred out of desperation. I wanted to attend a blogging conference and couldn’t arrange the time, travel, and expense around my business life and caregiving life. I was rather discouraged that I couldn’t attend and jumped online to research alternatives.

While visiting the blog conference’s twitter page, I noticed a tweet that invited followers to a tweet chat. After a quick search to discover what a ‘tweet chat’ was, I decided to give it a try.

A tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.

*Hint for newcomers: high tweet volume is expected. My advice: read fast!*

Even though my meager attempts to reply to an interesting thread were way behind the initial post, I learned A LOT, gained several new followers and have found many more Twitter Chats to enjoy. They have become a weekly source of continuing education, relationship building, online networking, also leading to increased reach and exposure. Another benefit is a crash-course lesson in Twitter. I have almost mastered Tweet Chat (a platform that streams chat feeds in a neat and orderly manner) and recommend you use this or a similar tool to simplify the experience.

Here are my favorite chats to date (February 2017):

#blogchat Sunday 9pmET/6pmPT: founder and moderator Mack Collier introduced this chat to discuss blog-related themes from idea generating, blogging platforms, tools, trends, best practices and much, much more.

#blogelevated Monday 10pmET/7pmPT: Blog Elevated is a chat, conference and Facebook community dedicated to bloggers and influencers.

#blogher17 Tuesday 1pmET/10amPT: is a chat dedicated to women bloggers and the annual BlogHer conference. Their mission is to create opportunities and build exposure. The topics cover issues related to these goals.

#contentchat Monday 3pmET/12pmPT: Erika Heald moderates this chat which brings together content creators and content marketers to share their challenges and best practices.

#cmworld Tuesday at 12pmET/9amPT: sponsored by the Content Marketing Institute, participants discuss the latest trends in content marketing and receive advice from experts.

#smallbizchat Wednesday at 8pmET/5pmPT: Launched by Melissa Emerson, this chat is a peer-to-peer mentoring program to help entrepreneurs get answers to their small business questions.

Watch your Twitter notifications for all the people who commented, retweeted or followed you following the tweet chat. It’s a good place to return after you’ve caught your breath, your heart rate has returned to normal, and you can respond in a calm manner. Here’s a tip: a lot of chat participants will continue to respond over the next 24 hours. You won’t be the only one needing to breathe and catch up!

Each of these chats are focused on my professional interests, but there are hundreds of chats covering an almost endless supply of topics. To view what’s available, Twitter Chat Schedule is an easy way to search.

Just beware: tweet chats are addicting! Do you have a favorite chat? Share it below!

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

Business Mistakes Learned the Hard Way: 5 Entrepreneurs Share their Story

Where are you in your entrepreneurial pursuits? Idea stage? Development stage? Growth Stage? Whatever stage that may be, there is excitement and uncertainty. Many of us know to seek out mentors, business coaches, and peers about their experiences and insights. For good reason too: learn from them. Listen to their advice. Take their words of wisdom and apply it to your own situation. Yet, regardless of where we are in the process, we will encounter obstacles and problems. We KNOW we will make mistakes; we KNOW there will be failure, but we fight to minimize the depth of failure. However, there are situations that pop up without warning or they creep up on us to create havoc. These 5 entrepreneurs share their story and lessons learned:

Jennifer Tamborski

Jennifer Tamborski, Virtual Admin Experts: “Hiring people and being a leader is entirely different from the corporate world. I hired employees and set them loose, assuming they knew what I knew. When they came back to me confused and lost, I realized I didn’t have the processes necessary for my employees to effectively perform their job. It’s a process I had to learn as I taught them.”

Lesson learned: a clear, concise, communication and documentation plan must be established. Follow-up with employees is just as important as follow-up with clients.

**

Chris MacLellan

Chris MacLellan, Whole Care Network: “My theological background inspired me to trust without hesitation. That approach to life did not transfer well to business. I didn’t discover this until I handed over the IP (intellectual property) to a business connection in which the gesture was not reciprocated. As a result, I lost lots of money and my humility. It took a great deal of time to restructure my business, much of which conflicted with my trusting nature.”

Lesson learned: Life skills do not always transfer well to business skills.

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Mary Scott

Mary Scott, Make Believe TV: “Create a clear, contractual arrangement for each project which includes payment agreements and pricing for situations that influence the service offered. All decisions must be clear and understood before the project (or any part of the business arrangement) begins. If it isn’t clear, it will cost a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Lesson learned: Do not rush into a project without the proper documentation.

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Angie Monko

Angie Monko, Harmony Harbor Coaching: “I jumped into business without a clear plan, quickly becoming distracted by multiple business objectives. I didn’t recognize the situation until ~18 months later when cash flow and momentum declined. It took another 18 months to create a business plan and to begin recovery.”

Lesson learned: Create a business plan, follow it, and revise as your business shifts and grows.

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Paul Heirendt, True Bearing Advisors: During my corporate days, I had ‘two young guys’ working with me. They frequently joked, ‘You’re not the boss of me’, which resulted in them learning very little and becoming a liability rather than an asset. I eventually left the corporate world and took one of these young guys with me. As his urging, we moved into his uncle’s free office space in downtown St. Louis. The caveat: the uncle’s son must become the CEO of my company. With no written partnership and nearly 100% of the company in my name, I dealt with legal issues, lost opportunities, lost revenue, and lots of bad blood.”

Lesson learned: It’s better off not partnering unless each member can prove their value AND share the same business goals.

**

These entrepreneurs faced some crushing blows to their business growth but regrouped, adjusted and recovered. Communication and documentation were the top business issues. How can you apply their lessons? Share your ideas or stories below.

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler

5 Exercise Tips for Entrepreneurs—Plus 1 If You Really Hate Exercise

push-ups-888024_1280

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” – Wilhelm von Humboldt

Do you have a history with exercise? Or is it a love/hate relationship?

My exercise history began in my early teens. My brothers were teen terrors and there was a lot of stress and strife in the household. Retreating to my bedroom was one solution, but so was hopping on my bicycle and escaping the drama. What started out as 5 miles per ride quickly doubled and quadrupled until I participated in my first Century (100 mile) tour at the age of 16. I loved it and was hooked. I even pursued Exercise Physiology as a career and graduated with a master’s degree in 1990.

Needless to say, I love physical activity and exercise. It has been a long-standing, daily part of my life. There have been two phases of life, however, when I wasn’t as active as I’d like to be.

  1. Pregnancy—it’s difficult to exercise with 9 months of continued morning sickness.
  2. Entrepreneurship—building and owning a business takes A LOT of time. It isn’t easy to head out for a 50 mile bike ride whenever I want.

As with everything else, we must modify and prioritize. When I worked at Brigham City Hospital as an Exercise Physiologist, I spent a lot of time helping patients find ways to include exercise into their daily routine. Most of them HATED exercise. However, by the time they came to me, many had experienced a cardiac event and needed to train their heart for recovery and improved health. Exercise became a race to stay ahead of additional complications.

While many people continue to struggle with implementing exercise into their day or week, the more you exercise now, the better it will be in the long run. Entrepreneurs especially can benefit from stepping away from their desk and getting outside—or to your local fitness center. Entrepreneurial wellness (or as I like to call it, wow-ness) is up to us to pursue.

Built from my own experiences these 6 tips will help introduce exercise into your business schedule:

Standing desk: standing at a desk for a portion of your screen time keeps the blood flowing and the mind active. Even if your back or legs can’t stand for long blocks of time, you’ll find your strength improving, which will positively influence your duration in other activities.

Refresh and revitalize by stepping outdoors: how many times do you get stuck on an idea or a project? Do you agonize in front of your screen, forcing ideas to come from the black depths of nothingness? Then it’s time to step away and get OUT! Breathe in fresh air. Let the wind and sunshine, or even the rain, clear your brain. Do a brain dump and let things flow naturally. I find that fresh ideas come quick after a 10 minute step outside. Does 10 minutes sound like a lot? How many minutes were already lost seeking ideas that were stuck?

Get the family involved—especially the grandchildren (if you have them): Children are GREAT encouragement and motivation, plus we are viewed as GREAT grandparents for our involvement with them. They are bundles of contagious energy and lots of joy. Utilize their youth and let it rejuvenate you!

Stretching: this VERY EASY exercise form is often overlooked. Who doesn’t feel good following a morning stretch? Or getting out of the car after a long drive for a full-body stretch? Stretching is the easiest, do-anywhere form of exercise and it costs NOTHING! It keeps the blood flowing, relaxes the body, and gives us pep. We won’t break out into a sweat and we can do it before and after any meeting or event we attend. For introverts, it’s a grounding tool before and after social events.

Pump up the volume—the heart that is. Yes, you still need to get your heart pumping. Not the normal grocery store stroll we all fall into, but something that has you breathing a little harder and pushes the blood through your body—faster than stretching. Walk a block—fast—as if you are late for a client meeting. THAT’S the feeling you want when you exercise—whether that be walking, running, cycling, or whatever method you choose. The more times per week, the better, but we’re entrepreneurs, we’re grandparents, we’re caregivers…we’re BUSY! But your self-care must come first to be the best you can be, and exercise is a big part of that—for prevention, maintenance, and wow-ness.

But what can be done if you absolutely hate exercise? My first suggestion is to explore ways to stretch and pump up the volume. A little activity is better than none at all. If that won’t happen then eat healthy, make mental relaxation a part of each day, reduce stress and habits detrimental to your body, drink water, and maintain regular check-ups with your health care providers.

Your customers and your family want you around for a long time!

To your health and your success,
Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business

Entrepreneurs: Are you a Pantster or a Plotter with Your Business Style?

Calendar-Pen

“Vision leads to proper planning and proper planning leads to successful completion.” 
― Farshad Asl, The “No Excuses” Mindset: A Life of Purpose, Passion, and Clarity

 

In the fiction-writing world, two terms define what sort of writer we are:

Pantster: we write by the seat of our pants

or

Plotter: we plot everything out before writing a single word into our first draft.

As an entrepreneur, which are you?

While one form of getting things done isn’t better than the other (as long as it gets done!), plotting requires a bit more planning. If you are a plotter, as I am, here is the process as it has developed for me:

Urgency—don’t make 1 year business goals to yourself or your business—make it 1 month. Break each goal into visible segments that highly depend on one another. Just as you wouldn’t miss a deadline to a client, made a high-demand deadline for yourself.

Accountability—who in your support team will keep you on target, but also stays on target? Choose someone who sets a good example rather than living by the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mantra. Bad habits are contagious.

Hustle—this is the personal kick we give ourselves to get things done. This is the attitude we take when we’re rather watch tv, drink another cup of coffee, or go shopping with a pantster. We sacrifice to make our vision a reality. This is what brings us deep satisfaction when things happen. We must hustle through the obstacles, landmines and vultures that attempt to trip us up.

An editorial calendar for yourself—what do you want to accomplish this month? How can you break it down weekly? Daily? When I was in college, I created an elaborate schedule that include classes, homework, meals, exercise time, friend time, and spare time. As with all these things, they start out well, but they fizzled because of family, friends, and situations (in reality, excuses, avoidance, and delay). To make your personal calendar work for you is to train yourself so those external influences won’t derail or distract you. Implement your virtual assistant, accountability partner, favorite scheduling tool or app. USE THEM—CONSTANTLY!

Establish a consequence chart—what happens if you miss a goal? Make it visible, make it painful. If a weekend vacation is your motivator, then that’s your lost opportunity. If attending an industry conference is your motivator, then HUSTLE so you can attend! If contributing to your child’s college fund or your retirement fund is your motivator—if you don’t reach your business goals, you don’t have the revenue to contribute. OUCH!! If that’s not motivating enough, get out of business.

Create a daily schedule—just as when you worked your 9 to 5 job, you had a set schedule. Make one for your business. As business owners, we have the freedom and flexibility to establish our schedule based on our early-bird vs night-owl preferences, our family, and our self-care. Create a schedule that works for YOU—not someone else, but keep your clients at the forefront. If needed, find an off-site location that gives you the space and uninterrupted time you need to reach your business goals. It’s tough, but it’s necessary for you and your business success.

The busier we get and the more responsibilities we take on (family, business, self), it becomes a little more necessary to plot our course. Looking through your own habits, preferences, and lifestyle, how do you describe your entrepreneurial style?

Kristen Edens

A grandparent in business

Remember When? Turning 21 vs 50

Owen Moor - Flickr

“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” –Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

I turned 21 in 1985. It wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t a drinker, a smoker, or a wildly crazy gal. In truth, I was an introverted college student, who studied exercise physiology, loved the outdoors, gardening, cycling, writing and solitude. So hanging out at the noisy campus hangouts wasn’t my thing.

Fast forward to 2014 when I turned 50. I wasn’t dreading the age, but several family members attempted to shame or shun me about the big 5-0.

Just as I didn’t rush my life away to turn 21, I also didn’t count the decades until I became 50. Each decade holds excitement and opportunity, but 50 seems to carry advantages that just aren’t available or visible when we’re in our 20s, 30s, or even 40s. For me, it was the foundation of new beginnings: I was making my own way with my business, my life, and any adventures I chose rather than having them chosen for me.

Yes, I had grey hair, a few wrinkles, and AARP was mailing me on a regular basis. Mammograms and colonoscopies were now a regular part of my vocabulary as was retirement, IRAs, living wills, and…senior discounts.

Luckily, few would look upon me and randomly offer me a senior discount. While I’m still in no hurry to reach a certain age to benefit from discounts—and I am a penny-pincher—there are abundant discounts available once you become 50, 55, 60 and older. The challenge, however, is two-fold:

  1. You need to ask for the discount.
  2. You need to be willing to admit you are ‘that age’.

The latter may be a little more difficult for some of us.

The list below was recently shared by a business friend who received it from one of her friends, so the origins were initially a little iffy. With a little research, I found the original list through RetiredBrains. Even with this great resource, receiving a discount still deserves consideration and swallowing a little of our pride to ask for a discount. I found this easier to do with my partner accompanying me since it’s a little more obvious he is older. Plus, I gain the added bonus of teasing him. Eventually, I warmed up to the idea of a double discount and now ask at every location. Why not? It saves money and that’s something I have been doing all my life. Why stop now?

Is your interest piqued? Not sure your favorite place offers a *gasp* senior discount? My best advice is: ASK! It doesn’t hurt and the worst they will say is no. Or they’ll say, “You look too young!” Who wouldn’t love that?

Just don’t call me ‘ma’am’!
Kristen Edens
A (penny-pinching) grandparent in business

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RESTAURANTS:

Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)

Arby’s: 10% off (55 +)

Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)

Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)

Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)

Boston Market: 10% off (65+)

Burger King: 10% off (60+)

Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)

Chili’s: 10% off (55+)

CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)

Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55 +)

Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)

Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)

Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)

Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)

Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)

Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)

IHOP: 10% off (55+)

Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)

KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)

Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)

Long John Silver’s: various discounts at locations (55+)

McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)

Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)

Shoney’s: 10% off

Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)

Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)

Subway: 10% off (60+)

Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)

Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)

TCBY: 10% off (55+)

Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)

Village Inn: 10% off (60+)

Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)

Wendy’s: 10% off (55 +)

Whataburger: 10% off (62+)

White Castle: 10% off (62+) This is for me … if I ever see one again.

 

RETAIL & APPAREL:

Banana Republic: 30% off (50 +)

Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50 +)

Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55 +)

Big Lots: 30% off

Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)

C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)

Clarks: 10% off (62+)

Dress Barn: 20% off (55+)

Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)

Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)

Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) (50+)

Kohl’s: 15% off (60+) Modell’s Sporting Goods: 30% off

Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions

Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)

The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)

Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55 +)

 

GROCERY:

Albertson’s: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55 +)

American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50 +)

Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)

DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)

Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)

Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55 +)

Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)

Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)

Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)

Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)

Kroger: 5% off on Thursdays (date varies by location)

Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)

The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50 +)

Publix: 15% off every Wednesday (55 +)

Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)

Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

 

TRAVEL:

Airlines:

Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)

American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods (Tuesdays – Thursdays) (62+) and up (call before booking for discount)

Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations

Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Rail:

Amtrak: 15% off (62+)

Bus:

Greyhound: 5% off (62+)

Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

 

Car Rental:

Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members

Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members

Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members (50+)

Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members

National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

 

Overnight Accommodations:

Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)

Best Western: 40% off (55+)

Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)

Waldorf Astoria – NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)

Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)

Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)

Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)

Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)

Hampton Inns & Suites: AARP members receive 10% discount

Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)

InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)

Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)

Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)

Motel 6: 10% off (60+)

Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off (55 +)

Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)

Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)

Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

 

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT:

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55 +)

Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)

Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets (50 +)

Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)

Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off

Massage Envy – NYC 20% off all “Happy Endings” (62 +)

U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)

Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not (55 +)

SeaWorld, Orlando, FL: $3 off one-day tickets (50 +)

 

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS:

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)

Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50 +)

Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

Great Clips: $8 off haircuts (60+)

Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)

Family Estrangement: We All Know Someone

Angry face, Ziva, age 3

Angry face, Ziva, age 3

“Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.” – Iyanla Vanzant

As children, we overhear the grown-ups talking about the family member that’s never there, or has fought with a parent, or has separated themselves from the family. As adults, we get a better understanding of the situation and the word ‘estranged’ is better understood. We don’t like what we know about this distressing word and we do what we can to prevent it in our own family.

Unfortunately, for some of us it happens.

My first experience was December 1999. It was 8pm on a Sunday and I was getting my young children ready for bed. The reason I remember so well was it was the night before the first day of work at my new job. My brother had called. I was excited to talk with him but soon became uncomfortable and helpless. He called in a drunken state to tell me what a terrible sister I was. As my heart thudded in my throat and I fought back tears, I asked why so I could apologize. My crime occurred when I was 13 and he was 9. We had just moved to a new house and our parents did a drawing to decide who would get which bedroom. My brother, Billy, got the room I wanted. As he celebrated on the porch, I cried from my bedroom window—and stuck my tongue out at him.

That was my crime. He never forgot or forgave me. It took him, however, 20 years to build up enough anger to the point he called me. In the meantime, I had no clue anything was wrong. He refused my apology and attempts to reconcile. I cried for days. I still cry about it. I also found out that he called our other brother, Steve, with similar accusations. 40 years later, he still refuses to talk to us.

A bittersweet opportunity occurred last November at our father’s funeral. I was eager to reunite with Billy and meet my nephew (who I found out never knew he had an aunt or an uncle). Billy was cordial but distant. Steven and I spoke with him, but didn’t bring up the past since we were fearful to upset him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Billy and his son disappeared soon after the funeral without saying goodbye to anyone.

But the sorrow didn’t end there. The day after Dad’s funeral, Steve turned on Mom. My niece’s birthday was a few weeks away and Mom gave Steve a check to buy a birthday gift for her; her standard 25 year habit of ‘buying’ her grandchildren gifts. Steve was offended by this action and asked why Mom couldn’t go and buy something for his daughter herself. Our mother explained that she needed to decompress from Dad’s death and to handle his affairs. Never mind that she was 77 years old and was recovering from knee surgery. Steve was unsympathetic. He cut off all ties with her and sent her a handwritten letter detailing what a terrible mother and grandmother she is and that she was responsible for Dad’s death. He also refuses to speak with me because he believes I defend her too much.

As I was writing this blog, I came across this article from Next Avenue, which discusses family estrangement:

Why Family Estrangement is Roughest at the Holidays

For those of us dealing with the sorrow of estrangement in any form, perhaps it’s comforting to know that we aren’t alone. Even though we may never reconcile with our loved ones, it may help to know that they will always be loved. Do you have a story to share? How do you cope with estrangement?

Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business

Entrepreneurial Wisdom from George Michael

I ain’t never gonna work, get down in the dirt
I choose, to cruise
Gonna live my life, sharp as a knife
I’ve found my groove and I just can’t lose

–Wham! Rap ’86, George Michael, lead singer

20160719_210049-copy_croppedThe year was 1987. I had just acquired my first job as the Physical Director at the Corry YMCA in Corry, Pennsylvania. I was 22 and beyond excited to have my first full-time job, my first apartment, and 2 cats. Life was GOOD! (Yes, that’s me with the standard 80s hair—ugh!)

My duties as Physical Director were to coordinate, schedule, and teach several of the classes taught at the Y. My boss also gave me the challenge to introduce new programs that would engage teens. Barely beyond a teen myself, I was quite caught up in the 80s music scene. Bands like Genesis, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Men at Work, Duran Duran, and of course, Wham! were my faves. With a little entrepreneurial ingenuity, I combined my 80s music collection with my previous experience teaching Aerobics (yes, I taught the bouncy, spazzy, early-day version of cardio classes) and presented my boss with a Teen Aerobics program. He liked the idea and we trialed it, making an introduction with WHAM! RAP ’86. I chose that song because of its ‘don’t bug me’ attitude, expression of freedom, and the hip beat; three things critical to teens of any age. The program was a success for the small Pennsylvania town.

I worked at the YMCA for less than a year, enjoying every moment of the job—and freedom. However, there may have been an underlying message from the WHAM Rap that stuck with me:

DO
YOU
ENJOY WHAT YOU DO?
IF NOT
JUST STOP!
DON’T STAY THERE AND ROT!

While I loved my job, I realized this wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. While visiting my parents one weekend, I secretly explored graduate schools and advanced exercise physiology programs. My revised plan was to work the YMCA job to save enough money for graduate school. When I returned to my beloved job Monday morning, however, I discovered that I had lost my job because of budget cuts.

I was devastated, but had a plan.

Fast forward to 2008 and I was working as an Exercise Therapist in northern Utah. Life was changing. I was changing, and once again, the WHAM RAP ’86 lyrics resurfaced:

DO
YOU
ENJOY WHAT YOU DO?
IF NOT
JUST STOP!
DON’T STAY THERE AND ROT!

In addition to needing a career change, my marriage was struggling. Another quote from the song stood out:

MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY DAY
DON’T LET HARD TIMES STAND IN YOUR WAY

It was time for big changes and what was missing most was ‘making the most of every day’. Those were hard times, but since 2008, I’ve been on the way up. Through my own experiences as an entrepreneur, working and writing for other entrepreneurs, and writing for organizations such as the Women’s Journals, EQ STL, Missouri SourceLink, and Silicon Prairie Journal, others with the entrepreneurial spirit have adopted the principles George Michael sings about in Wham Rap:

DON’T STAY THERE AND ROT!
MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY DAY
DON’T LET HARD TIMES STAND IN YOUR WAY

These are motivating words at any age, and with most of us as teens or young adults from the 80s, these great songs helped move us forward. We’ve sacrificed comfy corporate jobs and a steady paycheck for something that gives us more purpose.

What do you do to make the most of every day?

Kristen Edens
Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business